How Instructure’s Walking Dead MOOC went viral

Unlike zombie outbreaks, which generally spread whether you want them to or not, B2B marketing campaigns don’t typically go viral, Business2Community reports.

So when one of our portfolio companies, Instructure, had a story blow up to the tune of thousands of tweets and coverage from over 600 news outlets on Wednesday alone, I was all over it. All over it like a hungry zombie scarfing down a human brain.

The campaign, in case you haven’t already guessed from the title, picture, and terrible puns, is a Walking Dead MOOC (massive open online course), hosted on their Canvas platform. It’s free to anyone who signs up, and will be taught by a multidisciplinary team of professors from UC Irvine with support from the show’s creator, AMC.

Other platforms offer MOOCs too – in fact, thousands of courses are available through Web sites like Coursera and Udacity. But none of those thousands of courses allow students, upon completion, to model the spread of a zombie epidemic while debating whether gender roles will still exist in a post-apocalyptic zombiescape.

Or, as Instructure’s mastermind for the project, Sunny Washington, puts it, “We weren’t going to be the first, but we knew we could be the most innovative.”

Needless to say, their innovation is paying off. In case you’ve been living under a rock, zombies are all the rage right now, and this course is a fresh take on the already popular topic. That’s already a great recipe for any marketing campaign.

But before you go out and start promoting your “private zombie cloud,” (looking at you, Xtium), zombies aren’t the only thing that makes this a great idea.

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