Exploring the Impact of Social Media with INFO 250

Curious about what community-engaged learning looks like in practice?

Discover how community-engaged learning transforms students and organizations alike in this collaboration between INFO 250 students Vitor Moreno, Kaylan Mah, Morrison Tulloch, Nico Peloia, and the False Creek Friends Society.

INFO250 is an undergraduate course in UBC’s Bachelor of Media Studies and Minor in Informatics. In a term-long project, students work with community partners to improve their strategic use of social media.

Vitor Moreno
Kaylan Mah
Morrison Tulloch
Nicholas Peloia

As their professor, Richard Arias-Hernandez remarks,

“One of my INFO 250 student groups is causing waves in False Creek (pun intended)”!

What is your biggest takeaway from the INFO 250 course?

You can learn a lot about information by analyzing its flow through social media. By discovering where a post becomes popularized, how it spreads, and how people interact with it, we can better understand its functions in society. In particular, figuring out who benefits from this flow of information or how different users represent an issue on social media can point you toward understanding the purpose of the messages and the impact the posts might have in the real world.

What was your favorite part about partnering with False Creek Friends Society?

We had the opportunity to put everything we learned in INFO 250 into practice through our partnership with False Creek Friends Society (FCFS) and our main contact, Zaida Schneider.

We were able to learn beyond our [Bachelor of Media Studies] and Arts curriculums by engaging with topics of climate change and environmentalism in the context of marine conservation. Since FCFS was established relatively recently, we got to play a hands-on role in building the organization’s social media presence from the start. Zaida’s enthusiasm and knowledge were inspiring, and it was a rewarding experience to generate ideas together on how to build a passionate online community. As we adjusted FCFS posts based on Instagram analytics, posts we made began to gain traction, bringing FCFS environmental efforts to the attention of more environmentally conscious people.

What surprised you about this course?

We were pleasantly surprised by how practical and hands-on this course was. Many of the classes we take tend to be more on the theoretical side. With INFO 250, however, we had many opportunities to apply the theory we learned on social media. One example of this was the community engaged learning project, where we even went beyond “strategies” and learned to adapt to the community partner’s interests and needs. Besides the project, we also experimented on individual social media accounts and collected data and research on current events across social media platforms.

What have you learned about bridging the gap between social media and education?

With its potential to connect, influence, and educate people, social media is one of the most powerful tools we have nowadays, and understanding its many intricacies becomes more and more of a necessity as it continues to evolve. Because of this, education and social media should walk hand in hand as they work together to prepare students to enter the workforce and better navigate the world we live in.

Feeling inspired?

If you are a Faculty member interested in incorporating community engaged learning into your courses, please visit our Faculty page for more information.

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