Description of Instructional Goal

Topic of the Instructional Session

 Use of Social Networking Media to Promote Small Businesses Marketing Efforts.

This topic will be initially taught as pilot project in a current small business entrepreneurship course that I am presently teaching at the X  University. It will attempt to incorporate how social media could be used to promote small business marketing efforts. Based on the outcome of pilot, the feasibility to develop a full 3 credit course on this topic will be explored.

The goal of this pilot is two prone. Firstly the learners will be introduced to some popular social networking media available that could be used to promote a small business marketing efforts. Secondly the learners will have an opportunity to use one of the tools in a stimulated environment to understand its applicability.

The Rationale

The Problem: Experience will suggest the one of the biggest drawbacks of a small business would be its inability to finance many of the opportunities that it comes across in running the business. Entrepreneurs often complain about their inability to fund many of their promotional efforts using traditional media. 30% of all small businesses end up as failures (Small Business Quarterly, Industry Canada) and a good 40% of failures are due to poor promotional techniques used. (Balderson, 2007). As an instructor teaching small business and entrepreneurship for the last 5 years (in an international context and then in Canada for the last 1 ½ years), based on the discussions I have had with many entrepreneurs, the typical problem that many face revolves around trying fit traditional advertising and promotional methods for small business promotions which are usually costly and frequently fail to deliver the intended message.

The Need: Small business entrepreneurs always look for many local, community base promotional approaches to promote their products and services. Personal experience as an entrepreneur as well as an instructor has made me to realize that these local, community based viral techniques always works better than the traditional techniques and over the years many entrepreneurs have also acknowledged this point.

On the other hand, for the last three years social networking media such as face book, MySpace, twitter and hundreds of other media has grown so fast and it is widely accepted that social networking media is the fastest growing media in the internet industry. (Social networking review, 2009). Many “cool technology tools” as they are referred to be introduced daily to suggest how social networking could be used for day to day business promotional activities and many of these are often free.

Why this area should be addressed : To date while many literature has highlighted the general use of social networking for business, no significant attempt is  made to tailor make how social networking media could be used to promote small business marketing efforts. This topic is frequently discussed in many forums. At present, the Marketing Faculty at X University is in the process of introducing new degree programs to our division and extensive discussions have been made on this topic. Some of us were requested to volunteer to carry out a pilot in this area possibly writing a new course. I did volunteer for this and this series of assignments will help me to unfold this.

Why Instruction as a Possible Choice

There are many web sites that are added on a daily basis introducing many general tools. Possibly there could be many highlighting how these tools could be used for small businesses. Current and potential entrepreneurs who are the target market for this may not have the initiative or the expertise to carry out a self directed learning exercise using these tools. There are seminars that are offered by Small Business BC, an organization that promotes many small business concepts in BC on some of the related topics. The target audience could get exposed to these through them. However the opportunity to do hands on projects will not be there in this type of a session. In strongly believe that good instruction will be useful to achieve this goal.

In terms of the availability of instruction on this topic, based on the research that I have undertaken (within the last year), there are no complete full courses offered in Canada to address this area. I have had many opportunities to address this issue in many educational conferences and other technology forums that I have attended and I am a part of within the last one year and many interested faculty share my sentiment. This was also discussed recently at the Business Educators Articulators Conference in Cranbrook and some of the technology based teaching leaders also failed to identify any courses offered in this area.

A Brief Introduction to Instruction on this Topic

As indicated earlier, this pilot is run by myself and will also be taught by me. It is planned to be taught as a three hour class in the current small business entrepreneurship course that I am teaching in the Richmond campus at Kwantlen this summer. The pilot will not be taught by other instructors at this point but if a full course is developed, then it could be taught by the instructor panel that is qualified to teach in our entrepreneurship program.

The sample learner population will be my class of 34 students. There will be a mix of current as well as potential entrepreneurs in the class. I will highlight the characteristics of a section of the class in assignment # 2.

In terms of the content and the task, I will be the subject expert as well as the course developer. Further details of this will be highlighted in assignment # 3. In terms of the content and some of the research associated with the topic, a list of resources will be indicated under the annotated bibliography assignment.

Learning objectives for each task will be further elaborated in assignment # 4 focusing how this topic is conceptualized into various sections.

Teaching strategy and method will be highlighted for a selected learning objective further in assignment # 5. This section will be taught within the first three weeks in June 2009. (Date not yet confirmed).  The logistics will be finalized in due course and further information could be presented in assignment # 5.

I have been given the opportunity to develop an evaluation piece from this area which is worth around 20% for the final grade of the present course that I am teaching. (This is based on the official course presentation distribution of assessment weight).  I will include a formative as well as a summative evaluation to this weight. The details will be highlighted in assignment #6. The outcome of the evaluation will be presented in assignment #7. I will also the outcome to review and make recommendations to our department whether a full course on this topic is a worthwhile possibility. The results of student work will provide ample support for this. I will be informing the students that this is a pilot project and will get their consent to use their work to support as a possible decision outcome in terms of developing a full course on this topic.

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