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"Incredibly natural. I can't think of a single issue where a student said 'I don't get it.'" - Dr. David Sutherland, MBA Lecturer

Education is social at Terry College of Business


Consistently ranked among the nation’s top business schools, the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business, houses several MBA courses and is one of 17 schools and colleges at the oldest state-chartered public university in the country.

Dr. David Sutherland, MBA lecturer at UGA, teaches the Professional MBA Innovation Management course, one of the most popular and intense courses offered. With 48 students enrolled for 7 sessions, 3 hours every other week, Sutherland was looking for a way to better engage with students and keep the teaching and learning going between sessions. The students in the Pro MBA program have full-time day jobs. He deployed Salesforce Chatter to all the students in the class so that they could collaborate with each other, share ideas, and innovate on their case study project. The quality of the concepts they came up with was stellar and the innovation that it created was fantastic.

UGA wanted to experiment with the use of social collaboration to provide student networks with the support they needed to reach their goal of a higher level of learning. “As universities go more into online education, it needs to be more social. They need to form communities. Education is social. When you recognize this, the learning outcomes are higher.” — David Sutherland

Using Chatter, Dr.Sutherland distributed assignments to the students and the students were able to form teams and collaborated with each other to complete the assignment tasks. Students were often able to browse other team’s Chatter groups to collaborate and ideate so as to build a more robust solution by building upon each other’s ideas. Chatter reduced the dependence on email and became an important component for grading classroom participation.

Sutherland was able to identify “Influencers” as well as which students served as “voyeurs” of what was being discussed. He discovered that some learners were now given a channel where they could really flourish. He could monitor and see which teams were not engaged, and then could intervene for a motivational kick-start.

Chatter created the platform for open innovation and served as an educational delivery form that was easily adopted by students. There was no training needed. And Chatter was flexible enough to adapt to different learning styles.

“Incredibly natural. I can’t think of a single issue where a student said ‘I don’t get it.”– David Sutherland

A key outcome was a 54% increase in learning objectives achieved by students. In addition, 88% of the 48 students stated Chatter was a significant contributor to their learning in the course.

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