Monday, August 1, 2016

Using Hootsuite University for Class

Hootsuite Certified Professional

As part of our summer Social Media Measurement and Analytics course at Tarleton State, we experimented with Hootsuite University.  I resisted adding it to my social media courses because I feared students might see it as outsourcing teaching. Then I read an article in the Journal of Public Relations Education about how my peers were using it.

Kinsky, E. S., Freberg, K., Kim, C., Kushin, M., & Ward, W. (2016). Hootsuite University: Equipping Academics and Future PR Professionals for Social Media Success. Journal of Public Relations Education, 2(1), 1-18.

The article outlines perceptions about Hootsuite certification from students, professionals and professors. The responses were largely positive, so I gave it a chance. Hootsuite made it easy to sign up your class (thank you Kimberly Yu), and I was able to send my list of students and their emails (with their permission) within a few days of my course start date. The Hootsuite team sends an invitation email to students, and sends you a sample email in order to prep students. Hootsuite has reasonable expectations of how you might weave modules into class.

As part of my course, students were asked to complete 8 modules. Some of my students were familiar with Hootsuite, so I asked them to use the first modules as simply a refresher. After completing a few beginner level modules, students tackled: HOOT210: Advanced Listening, HOOT220: Advanced Engagement, and HOOT240: Advanced Analytics. Completing certification was not required, but some expressed interest in adding that credential to their resumes. After finishing the modules required for our class, they were well on their way toward certification.

I was pleased with the quality of the Hootsuite walkthroughs and videos. The videos are broken into short segments so busy types can watch a few here and there. Modules include a syllabus and learning objectives.

Using Hootsuite for final projects, a measurement report for a client, gave students a way to conduct social listening and some analytics. As I receive other student feedback, I'll add it to this post. And I'll be curious to see how many students pursue the certification option.

An extra bonus to this experiment—now I'm certified.

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