A quick guide to keeping your courses up-to-date

Academy Team

Well, Summer is officially here - at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere 🙂 


It's the perfect time to reflect on your courses and consider updates, improvements, and general housekeeping. Teaching digital courses, whether in marketing, sales, communications or entrepreneurship, means keeping up with a pretty punishing amount of changes and information.


Below is a quick guide to refreshing your course, with a definite focus on staying on top of industry trends and new business best practices. The way I think about is to start zoomed out - looking at what is going on in the world - and then zoom in progressively farther. 


What's going on in the world (of business)? 


The definitive (to me) resource in what's going on with the world, at least in regards to the intersection of technology, business and society, is Mary Meeker's Internet Trends report. This is a veritable gold mine of insights, statistics, and extrapolations of what the future might look like. If you are looking for eye-popping charts that will help simplify the state of the world and get your students to think critically, this would be my first stop. 


Next, I would look to Ben Thompson's work at https://stratechery.com/ and his podcast, Exponent. Ben is (IMHO) the most insightful analyst discussing and dissecting the intersection of technology and society. I would consider the Topics section of his website a pretty comprehensive crash course in how the internet has transformed the way people shop and buy, the way companies sell, and how people consumer information. 


After that, I'd check out the various businesses that create annual reports. Shopify's State of Commerce Report, HubSpot's State of Inbound, Deloitte's Tech Trends  are all great examples. Curious what other ones folks follow and find insightful. 


You can also check out consulting firms like BCG and McKinsey who put out a prodigious amount of research. 


What's going on in business strategy and best practices?


While it can be tricky to navigate through all of the noise, company blogs can provide lots of insights into how businesses are going to market today. Quick trick - if you go to G2 crowd you can find the industry leader in just about any space, and their blog is likely a good source of industry relevant information. How you decide to organize that information is a whole different story. 


Another way to do this is to build your own "advisory board" for your course. Many faculty build strong connections with local businesses and agencies to create a direct source of information on how industry is changing. You can also keep in touch with students after they graduate, inviting them to guest lecture, participate in a panel to grade final projects and more. 


A third resource is industry events and conferences. SXSW, INBOUND, Social Media Marketing World, Adobe Summit, MozCon and more are all great choices


What industry events and conferences do you attend?


Improvements to courses and pedigogical trends


There are many established best practices for improving courses based on feedback. What I'd like to highlight are some insightful faculty who are very open about sharing their strategies for building great courses. Specifically, Karen Freberg, Matt Kushin, Keith Quesenbery and Randy Harrison are four that come to mind, thought we'd love to hear more in the comments. 


Who else do you know that shares insights in teaching digital?


Another great source of best practices are academic conferences and journals. Alas, this is not my area of expertise - so, I will ask the group: What do you recommend here? 


Please comment: How do you keep your courses up-to-date? 

4 Replies 4
Academy Team

Thanks for this, @imoche ! It's so important to keep courses up to date and consider how they can be made better year over year. 


One last blog that our readers might be interested in is from @awakin1



He's done a great post on working with EPP, too, which is here


Thanks @imoche and @jgueron for sharing and supporting.

I’m looking into the possibilities of developing an active learning project based on utilising both online and offline digital marketing strategy were the online is utilising HubSpot across web, social media and the offline (somewhat offline anyway!) is leveraging the Raspberry Pi unit - for example as a means of capturing contacts at a premises through CRM integrations or through developing digital screen advertising cost effectively onsite with platforms such as  https://www.screenly.io 


Think of the fun of introducing the Pi and having budding marketing, sales and entrepreneurs to research the potential uses of its cost effective computing!

There’s so much potential to look into Integrated Marketing Communications and looking at challenging students to leverage computing such as the Raspberry Pi.  


Here’s a Forbes article which explores the Pi’s potential 

Academy Team

@awakin1 Keeping with the theme of the thread: 


Conceptually, how do you think through the decision to integrate a new technology into your course - even if the technology is just new to you? 


Do you do some sort of due dilligence, like reading articles, talking to other faculty, or something else? If you've already integrated Raspberry Pi, then perhaps you could share how you made that decision. If you haven't yet, mayve you could share how you're evaluating. 


With the pace of technology and new businesses using that technology, it can be totally overwhelming to figure out what should or should not be integrated into a course. 


Really curious to hear how you think about it!


Great point @imoche - critical to reduce the potential for technology failure.    The module I teach is called ‘The Marketing and Technology Nexus’ so there’s a a necessity to keep on pushing into marketing innovation.

I personally will likely introduce this as an activity in 1 or 2 seminars and in the first instance around a specific case/context.  As an example - let’s say that I am working with www.discoverportrush.com and they have data highlighting that their app is in need of growth and they have an opportunity to introduce some screens at visitor centres and local points of interest.


I would introduce the example of the Rasberry Pi (show the device but not actually use it) and show some video content related to solutions (such as ‘case studies’ on www.screenly.io).  Then ask students in the first seminar to initially spec up an integrated campaign to leverage the screen. Do they use QR codes, do they offer discounts via the app... etc.

In a second seminar - have a blue sky session were students do their own research around innovative ways to use this type of computing by introducing a list like this one on innovative projects with the Raspberry Pi.  The one which makes most marketing sense on the list is “Create a captive portal for your guest Wi-Fi”

Based on these experiences I would then consider whether there was further potential to develop the idea or (like my seminar on machine learning in marketing) keep it as a fun seminar series on integrated marketing communications.

In terms of cohort, I’d say it would work best with MSc’s first - potentially, for Final Year Undergrads if it seemed to work easily with the MSc’s.