Class allows students to help businesses

By Brennan Hilliard

Brittany Beck, a doctoral candidate pursuing a Doctorate of Business Administration with a concentration in marketing and a teaching assistant at Louisiana Tech University, has used her instruction time to help students better Ruston by including service learning projects in her curricula.

A service learning project is an educational approach where a student learns theories in the classroom and then applies them while volunteering with a business.

Beck first introduced the projects in her digital marketing class in the fall quarter of 2022.

“What I had the students do was work with local partners in the community, whether it be local businesses or nonprofits and the goal of that project was to give students hands-on experience working in the industry, getting them as close to the industry as possible while still in that controlled classroom environment,” Beck said.

While projects of this kind benefit students by giving them hands-on experience, they also benefit the businesses by providing them with insight that they might not have.

“So what that project was, was creating a digital marketing strategy for these local businesses and helping them achieve greater conversions,” Beck said. “So that means essentially generating new customers, more foot-traffic in their stores… things of that nature.”

But while service learning projects can be valuable for both parties, they don’t come without their challenges.

“Quite frankly, it is challenging for the students to work with these business partners, because the business partners themselves are balancing a lot of different things,” Becak said. “A busy schedule, trying to manage their business and then on top of this, trying to communicate with students to help with this project.”

Working with a business in this capacity can give students valuable insight into how small businesses operate.

“Students also get a look at what it’s like to work within a small business environment, which can be very different from what they might expect,” Beck said.

According to Cameron Hunter, a senior at Tech who is majoring in marketing, Beck’s service learning projects’ challenges make them all the more valuable.

“She gears her classes in a way that makes sure students get the most possible from them,” Hunter said.

Hunter is currently enrolled in Beck’s social media marketing class and was enrolled in her digital and content marketing class in the fall quarter of 2022.

“Personally, her classes have given me hands-on experience in the digital marketing field that I greatly needed,” Hunter said. “She is one of the best teachers I have had during my time at Louisiana Tech.”

Alyssa McReynolds, a senior marketing major at Tech, said Beck’s digital and content marketing course gave her a very valuable experience that she hadn’t gotten in her college career up to that point.

“We sit in classrooms for a majority of our lives but this class challenged us to actually use the lessons we were learning in class and implement it in the world,” McReynolds said.“I’m truly grateful for this class and the opportunities I got and how it challenged me to become a better marketer.”

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