#SMCEDU in France : Social Media in the Classroom


Media literacy is one of the primary missions of Social Media Club, and thus the use of social media in the classroom is a large part of SMC discussions. Here at SMC France, many of our members are teachers or researchers in social media. SMC France co-founder and vice president Alban Martin is one of those teachers. Martin teaches four different classes at CELSA, a graduate school for communications run through the Sorbonne in Paris. CELSA has postgraduate and doctoral degree programs in journalism, communication, marketing, advertising and human resources, as well as a strong research division. Every CELSA program incorporates internships as well as class hours into its degree, and students are encouraged to study or intern abroad. With CELSA’s intensive entrance exam and rigorous academic program, 80% of students find employment within 3 months of graduating.

While students in France and the US have long been crying out for more social media involvement in the classroom, many schools have been hesitant to really take advantage of all the opportunities available through social media. CELSA first opened as a communication school in 1965 and has offered classes in new media for the last four years. Martin’s classes cover topics like viral marketing, online communities, online music, buzz marketing and interpersonal influence. His course on online music speaks almost exclusively of Myspace, eMuleand Creative Commons, and Twitter and blogging are a large part of the discussion in his other classes. Homework can include anything from contacting a music star on Myspace to maintaining a WordPress blog or Twitter account.

Social media use in Martin’s classes goes beyond just what’s mandatory for the coursework. Martin says that about a third of his students follow him on Twitter, comment on his blog, or add him on Facebook/Viadeo/LinkedIn. The students communicate with each other through social media as well. They have a Facebook page and 2 different sites reserved for the class and they tweet through the hashtags #celsa and #misc (Media Informatisé et Stratégie de Communication).

Martin says new media education at the school is becoming more and more popular every year, and rightfully so. As companies begin to utilize social media more and more, social media skills and awareness are becoming necessary requirements to get a job. Personal branding and networking have risen to a completely different level with the social media tools available today. Hopefully programs like those offered at CELSA will start to become more widespread, or students may be left wondering why their schools never prepared them for the realities of today’s job market.


For further information and discussions on social media in the classroom, check out the Social Media Club Education Connection.