Social media has a lot going for it as an educational tool: nearly everyone has some type of social media account, it’s easy to create an account if you don’t have one, social media makes it easy for people to connect, collaborate, and share, and social media platforms are optimized for mobile devices. In short, social media makes it easy for people to engage. Faculty want to engage their students; students want to be engaged. Social media inherently engages. So how can you harness the power of social media to foster engagement in your course? Let’s look to Facebook and Twitter for examples.
The groups feature in Facebook is an excellent tool for connecting faculty and students. Groups can be public, private, or secret depending on the privacy level desired. The groups feature allows for file sharing, polls, as well as the commenting and reaction features that we all know and love. Examples include an instructor making a group for the class to ask questions and connect with each other, share thoughts, applicable articles,
and news events. Students can make groups to collaborate for group projects or connect over similar interests.
How much can you accomplish in 140 characters? A lot. Establishing a course hashtag by combining the course code and section number (e.g. #PHI12502) is a quick and easy way for faculty and students to start connecting over course topics. Liking and re-tweeting people and organizations in the field being studied can connect students to important names and current research. Faculty at West Chester University can even embed their personal twitter feed or a hashtag based feed as a widget on their course homepage.
These are just a few ideas for using social media in your class but the options are endless. I’ve heard of using Pinterest and Instagram for scavenger hunts and Snapchat for storytelling.
Have you used social media in your course? Tell us about it in the comments!
Want to try using social media in your course but you’re not sure how to get started? Contact us! We’d love to help.