Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Just exactly what are the benefits of Social Media in Higher Ed?

Lara Madden
According to the article "The Benefits of Social Media for Higher Education" by ZOG at it is all about the marketing, with just this one blurb about students using Twitter to practice Italian Language skills:

In the Classroom. Social media can revolutionize learning and make it more efficient – as long as it isn’t abused. It offers a wealth of worldwide information that professors can use to complement lessons. An excellent example is shown in the case study: “Twitter in an Italian Class.” An Italian teacher at Montclair State University had her students tweet each other – only in Italian – in and out of the classroom, encouraging native speakers to join as well. 90% of the students reported a boost in confidence and motivation.
Read more at 

I can think of SO many more ways that faculty can use social media in their classroom and degree programs! Here is my off the top of my head today list:

  • Business students should be in LinkedIn posting completed projects, networking and looking for internship opportunities.
  • Graduate students should be finding academic groups in their degree fields and either joining or signing up for RSS feeds via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google to keep ahead of the newest trends and research in their field. There are academic groups in every area you can think of!
  • - Free reference manager and PDF organizer. Look for academic and peer reviewed articles in your academic area. For education majors this is amazing.
  • - Peer reviewed online teaching and learning materials. Really this is also amazing and you can post your own work.
  • Facebook private groups to post video role playing practice for more causal peer review in a place they all know.
  • Twitter and Facebook feeds of organizations in your academic or career areas and/or important journals and magazines.
  • LinkedIn is my new favorite for all RSS news feeds, you can get quick views of whats popular and also search and select specific topics to read about. 
  • All upper division topic courses should be requiring students to use discussion boards or WIKI's to post at least one relevant current topic article for weekly from one of these feeds that is relevant to the course topic. Why? so other students can review it and write a 2-3 sentence review of the article and its relevance, can we say encouraging critical thinking skills and ability to discuss current events?
  • Students can use Google Hangouts, Google Drive and Sites to create group assignments and work that can be shared with faculty for review and grading. Why? Because it works.
  • Faculty can set up pre-set announcements and/or deadline dates to go out to Facebook groups. And use groups for discussion and/or current events posts that get to students in realtime vs. posting in Blackboard only.
  • Faculty can use social media the same way, to set up RSS feeds and like pages and groups to review and share information with students in class. 
  • YouTube can be used to view movies and videos of relevance to coursework. 
  • Creative Commons and other free resources that offer open use or free source photos and videos that can be used in reports and presentations.
  • Open Source or MOOC courses can be used to review materials like math concepts in an economics course.
There are so many more ways to use not only Social Media but MOOC's, Creative Commons, Web 2.0 software and more. 

Students are living in technology, they are accessing more research materials online than ever before, and they communicate using Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Ask them...what are they using and how can you implement ways within their world to communicate your course content?

Be creative...

You can do it....


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