Get to know Northern Michigan University educator Corinne Bodeman: Q&A session

Discover how Corinne Bodeman, a professor at Northern Michigan University, leverages the Riipen platform to provide her students with unique, hands-on work-based learning experiences.
March 16, 2023
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Corinne Bodeman teaches Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial Marketing, New Business Venture Creation and Professional Selling at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. She currently sits on two boards of local non-profits and is the faculty advisor for Enactus, a social entrepreneurship organization. Corinne resides in Harvey, Michigan on a small hobby farm with a menagerie of animals. She recently finished teaching her Riipen Course, Marketing for Entrepreneurs, and sat down with Riipen Account Executive Michael Weber to share her experience using the Riipen platform.

Hey Cori! Tell us a bit more about your Riipen course. 

Hi Mike! Last semester I was excited to use Riipen for my Marketing for Entrepreneurs class. It’s a senior level course with both seniors and juniors enrolled.

What were some of the learning goals for the course? 

In the course I teach students how to think critically about the marketing challenges facing small businesses and startups. I teach them three things: identifying the lead customer, how to position the new product differently than traditional augmented marketing, and the best ways to message the product to the lead customer. 

Why did you choose to use Riipen?

The Riipen Marketplace is quite vast and allowed me to find the quantity of relevant businesses that I needed. We worked with thirteen businesses and were able to address thirteen different markets with thirteen different problems, challenges, and situations. Having so many real projects helped the students learn not just one industry but also the other industries that their classmates were working on as well.

How did you structure the experience?

Each team worked with their own client with one to three students on each team. The project ran for the entire fall semester. Students had to consult with businesses and deliver a marketing plan and video presentation. Papers were eight-to-twenty pages long depending on the complexity of the project.

What were some of the different kinds of businesses and projects that you were able to source? 

There were a few B2B but most were B2C. We had an AR/AI try-on software, a startup creating an oil based cleanser, a unique model United Nations program, a launch of a video game for PCs, and a web platform for grieving pet owners. There were others, but these were the ones that really resonated with the students. 

What was the effect on the students? What were some of the things they learned? 

Oh my gosh, everything from simple soft skills like how to communicate appropriately to critical thinking. The students LOVED hands-on work and despite some facing frustration with their projects, I could use that to teach them how to solve problems. Not everything is perfect in the real world and this is a great way to help students understand how to navigate the obstacles they’ll encounter in their careers.

What were some of the features that made Riipen helpful for adding work-based learning to your course?  

Riipen saved me an incredible amount of time finding clients. They found me clients in relevant industries like technology and consumer goods. They found me TRUE start ups. They helped me shake up the stable of businesses that I would have normally had to recruit.  

What would be your advice for educators thinking about using Riipen?

DO IT! I’m a big proponent of experiential learning, you cannot replicate it with case studies or fake businesses. I had twenty-seven students and all of them loved having a real business to work with. The Riipen clients are far more understanding than I would have thought and, as predicted, several of my students at a minimum got recommendations from them. The only piece of advice is to be very clear on what you're looking for to ensure the businesses are aligned with your learning goals.


About Riipen:

As the world's largest online work-based learning marketplace, Riipen makes it easy for higher education institutions and industry partners to collaborate on flexible project-based experiential learning opportunities embedding real-life business challenges directly into the curriculum. To learn more about our innovative work-based learning platform and how working with Riipen can result in improved student engagement and student employability outcomes, click here.

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