Collaboration via Twitter? Lessons from a Marketing Classroom


[We’re pleased to welcome authors Dr. Alexandra K. Abney of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Laurel A. Cook of West Virginia University, Alexa K. Fox of the University of Akron, and Jennifer Stevens of the University of Toledo. They recently published an article in the Journal of Marketing Education entitled “Intercollegiate Social Media Education Ecosystem,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Cook recounts the motivations and innovations of this research:]


What motivated you to pursue this research?

There are so many ways that technology can enhance our lives. Social media is a great example. Specifically, Twitter allows us to connect with people around the globe and we sought to expand this connectivity into our classrooms. We [the authors] knew each other and we were each trying various ways to bring social media into the classroom. However, we also knew our students may never have the chance to interact with one another, given our geographical dispersion. In response, our intercollegiate Twitter collaboration was initiated. As we continued to see success with this project in the classroom, we thought it would be a great opportunity to analyze the linguistic content of the tweets and capture student perceptions of the project to share the project with our fellow marketing educators. We strongly encourage JME readers to join us to offer the benefits we describe in our paper to more marketing students.

Were there any specific external events—political, social, or economic—that influenced your decision to pursue this research?

For marketers, the Super Bowl is a time to witness top marketing and advertising trends in action. Over the last few years (i.e., prior to the development of this project), live tweeting to discuss ads during the Super Bowl had become a popular practice with marketers around the world. As marketing educators, we [the authors] often participated in these live tweeting events. These experiences allowed us to interact not only with other marketing faculty, but with marketing practitioners and brands as well. As a group, we joined together with the hopes of bringing a similar experience into the classroom for our students through our novel intercollegiate Twitter project. Each week we created questions within the collaboration that centered around marketing hot topics and other current events (i.e. Olympics, etc.). We then measured the impact of this project in terms of student learning perceptions and linguistic analyses. This project has been so successful, it has continued each semester thereafter!

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

Our research offers insight into how students can use technology engage with one another beyond the walls of the classroom. In doing so, we offer an ecosystem for collaboration among students who are unlikely to interact in other settings, broadening their educational horizons and understanding of the global business landscape, all while building important communication skills. With our innovative social media education ecosystem (SMEE) we were able to (1) develop and reinforce class concepts; (2) improve learning perceptions and behavioral intent; (3) increase the reach of students’ marketing-related discussions; (4) develop professional identities and communication skills; and (5) grow each student’s network through connections with peers and marketing professionals in the United States.

What advice would you give to new scholars and incoming researchers in this particular field of study?

Technological advances will continue to be an important part of our society. The challenge will always be understanding how such advances can be used effectively and for the betterment of our society. We encourage researchers to examine how the power we have at our fingertips can be used to foster unique relationships and spread knowledge across our very interconnected world.

Stay up-to-date with the latest research from the Journal of Marketing Education and sign up for email alerts today through the homepage!

Social Media Photo attributed to Free-Photos (CC)



Mobile Business Retailing

cafe-691956_1920[We’re pleased to welcome authors Sarah Fischbach and Veronica Guerrero of California Lutheran University. They recently published an article in the Journal of Marketing Education entitled “Mobile Business Retailing: Driving Experiential Learning on Campus,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they reflect on the motivations for conducting this research:]


Almost everyone knows what you are talking about when you say Food Truck, however, when you start talking about Game Trucks, Fashion Trucks, Mobile Pet Services Trucks, Mobile IV Trucks, you will find less true understanding and knowledge. In 2014, I attended a 7-year-old birthday party for one of my neighbors’ son. It seemed like the average birthday party with a cake, piñata and of course a food truck. After a little while a couple more trucks pulled up including a Mobile Game Truck and a Mobile Beauty Truck. Inside the climate controlled Game Truck there were six 55” LED TVs with video game consoles, tons of games and controllers for up to 24 players. I was amazed and it took me by surprise, what other types of mobile business are out there. My research lead to the American Mobile Retail Association (AMRA) and after a couple of conversations with the founders Stacey Jischke-Steffe and Jeanine Romo, I knew that this was something that students needed to know about. The way companies and place our products with the consumer is changing, drastically.
I began working with the AMRA to set up mobile business truck events on campus and it has been a big hit. One of the challenges that I faced was the commitment of the mobile business owner. If they didn’t want to set up their shop or drive it up to campus, they didn’t have to, they were mobile. Another challenge that I found was peoples’ perceptions with mobile businesses since their first and only experience was with food trucks.

The most innovative aspects of the research focus on experiential learning and the use of mobile business truck format. Sometimes students are less motivated in a marketing course when their major is finance, accounting or management. The novelty of the mobile business project allows the students outside the marketing field to see how this could be important at all levels. The mobile business owner is the marketer, manager and the entrepreneur. In business, we wear many hats and this is a great way for the students to see it first-hand.

I have learned that research in pedagogy can be very rewarding. As a professor and a marketing researcher, I enjoy blending research into my courses and testing out new ideas with the students. It is great when these two intersect and the research is helping to improve student learning outcomes. I encourage more professors to apply their research skills to classroom activities.

Stay up-to-date with the latest research from the Journal of Marketing Education and sign up for email alerts today through the homepage!

Food Truck photo attributed to Free-Photos. (CC)

What Do Students Think of Social Media in the Classroom?

designer-in-action-93129-mIt may not come as much of a shock to hear that young adults go on social media the most. According to Pew Research Center’s , 87% of Facebook users are between 18 and 29. As social media has become more popular, educators have jumped on board as well. A 2013 study done by Pearson Learning Solutions and the Babson Survey Research Group found that of the 8,000 faculty surveyed, 41% used social media as a teaching tool. But just how useful do students actually find social media in the classroom? Stacy Neier and Linda Tuncay Zayer explore this topic in their article “Students’ Perceptions and Experiences of Social Media in Higher Education” from Journal of Marketing Education.

The abstract:

Recent research has discussed the opportunities associated with the use of social media tools in the classroom, but has JME(D)_72ppiRGB_powerpointnot examined the perceptions students themselves hold about its usefulness in enhancing their educational experience. This research explores students’ perceptions of social media as an effective pedagogical tool. Undergraduate students in a midsized, private university taking a marketing course were surveyed about their social media usage and preferences as well as their perceptions regarding the use of social media in higher education. Additional qualitative data collection with students probed into motivations for social media use in education as well as instructor and university perceptions. Findings reveal openness to using social media in education, uncover interactive and information motives for its use, and offer theoretical and pedagogical implications. Importantly, we offer insights into how educators can strategically incorporate social media tools into the classroom as well as how the use of social media can potentially affect students’ views of the instructor and the university.

Click here to read “Students’ Perceptions and Experiences of Social Media in Higher Education” from Journal of Marketing Education. Want to have all the latest research like this sent directly to your inbox? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

What Makes Students Want To Learn?

sboyerEditor’s note: We are pleased to welcome Stefanie L. Boyer of Bryant University. Her paper, “Self-Directed Learning: A Tool for Lifelong Learning,” co-authored by Diane R. Edmondson, Andrew B. Artis and David Fleming, is forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing Education and now available in OnlineFirst.

pqAs academics, our livelihood is based on how well we educate our students and ourselves. The conventional approach to learning and teaching is good and has worked for years, but we were on a quest to find a novel approach to train people that had the potential to change the paradigm of learning-to change the way we learn and teach.  The area of self-directed learning (SDL) piqued our interest because so much research has been conducted in the area over several decades. The initial results seemed favorable, so we quantified the entire stream of SDL data with a meta-analysis.

JME(D)_72ppiRGB_150pixwThe findings from the meta-analysis amazed us. We knew self-directed learning (SDL) was different, but we didn’t grasp the true impact it would have on performance outcomes. It almost seemed as if it was too good to be true. Once we began implementing SDL in the classroom, we knew that we had stumbled upon something that really could revolutionize teaching and learning. Not only did student learning outcomes improve, but their appreciation for learning and their motivation to learn shot through the roof. We were surprised at how much more students could learn when they used self-directed learning.

We are already implementing self-directed learning in the classroom and in our own learning because we see how much is motivates and engages us and our students. In moving forward, there are so many questions to answer about how to train people most effectively using this method, and how to select learners who will benefit the most. We plan to continue working in the area, but there is so much to learn about self-directed learning that we need more research partners to help us uncover valuable insights from this bountiful learning and training method.

Read the paper, “Self-Directed Learning: A Tool for Lifelong Learning,” online in the Journal of Marketing Education.

Stefanie L. Boyer is an Assistant Professor at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Her research stream seeks to improve sales training and development and extend the self-directed learning paradigm.

Creative Problem Solving for Marketers

Editor’s note: We’re pleased to welcome Minna-Maarit Jaskari of the University of Vaasa, Finland, whose article “The Challenge of Assessing Creative Problem Solving in Client-Based Marketing Development Projects: A SOLO Taxonomy Approach” is forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing Education and now available in the journal’s OnlineFirst section.

pullquoteMy paper is about assessing creativity in student work. I work in marketing and business, and we see creativity and innovativeness as extremely important for business. My own interest lies in understanding consumers and providing value creation opportunities for customers. Marketers often need to be creative in order to provide value for customers. This is why we see it is important to teach creativity and creative problem solving in marketing.

JME(D)_72ppiRGB_150pixwAlso, from the pedagogical research we know that students tend to learn things they are assessed about. Indeed, if we want to teach creativity, we need to assess it as well. However, this is not easy. Indeed, we quickly need to start thinking, what is creativity in the marketing and business context? In my paper I have focused on creative problem solving. Creativity itself is not enough; in business, we need to be able to implement it and create a marketing concept around it.

My paper focuses on analyzing a very interesting tool, SOLO taxonomy for marketing contexts. The background of the taxonomy goes into cognitive thinking and deep understanding. I have proposed a framework to assess creative problem solving in the marketing context. Such frameworks have not been established to date.

The most surprising result for me was that creativity tied with usefulness really occurred in the higher level of understanding. Even if we know from the literature that creativity requires hard work, this analysis proved the same. For me as a teacher, it gives assurance to actively require students to work hard. Also, the highest level of understanding — the extended abstract level — is actually quite difficult to achieve, if not enhanced by the teacher. The school context is difficult, as in that level the students need to put a lot of effort into their work. And as we know, sometimes the real challenge for the teacher is to motivate the students to work hard, even harder than required.

I hope that marketing educators see the value of SOLO taxonomy in enhancing deep, relational understanding. This is what we should aim for in higher education. Future research could analyze the use of SOLO in other than client-based projects, such as case studies or learning portfolios.

Read “The Challenge of Assessing Creative Problem Solving in Client-Based Marketing Development Projects: A SOLO Taxonomy Approach” online in the Journal of Marketing Education.