Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Learning social media online - UNITAR ICfD course

UNITAR ICfD Online CourseWhen Euforic Services approached me last year to facilitate an online course on social media, I didn’t imagine I would have so much fun. Last year I had participants from many different countries and regions as well as professional backgrounds and levels of knowledge. This definitely made for a good mix of people and certainly their contributions were inspiring. This year, I’m having the privilege to facilitate the course again along with a colleague based in Nigeria, Johnson Opigo. I’m still enjoying it very much!
The online course Innovative Collaboration for Development (ICfD), jointly developed by UNITAR and FAO has a unique approach to teaching and learning that is hands on and focuses on knowledge sharing. Six different modules (one or two weeks in length each) build up on concepts and skills gained throughout the course. Besides having interactive lessons, there are many online resources that help reinforce the concepts and tools reviewed. Activities and exercises help participants familiarize themselves with a wide range of tools and approaches to social media. For busy professionals, this course is ideal as all is needed is a computer and internet connection. People are able to fit the exercises, assessments and evaluations within their own schedules. We all are based in different parts of the world, and we don’t need to be connected at the same time!
“This course has been an eye opener for me. I've always seen social media as a tool that business and for profit organization could leverage but I've never considered how it could be used for non-profits, particularly those at the community and grassroots level. I'm really glad I had the opportunity to participate in this training as it has caused me to think differently.” – Summer 2011 participant 
The emphasis is not on the tools available, but rather on how an organization can choose and use the tools effectively to achieve specific goals according to their needs. Therefore, at the end of the 6 modules, each participant designs a social media strategy for his or her organization with clear objectives and measurable outcomes, giving them the opportunity to take something concrete back to work. 
"The knowledge gain will definitely be an asset to me and my organization. I plan to put these skills gained into practice as soon as possible.” – Summer 2011 participant 
Furthermore, this course concentrates specifically in the not for profit sector, with examples, case studies and stories that are relevant, so participants can relate to similar challenges and opportunities and they can adapt strategies that suit their requirements.

What makes a difference in this course is the participation of all the people involved. It’s definitely not a linear contribution facilitator-participant, but rather a collective collaboration where participants are encouraged to share their own experience and provide insights and recommendations to fellow colleagues. We all learn from each other. 
“It was really great meeting all these great minds for you all where great inspiration to me. Thank you all for your contributions and dedication to the course.” – Summer 2011 participant 
Following the success of the previous online courses, UNITAR and FAO are launching the Innovative Collaboration for Development (ICfD) course again this fall from 15 October to 14 December, 2012. Registrations are now open and applications must be submitted online until 28 September.

More information can be found on the course introduction and application page. There is still time to be part of this exciting experience!

by Rosamelia Andrade - Euforic Services Associate