As you may know, I am a professor here at Biola University in the Crowell School of Business. This coming spring, I will be teaching my “E-Business Strategy” course again, where upper-division business students learn strategies and skills related to doing business online. One of the key projects they undertake during this course is the building of a working e-commerce site for a real business, and we are looking for businesses who would like to partner with us!
For this project, we partner with a Crexendo, an e-business services company that is led by Steve Mihalyo. Steve has personally taken an interest in Biola and has a heart for helping students learn digital technologies. Crexendo provides an e-commerce platform for the students and trains them how to design an effective e-commerce site.
For the class project, I will be requiring the student groups to work with a small business or nonprofit to develop an overall digital presence, which will include the website, search engine optimization, and social media integration. The students will be required to deliver these things to the organization by the end of the semester, along with written documentation on how to use them. After the end of the semester, the students will hand everything off to the organization, who will then work directly with Crexendo for support.
Requirements to participate
So what is required for a business to participate? Crexendo is asking the organizations to commit to a small monthly charge for a minimum of six months, beginning after the semester is over in June. While I do not like having to charge anything for this project, doing so ensures that the partner organization is committed and helps cover the costs that Crexendo incurs doing on-campus training for the students, supporting their development efforts, and providing me with an assistant for the project (not to mention website hosting and general support for the business).
Besides this, I also have a requirement that I ask of any organization partnering with us: you must commit to spending enough time with the student groups that they can complete the project properly. This most likely means at least one or two phone/Skype calls (or visits if you are close by) and prompt responses to their email questions. If the project goes well, you may want to consider hiring one of the students to be an intern to help you continue the project after the semester is over, though this is not required.
Samples from past projects
So what do these sites look like when they are done? Here are some examples of projects which my students have built over the past couple of semesters:
So there it is. If you are interested in partnering with us for the fall, please email me. We do have limited space (due to a limited number of students!). If we get booked up for the fall semester, we can put you on a waiting list for the following semester.