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Hands-On Learning Continues for Digital Marketing Class

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KSC Digital Marketing Class
Photo courtesy of Paragon Digital Marketing taken before Spring Break.

Keene State College promises students that they’ll be prepared for their future careers after graduation. One way that students become ready is by working on real-world projects in the classroom. For Assistant Business Management Professor Ke Li’s digital marketing students, that real-world experience comes from a partnership with Paragon Digital Marketing, a full-service agency based in Keene, NH.

“It started when Professor Li reached out to us and asked what we would look for if we were to hire a digital marketing student,” said Zach Luse, founder of Paragon. The answer was certifications and real-life experience. “We worked with Ke to build the class around those two things and she really listened to our suggestions. The students will come out of the class with several digital marketing certifications and hands-on learning through a project with us.”

KSC Digital Marketing Class
Newsletter Team on a Zoom video call. Clockwise from top left: Julie Sartory, Jack Hanson, Isaac Reed, and Hannah Stanley.

“I love this class,” said Jack Hanson ’21, a public relations major. “Instead of exams, we have the certification courses that will help us get a job. Instead of class projects, we have real-world clients and get to see how our work impact the client’s business.”

For the reminder of the semester, students are working on Explore Keene, a new one-stop platform for arts, entertainment, restaurants, and adventuring in Keene. Students divided into four groups, each focusing on a different aspect of digital marketing: newsletters, social media, digital ad campaigns, and search engine optimization (SEO).

“I’m seeing that the students get excited about it and are interested and asking good questions,” added Zach. “They’re realizing that they’re getting a good opportunity to learn something hands-on that could give them a job when they graduate.”

The students have been given tools and resources to make their strategies in each area come to life. The newsletter group is drafting the newsletter; the social media group is posting to the social accounts; the digital ad students have a real budget; and the SEO group has access to Google Analytics.

“The work itself hasn’t been different since leaving campus,” continues Jack, who’s on the newsletter team. “We can’t meet in person as a group, but Zoom helps connect us. We’ve needed to change the content of our first newsletter, since we obviously can’t promote events in Keene. But it’s a good experience because it’s teaching us how to change course in a time of crisis.”

One of the highlights of the course for Jack is getting to work closely with the experts at Paragon. “It’s a big deal to have professionals come to class who are willing to talk to and work with students. To have access to people who are doing this as their job and telling us about the day-to-day work is great. I didn’t know what digital marketing was before, and now it’s giving me experience and options after graduation,” said Jack.

The students in the digital marketing class will continue to work on their projects remotely and use Zoom to collaborate and check in with the team at Paragon. At the end of the course, each team will present their project and discuss their strategy, what they accomplished, and the results of their activities.

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