New University Level Course in Joomla

Barrie North

Recently I found out that Barrie North from Joomlashack was running a university level course in Joomla. The class is “Web 2.0 Marketing with Joomla” and I asked Barrie more about this joomla foray into higher education:

1) How did the idea for a graduate level course come about?

I think Jen McKibben originally came up with the idea. I was speaking at the New England JUG about online communities and she thought a graduate course would be great (she is a program director at Marlboro Graduate Center). Its been a long time since I have been teaching in a classroom setting, so the idea appealed to me. I think that once you are a teacher, you’ll always have that desire to educate.

2) What kinds of students do you think the course will attract? Computer studies or business studies students?

I am not too sure. This is my first foray into higher education. The class is part of a masters in technology: “Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program focuses on the front-end design and management of websites”. I understand many of the students are more mature looking to retool their skills and knowledge.

What will be interesting will be to see how many students sign up to audit the class, just take the class outside the master’s program. As far as I know, its a unique opportunity in the US (a graduate level Joomla-based class). It would be cool to see if that is true. Higher ed teachers – add your comments here!

3) What’s the teaching process? Will you get the students to attempt a real life project?

Absolutely! My later years in high school teaching were as the Dean of Faculty in an experiential school. I helped show teachers how they could build in authentic assessments into their classes (in 8 years of high school teaching, I never once assigned a letter grade assignment). Needless to say, the class won’t be asking for too many papers!

Each student will work on a site that will be their “case study”. We’ll look at various aspects of marketing in the web 2.0 world and then apply them to their case study and analyse the results.

4) What kind of future do you see for FOSS and marketing classes in universities? How can a traditional-style course cope with the rapid changes in those industries?

I think there will be, FOSS is becoming more mainstream and I think schools will be offering more related classes. But you put your finger on the main issue, the pace of change. I have seen this problem with my own book. Its hard for something that takes 9 months to publish keep pace with something on a 6-12 week release cycle. Another example, who would have thought we would have been watching stories on CNN about congressman using twitter 6 months ago (was twitter even around then?).

Web 2.0 moves fast, and keeping pace will be a big challenge.

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