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Campus Life  

OC students amplify e-commerce studies with help of Shopify

Aerial image of the Kelowna campus with Okanagan Lake in the background

Now a multi-trillion dollar a year industry, there is a lot more to e-commerce than just clicking a button to “add to cart.”

Okanagan College Business students got an inside look on how e-commerce works during BUAD 335 Open Learning Project, which brought practical experience into the classroom.

Using an applied learning approach, Business Professor Pam Nelson integrated Shopify into the class curriculum, incorporating their state-of-the-art technology into real-world applications. Shopify gave OC students the opportunity to create their own online stores: building corporate brands, designing websites, developing product catalogues and creating online content.

“The students love it. All feedback has been extremely positive,” says Nelson.

Tina Langedyk, one of 39 students who took the class, describes it as practical and fun.

“We got a lot of useful knowledge we can put on a resume,” she says, noting her team was surprised to discover the e-commerce store they’d created worked so well.

“I think this is a tool I can use in the real world,” says Katelyn Trudel, a fellow third-year student. “Now I understand how to make a website look good.”

“Our students seemed to thrive in designing and creating their own online stores from scratch,” says Professor Glen Coulthard, who said students reported finding a lot of value in Shopify’s online learning resources. “Most of them found the experience very enjoyable and personally satisfying.”

Leah Dagg, a Shopify Open Learning Specialist, says students are even given access to real online stores and can make actual sales if they have a product they want to sell. The company hopes some students may end up working for, or with, Shopify.

“We are currently piloting a program where Open Learning students become partners of Shopify, as store builders,” says Dagg. “A couple of great students from Okanagan College have participated in our initial focus groups and pilot program.”

After successfully completing the program students received a ‘digital badge’ certifying they met Shopify’s criteria. Nelson says the fictional businesses could lead to students creating real businesses if they continue on the e-commerce path.

To learn more about Business studies at Okanagan College, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/business.



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