Pre-College Programs
Leadership Institute

« Return to Course Catalog

Social Media and Social Change

One Section Available to Choose From:

Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRN
July 06, 2015 - July 17, 20152M-F 8:30A-3:05POpenShameka (Nicole) Cathey10510

Course Description

Can Twitter be used effectively as platform for protest? Can the use of Facebook make a difference in national elections, social movements, and human rights campaigns? Can Tumblr be used as a community building tool, connecting people around the world towards a shared vision?

This class will investigate the possibilities and pitfalls of using social media for social change. We will examine the history of social media, analyze case studies from across the globe, and brainstorm how to best use online resources for social good.

This course examines social media in four ways:

First, we will explore how social media has been used in the past, examining both successful and unsuccessful campaigns, learning how social media can be used most effectively.

Second, we will study activists who are using social media to raise awareness, organize communities, and affect change. What are their strategies? What are their ethics?

Third, we will explore the extent to which people around the globe have access to social media. Is online media a tool for the masses or is it available to the privileged few? Should we aim to increase access to online resources for all people and how would we go about doing this?

Finally, and most importantly, students will use social media tools in class to develop their own Action Plans for change. This project is at the heart of the Leadership Institute and provides students with the opportunity to apply their learning to a project they can continue when they return home. Students will work with blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and a host of other online resources to hone their skills at effective digital communication.

By the end of this course, students will understand the use of social media for social change, be able to articulate the principles and ethics associated with its use, be familiar with effective strategies and resources, and situate online activism in its political and historical context. This course is ideal for all students interested in social media, communication, digital storytelling, and community building. Laptops are not required but will be extremely helpful.