In 1987, Chickering and Gamson offered a summary of research in the best practices of undergraduate education that are still relevant in today’s world. Two of these principles, “encourage contact between student and faculty” and “develop reciprocity and cooperation among students” focus heavily on the importance of communication in the classroom. This, paired with the fact that Pew Research Center reports that, as of May 2013, 72% of online adults use social networking sites, it makes sense to explore the idea of using social media in the college classroom.
Communications faculty member Dr. Jennifer Haber has been experimenting with the use of Web 2.0 and social networking tools with her students over the last year. The three tools she has utilized so far are Google Voice, Twitter and Facebook. In this post we share how Dr. Haber uses these tools as well as other resources worth exploring. Please contact your campus Instructional Technologist if you would like support or more information on any of these tools.
Google Voice: Dr. Haber has used this tool to provide her students with a means to text message her as needed without providing them access to her personal phone number. She has found that while this tool allows her students to easily access her, it is not a tool she uses to support course content.
Twitter: Twitter has been a way for Dr. Haber to share resources, articles and current events with her students. While some students have started following her Twitter feed, students have not been responding to her Tweets. This is somethings she plans on continuing to use and evaluate. You call follow her at @JenniferHaber2.
Facebook: Dr. Haber started using a Facebook group as a voluntary tool in her Humanities, HUM2233, class during the fall of 2013. This has met with great response from her students. Not only are they responding to the instructor led conversations, they are initiating their own posts based on course topics and requirements. Dr. Haber’s biggest concern when starting to use this social networking tool was protecting not only her own privacy, but that of her students. This is why she chose the “secret” group settings.
Note: In light of the potential legal and practical concerns that may arise through use of these internet based resources, it is important to review the SPC general cloud computing guidelines.