Back to News

Global Health and Social Media course being offered this summer, open to VCU undergraduates and public

Mar 14, 2017

Posted in: News

Marcus Messner, Ph.D., an associate professor of journalism in the VCU Robertson School and social media expert, will be teaching "Global Health and Social Media" (MASC 291) during the May 22 - June 22 summer session. The course is open to VCU undergraduates for normal course credit and tuition rates, as well as to the public through the Office of Continuing and Professional Education for a $99 course fee. Below are the course desciption, course objectives and other details. Read more at the VCU Office of Continuing and Professional Education's website.


"Global Health and Social Media" is an intensive special topics online class in which students explore the theory and practice of social media campaigns for global health issues. The class combines open participants enrolled through VCU's Office of Continuing and Professional Education with VCU undergraduate students to explore the following issues:
  • Theories and concepts of social media campaigns about global health issues
  • Practical application of social media in health campaigns
  • Targeting online audiences through social media
  • Utilization of multimedia content for social media
  • Organizational strategies for social media to achieve social benefits

This class is an online seminar in every sense of the word: You will think, argue, disagree, probe and defend. All of these elements are essential for a deeper level of understanding of social media.

Taking part in class discussions and reflections is not optional; it is required and will make up a large portion of your final grade. During the discussions and reflections we will be connecting the practical application techniques we are using in the social media campaigns to the theories we have learned about. We must all agree to do our best to make sure all students and members of the public feel comfortable expressing their opinions.


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Apply social media theories and concepts to practical social media projects
  • Assess social media needs in global (health) environments
  • Develop strategies for multimedia content on social media
  • Develop social media strategies for global health campaigns
The class also will also attempt to assess your mastery of each of the learning objectives required by the school's assessment plan and the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. These objectives include: Laws & Freedom of Speech; Media History; Diversity; Use of Images; Ethics; Critical & Creative Thinking; Research & Information-Evaluation Skills; Writing Abilities; Editing Abilities; Numbers & Statistics; and Tools & Technologies.


The entire class will be conducted asynchronously (meaning that you work on your own time to meet the assigned deadlines) and all activities will be completed online. There will be some scheduled online discussions with social media and health experts. While live participation is strongly encouraged, the discussions will also be recorded for later viewing.


There is no textbook for this class. Instead, we will post online readings every week on the social bookmarking site Delicious. In addition, we ask you to follow the news about social media and global health every day through Google News and leading news websites.


All class material is available on our class website at Course content will be released on a week-by-week basis. We will use the Blackboard course management system [] only for grading purposes and testing (after you log in to Blackboard, you will have access to your grades).


Registrations will be accepted through May 22, 2017.
Cancellations must be received via email at

In the unlikely event that this program is cancelled or postponed due to insufficient enrollments or unforeseen circumstances, the university will fully refund registration fees, but cannot be held responsible for any other expenses, including change or cancellation charges to include but not limited to airlines, hotels, travel agencies, or other organizations.

There are still openings remaining at this time.