November 29th, 2018
A key component of Humber’s Internationalization Strategy is developing our global perspective at home—here on our campuses and across our communities. This takes shape in many forms. It happens through the opportunities created for students and faculty to participate in internationalization mobility events. It occurs as Humber’s programming expands to bring internationalization into the curriculum. It also happens when we forge global learning partnerships and invite our partners to be part of the Humber community and share in our learning experiences—as we share and contribute to theirs.
This past summer the School of Media Studies and Information Technology delivered its second International Summer Social Media Program in partnership with Denmark's Business Academy Aarhus (BAAA). The program is an inspiring model for boosting internationalization participation here at home and working collaboratively with our global learning partners. Not to mention the many and industry partners who also contributed to the program.
The idea for the program emerged in 2016 when faculty and staff from Humber and BAAA met in Denmark to discuss ways the two schools could collaborate and share experiences. The idea that resonated was a shared intensive summer course where students from both institutions could learn together. With enthusiasm from professors on both sides, the program was up and running within the year. This year the program also welcomed a student from Sinclair Community College, in the United States, to join students from Humber and BAAA.
For two weeks in July, faculty and students from the three institutions gathered at Humber’s Lakeshore Campus for intensive workshops, classroom lectures, industry visits, and practical learning experiences. The course was led by Humber’s Dr. Naeema Farooqi and BAAA’s Jeaane Nissen and Marlene Ahlgreen.
The International Summer Social Media Program was designed to help learners build skills and understanding within the dynamic and rapidly growing field of social media and digital communication technologies. It’s a domain that is of great importance to a large range of businesses and industries today, especially within a global context.
In the program, students worked toward developing practical communications skills across a variety of social platforms. They also built their strategic understanding and awareness of best practices and emerging trends, while developing their capabilities to build and deploy effective digital communications strategies. Towards the end of the program, they were challenged to apply their learning and create a social media strategy and deliver it to a real-world client—one of Humber’s industry partners based in the high-tech sector. To round out the experience, the course featured guest speakers from industry leaders like Google and Apple, visits to the offices of e-commerce giant Shopify.
Social media and new communications technologies reach far beyond borders, which is why sharing a global experience is so valuable to the participants in the International Summer Social Media Program.
Learners had the opportunity to share their unique perspectives and world outlooks and expand their understanding of not only social media, but how businesses and organizations communicate at a global level. This theme was a substantial learning outcome, according to many of the students who completed the program. It also demonstrates how collaborative programming between international partners add value to the student experience.
“You get both the curricular experience, but you also get the social experience and the experience of being in another country and collaborating with students from around the world,” says BAAA’s Jeanne Nissen, Senior Lecturer, Multimedia Design.
Aside from the classroom and academic learning, students in the program were given the chance to expand their intercultural skills and connect with peers from diverse backgrounds and experiences. The feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive.
“I think the most valuable takeaway from this experience was working with people from different backgrounds and perceptions because it brought a very different perspective to our learning,” says Hana Bae, Diploma, Advertising and Marketing Communications, Humber College.
Working alongside global peers and colleagues provided opportunities to build new relationships and lay the foundation for international networks that will carry far beyond the two-week program. For many students, it was an invaluable study abroad opportunity at home.
“I wish more Humber students would take up this opportunity…for empowering themselves and making those connections. These partnerships are worth keeping,” says Humber’s Dr Naeema Farooqi, Professor, School of Media Studies.
Humber and BAAA are already well into the planning stages for next Summer’s Social Media Program. The success of this program has paved the way for the 2019 launch of Humber’s Global Summer School, with the International Social Media Program being one of the offerings.
“Humber’s Global Summer School will a condensed semester experience for interdisciplinary students from Humber and around the world to collaborate in Toronto with industry and faculty leaders on creative solutions to local, national and global issues,” says Rebecca Fitzgerald, Associate Director, International Mobility and Partnerships.