For the first time, undergraduate students in the Department of Communication at Pittsburg State University will graduate with professional certifications in social and digital media in addition to their degrees.
This spring, 11 students representing the strategic communication, multimedia production, and media production emphasis areas became the first graduating class to earn professional certifications in digital advertising, content marketing and social media marketing along with their degree in communication.
The department offered course credit to students interested in pursuing the professional certifications, feedback from students and prospective employers has been positive.
Students reported a variety of motivations. Some enrolled because they are preparing to launch their own digital content platforms. Others said they enjoyed the course content, design, and flexibility.
“This was a great learning experience, especially because it let us learn at our own pace and on our own time,” said Alexis McCollum, a Lenexa, Kansas senior majoring in strategic communication.
Students completed certifications in social digital media practice, as well as digital media ethics and digital analytics. They were given instructional support for integrating their accomplishments into their personal resumés and professional online profiles.
The professional certifications can provide an edge in competitive hiring environments, she said.
After completing the course, students reported more confidence in their social and digital media knowledge and technical skills. Some also reported evaluating their own personal social media usage practices more critically.
The department will continue offering the opportunity to future seniors in coming semesters.