Lerner instructor uses online tools, partnership to engage students
2:12 p.m., May 23, 2013--Lee Mikles, an instructor in the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, decided to expand his students’ learning experience by partnering them with area startup company Jetty and teaching them how to use Google AdWords, giving students a chance to become certified in the Google program and to gain relevant experience in their chosen field.
Google AdWords is a cost-per-click (CPC) program that allows organizations to create their own advertisements and choose their own keywords to help reach new customers and grow business. When individuals type in Google’s search engine using relevant keywords, the organization’s ad will appear and link directly to the appropriate website.
Blue and Gold Professor
Mikles said he introduced AdWords to his Information Technology Applications in Marketing course because he felt it would be a valuable resource for many students, either as senior marketing majors required to take the course or as students generally interested in visual marketing.
AdWords is a leading advertising platform used for digital marketing, Mikles said, and other platforms that create similar ads use the same technology, making proficiency invaluable for those in the field.
“I wanted to make sure that the students who complete the course have something that separates them from anyone else who doesn’t use AdWords,” Mikles said. “We can all say we advertise but for students to have a third party certification, that says they’re qualified to do something difficult. It distinguishes them from anyone who just lists a major on their resume.”
While getting the certification is not a requirement for the class (it requires candidates to take two out of three offered tests and pass each of them with at least an 85 percent), Mikles said he encourages students to become as proficient as they can.
In addition to teaching his students about AdWords, Mikles said he partnered his class with Jetty, a company based in New Jersey that designs and prints its own surf, skate and sport apparel, to give students the opportunity to collaborate with a company and put their new skills to use.
The students were tasked with using AdWords to direct traffic toward sites they created promoting Jetty and then evaluate how much of an impact their work had on Jetty’s site views.
“I reached out to Jetty through the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship,” Mikles said. “I proposed the idea to them and they were all for it. They understood the potential risks to their business, but also the opportunities to gain student input and interns. It’s a living process – you get to see what’s working and what’s not.”
Mikles said each student team took a different focus for their ads and how they wanted their sites to represent Jetty and continually modified and maintained the sites in order to digitally market the company.
Rachel Perlman, a senior marketing major, said she had experience working with similar programs before becoming a student in Mikles’ class but had never had the opportunity to work with AdWords. She said the program was great and very user-friendly, even for those with minimal experience.
Perlman said she created a site based on events Jetty develops and attempted to direct users toward her site to promote the company. She said she and her partner have more work ahead of them because the events will not take place until the summer, but she has already noticed people have clicked the ads and visited her site to learn more about Jetty.
While Perlman said she is not yet AdWords certified, the course and experiences have already made an impact on her future employment. Perlman recently accepted a job and although her knowledge of AdWords was not the only reason she got the offer, she said she felt it played a role in her employment opportunity.
“When I was interviewing for a job I kept using this class as an example because it’s something so relevant,” said Perlman. “To have this experience with AdWords and Google Analytics and just knowing how to make a website, it’s so current and so relevant since I’m looking to work in media and marketing. Every time I would tell an interviewer about my experience, they were really impressed.”
Article by Rachel Taylor
Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson