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Timely Ideas Founder and Chief Consultant John Crawford recently completed a 6-week course entitled “Content Strategy for Professionals: Engaging Audiences for Your Organization” that focused on how enterprises use stories and smart data to get important information to specific internal and external audiences. The curriculum was created by a team of instructors from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media Management Center, and Kellogg School of Management and delivered as a Massive, Open, Online Course (MOOC).

The rationale behind the course is that organizations know the people they want to reach have less time but will pay attention to content if it is credible, trustworthy and transparent and enhances their ability to make important decisions. At the same time, the content delivered advances the organizations strategic goals.

“Effective content strategy is crucial to organizations seeking to increase employee engagement,” said Crawford. “The MOOC provided fresh, informative strategies on dealing with and reaching today’s time challenged workforce.”

Coursework was covered in weekly segments featuring instructional videos with content experts, supplemental textbook readings and discussion threads with student cohorts on topics. Lessons also included real time quizzes on content reviewed to measure comprehension and understanding of the material presented. The course culminated in a capstone Case Study assignment in which students prepared and submitted business strategies along with relevant content for a fictional enterprise using the principles learned. Submissions were evaluated via peer review to spur critical thinking, drive engagement and ensure assigned requirements were met.

“Students taking part were literally from all over the world,” said Crawford. “Their input and perspective gave global relevance to the learnings.”

MOOC’s are a recent development in distance education offering online courses aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. The program was enabled through Coursera.org, a leading online education platform provider.

Northwestern offered verified certificates of completion for students participating through “Signature Track” enrollment.

Certificate of Completion