1 University of Ontario Institute of Technology (CANADA)
2 ChangeMakers (CANADA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 5265-5274
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.0256
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
While there are many digital media marketing courses available in Canada, few address the specific needs of social marketing which focuses on encouraging lasting behavior change. Educators at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and specialists at ChangeMakers, a social marketing agency with experience in curriculum development, designed a unique course, Social Marketing for Public Health, which helps students acquire skills in the creation of social marketing campaigns. The agency’s main motivation for participating in this project is that it enables ChangeMakers to further its goal of improving public health by training more people to use social marketing to increase healthy behaviours. To date, eight ChangeMakers have been involved in the project for an approximate total of 68 pro bono staff hours dedicated to course planning, case study development, and creative development and implementation.

The first challenge that had to be met was overcoming faculty hesitations about developing curriculum in partnership with the private sector because of concerns regarding content and ownership of course materials. Another significant challenge was providing content and tools that enhanced the fully online delivery of a course; the developers created engaging and authentic learning activities that mirrored the real world tasks of social marketers. The course is a fourth year elective course which helps students achieve personal learning goals, but students in such courses vary widely in their comfort levels with learning management systems and digital tools for producing creative content. Thus, assessments in the course needed to be tailored to meet a variety of student capabilities that did not overly penalize students with less experience using digital media.

Informal and formal course evaluations indicated that students were satisfied with course content and expectations as well as the delivery method, in part because an attempt was made to preserve the social nature of the course through blogs, discussion, and ongoing feedback. Overall, students who participated in an informal survey stated a preference for virtual office hours, activities that allowed students to interact with one another, and detailed explanations of individual assignment expectations with rubrics that would assist them in managing an online course. The formal course evaluation yielded a course score of 1.23 on a scale ranging from -2 to +2. Individual elements within the course that achieved higher scores were topics in the course were well- sequenced, activities were well-matched with the learning outcomes, and web-based resources were used effectively. Next steps in course revision will involve the inclusion of a model campaign from public health to complement the ChangeMakers model campaign, SAFE Youth, and the development of an evaluation that assesses specific elements within the course such as campaign challenges videos from ChangeMakers and features such as student blogs and discussion boards for exchanging ideas.