It all started with one sentence. It always does.

“We want more practical knowledge,” said a student to Dr. Lay Peng, unit convenor of MKTG306. That got her thinking, what could she do to make the unit more practical? As she thought about it, the answer came to her from the quote, “Bring the world to them and take them to the world.” This was the benchmark that Dr. Lay Peng set her eyes on as she redesigned her unit.

MKTG306 is a final year marketing unit – E-Marketing, and to reinvent the unit, Dr. Lay Peng adopted a 3 pronged approach:

Industry speakers:

Dr Amy Wahlen, Senior Digital Designer from Westpac shared with the students, “What makes a good, responsive website”

The best way to bring the world into the classroom was to invite professionals from the industry to come speak to her students. She organised 5 guest lectures in the 13 weeks to give the students some great exposure to how things work when they start working. These speakers came from different parts of the industry – media, online marketing, website design etc and spoke to the students about a specific and practical area of digital marketing.

Digital marketing is a fast moving space. LayPeng realised that she needed to ensure her students were on top of all the changes happening. She also wanted to give them a chance to network and build connections. And as she thought about all of this, she realised that the MQ alumni were placed in a great position to be able to do this as they were working in the industry and also wanted to give back. Therefore most of the industry speakers were also MQ alumni.

Example of website created by students; featuring here “Shop2Wok”

Example of website created by students; featuring here “Shop2Wok”

The assessments needed to be in line with this approach of keeping the unit practical. To build practical skills, LayPeng designed an assessment that involved students having to work in teams and come up with an idea for a business. They then created a website for it and ‘pitched’ it to the other students in their tutorials. All the students were given an imaginary $100,000 that they could give to 0-2 projects. This also encouraged students to reflect and critically analyse all the other projects. Based on the money raised as well as the team scores, the top 10 teams were then invited to present at the Digital Pitch Competition.

Digital Pitch Competition:
Andrew Bao and Marcus Lim (Lightbulb) pitching their idea of a digital news app to the panel of judges

Andrew Bao and Marcus Lim (Lightbulb) pitching their idea of a digital news app to the panel of judges

This was the highlight of the unit – both for the students as well as Lay Peng. Keeping in line with the ‘Taking the students to the world,’ the selected groups were given the chance to deepen their learning and the opportunity to convert their class assessment into a real business. Working in collaboration with the MQ Incubator, the groups were taken through a Pre Pitch Workshop, run by John Shi-Nash and Andrew Cipollone at the Incubator. The students were given tips and advice on how to pitch well through actual examples. On the day of the Digital Pitch Competition, 3 groups presented to a panel of judges. The winner of the competition was offered assistance to convert their idea into a reality by Macquarie Incubator. All of the finalist groups were also given a lot of really good feedback and were offered mentorship by all the industry speakers.

This digital pitch contest was a great reflection of the entire unit itself – engaging, practical and encouraging in students a love for learning and digital media. No doubt, students have great feedback

“It is definitely one of the best subjects I have done at university, and I learnt a lot. The mix of theory and practical (guest speakers) experience in the semester definitely made it more interesting and useful for students.”

This was one of my favourite units… engaging lectures and tutorials, design of assessments, real potential to create an idea and make it a reality, guest speakers galore…I would recommend this unit for any other people who need to select marketing electives as it is a great unit”

However, it is LayPeng who sums it up the best, “I am so proud of my students. They have learnt beyond the classroom this semester,”

Finalists along with the judges at the Pitch.

Posted by Shaheen Hajira

Shaheen is a learning designer passionate about the role of universities in creating socially responsible, engaged thinkers.

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