The Digital Transformation Sandwich

My expectations for Digital Transformation fall into a few different buckets, depending on whichever “hat” I might be wearing as I move through the Fall of 2021. Indeed, I would break out those expectations across three different contexts:

  • As an MBA student in this program
  • As an employee of Boston College’s Office of Communications
  • As a part-time faculty member at MassArt’s Dynamic Media Institute and the Digital Media program of Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies

With my Summer 2021 course of Data Analytics 3, I finished the core course requirements for this MBA and thus now control my own path towards completion through my choice of electives. I’ve taken two electives so far and both I hope will be good precedents and complements to this course. The first elective–Social Media and Digital Business with Lindsay Sutton–was, I believe, a course that our Professor taught originally. The overall structure of assignments and deliverables was very similar to this course but the focus was more on social media platforms and practices, so I look forward to how this course takes a more elevated 30,000 foot approach to looking at digital strategy of which social media might just be one component. For my class presentation, I took a look at deepfake technologies.

My only other elective was New Media Industries with P.J. McNealy which was a real-life lesson in pivoting as like the rest of BC’s curriculum as it fell during the “lockdown semester” of Spring 2020. The scope of this course was much broader than the Social Media class and examined media creation, consumption and control from early news reporting through the various stages of the digital and internet platforms and channels. My group project assignment was to take an established media company and offer suggestions for how that company could expand their empire beyond their scope (with the classic example of Amazon’s rise from simple online bookseller as a prime example.) Our group picked HBO during the exciting in class presentation draft and we presented a vision for an adult oriented type of theme park that allowed visitors to interact with story properties from HBO via Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. That course was right in my wheelhouse so I would love to be able to continue to explore how storytellers are leveraging digital tools in new ways.

I’ve worked at Boston College for the last 13 years, with the first eight years at the Office of Marketing Communications before that office merged with the News & Public Affairs Office to form the current Office of University Communications (OUC). My initial role as Lead Web Producer was to explore ways of telling the stories of Boston College through video and multimedia, often under the auspices of Boston College Magazine’s @ BC website. One early successful concept was The Boston College Minute, which was a series of 60 second fly-on-the-wall type documentaries about all the different facets of the University. At its peak, me and my team created these monthly during the academic year. The launch of the BC Minute in 2009 anticipated short-form video storytelling as a key component of strategic communication.

My role expanded to Senior Associate Director of Digital Media and Development so that I now also manage the development of strategic email newsletters, often partnering with University Advancement both for the deployment of the sends, as well as processing the analytics of those sends. I continue to explore new ways of storytelling through such avenues as 360 degree video. I’m hoping I can focus on an emerging platform for my presentation that I might be able to put into play in an actual project for OUC.

Finally, I continue to look at this MBA program as a resource to expand my knowledge set for my graduate teaching responsibilities. For the last 18 years, I’ve been teaching courses regularly for Northeastern University, as a direct benefit of having received my MFA from MassArt. (The Masters of Fine Arts degree is a terminal degree in Fine Arts–there is no PhD program in Fine Arts–and thus qualifies one to teach at the college level.) 

For the last 14 years or so, I’ve been exclusively teaching in the graduate Digital Media program at Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies where students attain an MPS degree. My usual course has recently been retired and so this past spring, I so I joined the group of faculty who lead the group Capstone projects. These projects are basically consulting projects with real life clients and my role is really to be a senior advisor to the group of students who have a very specific assignment for the client. It’s super exciting and demands of me that I bring all of my experiences to the table, including all of my MBA studies and real world work experiences.

I will also be teaching at MassArt’s Dynamic Media Institute this term, which is a first for me. I’m hoping it’s a nice complement to the real-world scenario of Northeastern’s Capstone project in that the MassArt students have free reign to explore concepts of dynamic media without any restrictions or client demands. And I know that my co-teacher is looking forward to having someone who has been more rooted in “business school” than “art school.” And of course we all want to see where those two intersect!

So… a lot going on between my day job and two part-time teaching assignment jobs! My expectation for this course will be that it will not be one additional set of tasks on top of my multiple professional roles but rather will be a set of guiding lenses for me to better focus on those responsibilities. Or maybe the bread holding together the slices of my digital media pursuits? The Digital Transformation Sandwich?!

I look forward to returning to the in-class experience and getting to know my classmates via discussion and Twitter (I’m @ravidjain)

4 comments

  1. Ravi, I’m going to want to hear more about those strategic newsletters and metrics for their success. I recently got to participate in a marketing appeal at work. I think the race to use big data for success marketing is an interesting one and I’d like pick your brain on the matter.

    1. I’m happy to talk about any part of my job that’s NOT strategic newsletter metrics ;-)

      But I’ll talk about that too.

  2. I will be very interested in hearing what you think about this class after taking Sutton’s and McNealy’s. I think it’s different enough from both of them that it merits taking it, but you’ve taken the other two classes that are most similar in terms of topic and structure. But I’ve always said that the open-ended nature of this class actually makes each semester unique.

  3. So lovely to meet another staff member at BC and excited to see how your own teach experience coincides with the content here! I teach one of the multicultural leadership courses here at BC, so I am curious to see how you balance teaching and learning at the same time! Spoiler alert, last semester was not a balance as much as it was a beginner’s juggling act so any help is appreciated!

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