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    Social media class offers skills for future careers

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    Your social media skills can lead to course credits at Palomar College as well as career opportunities in the emerging fields of E-Marketing and Social Media Marketing.

    Palomar first offered an E-Marketing program as an associates of science degree major or certificate of achievement in Fall 2013. Coursework provides students with skills needed to be competitive in the fields of marketing and advertising. A Social Media certificate program will be added in Fall 2015.

    Professor Mary Cassoni, who has taught business classes at Palomar College for 10 years, developed the E-Marketing program during her recent sabbatical. Cassoni visited local businesses and spoke with experts in a range of fields to understand how “companies are integrating digital marketing into traditional marketing,” she wrote in her sabbatical report. Cassoni then collaborated with Palomar’s Computer Science and Graphic Communications departments to design a program that encompasses advertising, marketing and technical skills. The process to develop the new curriculum took 18 months to complete.

    Currently, E-Marketing is such a dynamic and evolving field that Professor Cassoni reviews and revises the required courses each semester. New courses and specializations are being considered. Business internships are coming soon.

    “I want internships to be part of the E-Marketing program,” Cassoni said.

    One course, Social Media for Business listed as BUS 152, was new this last Fall semester. Professor Cassoni teaches the hybrid class, which meets on campus and has an online component. The course provides students an opportunity to learn how to effectively market a brand across social media platforms, whether that brand is a business or the student himself/herself.

    “I want to grow my photography business,” Gail Edwards, who is earning both the E-Marketing and new Social Media certificates said. He has already seen an increase in inquiries from using social media skills learned in BUS 152.

    Professor Cassoni is “unbelievably surprised” by the broad range of backgrounds and levels of experience that her Social Media for Business students have. Some had not used Facebook or Twitter before while others are tech savvy.

    A pre-class survey showed that just 11 percent of students were taking the class because “it’s a requirement for my degree/certificate program” while 41 percent said the course “will help me with the small business that I plan to own.”

    Palomar student Steven Wood worked as a communications specialist before returning to college to refine outdated skills. He will complete the E-Marketing Certificate in three semesters and be among the program’s first graduates. Wood has accepted a job with a public relations company.

    “The technical skills from the graphics communications department are huge,” he said. He also said he gained a tremendous amount of confidence in his ability to manage social media platforms.

    “I will be able to develop a cohesive communications strategy for a company,” Wood added.

    Professor Cassoni teamed with journalism professor Erin Hiro and the journalism department to develop curriculum for the Social Media Certificate. Several courses overlap E-Marketing certificate requirements.

    “More companies and organizations are starting to hire experts specifically for the task of social media web development,” according to the website journalismdegree.com. Although Social Media careers are relatively new, they are expected to exponentially grow according to the website.

    Learn more about the class on Twitter at #BUS152 and @marycassoni.

    Article by Telescope staff writer Diana Cavanaugh

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