As part of Algonquin College‘s online Social Media Certification program, students are required to publish a number of blog posts. As I approached the end of my studies, I had one last post to publish. I was to locate, attend and write about a professional development and networking event.
I searched long and hard to find a suitable – yet affordable – professional development event delivered in English and that I could attend in person. Unfortunately, things in Europe pretty much shut down over the summer. In time, however, I realized that I already had the perfect professional development and networking event to cover – the Algonquin College Social Media Certificate program itself!
I’m a big fan of continuing education and professional development. But because I tend to work contract to contract, it’s difficult to plan where I’ll be or for how long. As a result, it’s almost impossible to participate in traditional education or professional development courses.
Why Online Learning?
Algonquin’s online study option provides me with an opportunity to continue developing my skills and qualifications at my own convenience and on my own schedule no matter where I am in the world. All I need is a computer and access to the internet.
Now, it’s true that there’s plenty of free knowledge you can access on the internet. But the great thing about online courses is that you don’t have to do it alone. You’ve got lesson plans to guide your study, deadlines to motivate you, an instructor to answer questions, a support team in case you’re having trouble with the technology, and other students to talk to, share with, learn from and network with.
Social Media Certificate
Over the past 8 months, I’ve been working towards my Certification in Social Media. The program gives you the tools you need to leverage the power of social media to engage your target audience and achieve your business goals.
- theory and foundations,
- designing social media strategies,
- monitoring and evaluation,
- digital communication, and
- applied social media practices for organizations.
You’ll learn how to evaluate social media channels, develop a social media strategy, monitor and measure results and create effective messaging. In collaboration with other online students, you will also learn how to apply social media to marketing, corporate branding, fundraising and within organizations to support employee engagement, retention and corporate communication. Read more…
Algonquin’s ‘Blackboard’ | Learning Management System
Once the courses begin, you’ll have access to Algonquin’s interactive Blackboard platform. Blackboard is a Learning Management System where students can interact with their professor and other students in their program. Here you’ll find your lesson content, announcement and discussion boards, assignments and your grades, etc… Read more…
The Algonquin College Social Media Certificate WordPress Account
Throughout the Certificate program, you’ll be using WordPress for a number of assignments and blog posts. There’s no need to worry if you’ve never used WordPress before. You’ll be provided with an invitation to join by email and a number of resources to help you learn how to use the platform. The Social Media Certificate WordPress account is convenient and easy to use. You’ll be able to use your own account to create drafts, upload photos or videos, publish posts, manage comments, and monitor your views and engagement rates.
As with anything else, online learning is what you make of it. In my opinion, there are 3 ways to really maximize your learning potential in this program:
#1: Use the lessons as a guide for further exploration of each topic. The classes will give you a good base, but there’s so much more to learn. Use other online resources – such as Mashable and Hubspot – to help you go above and beyond the coursework while staying on top of new features, applications and trends.
#2: To take advantage of the discussion boards and networking forums to network with people in your industry, get to know your fellow students, learn from their experiences and share your own.
As you approach the more advanced courses, you’ll be asked to develop a number of case studies. The great thing about these assignments is that you have the potential to go beyond simple exercises by applying what you’ve learned and gaining practical experience with a non-profit organization. Which brings me to the 3rd piece of advice that I’d pass along to new students entering the program.
#3: I’d start thinking about which organization you’d like to work with early on so that you can start applying your lessons right away while building a solid relationship with your chosen organization. This is a great opportunity to gain practical experience, professional references and build your network while working towards academic credentials.
Online learning is a great opportunity – not just for expats – but for everyone. Algonquin’s online education options give you the experience of being part of a learning community even if you can’t be there in person. They open the door, but it’s up to you to walk through it. So come on, start building your future today.
Want to learn more?
This article was written as a requirement for COM0015: Applied Social Media in Business. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Algonquin College’s Social Media Certificate programme today!