Importance of Social Media in Higher Education

Great Ways to Use Social Media in Higher Ed

Presence of Social media is growing vigorously. But still social media is considered to be the deteriorating agent in academics by some people. Instead of fighting a losing battle, as social media is here to stay, the problem of web usage can be turned into an opportunity for the good.  

Platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are used by almost everyone. Social media is about collaborating, networking, sharing and generating knowledge and content, and all of these features are of great value in the context of higher education.

Few ways in which social media is helping professors, students and universities are mentioned below, take a look:

Social media plays an important role in every student’s life. It is easier and convenient to access information, provide information and communicate via social media. Teachers and students are connected to each other and can make good use of these platforms for the working of their education.

Professors are expanding their Twitter usage to host live lectures, offer off-hours support for students, or even host student debates. This type of social-media-meets-office-hours path is relatively unpaved, but if teachers are to keep pace with the changing nature of learning in the modern world, they should be open to exploring it. 

Social media helps professors to be connected to their students off campus as well as with their ex students. Professors use social media as a way of teaching by creating groups and accounts for students where the information can be accessed. Professors can share ideas with each other and point students to LinkedIn and Facebook. Professors create hash tags that allow students to tag their academic posts, and view submissions to see what the collective has creatively produced.

In this conversation with Scott Talan, an assistant professor in the School of Communication at American University, get insights about the value of social media in teaching.

One of the main reasons behind professors adapting to social media in classrooms is that they can do marketing via social media. Not only they are able to make the work easy but also are branding themselves professionally, creating a name for them in the community. Facebook pages, twitter accounts, various blog sites and YouTube channels are the examples where you can see professors doing excel in their stream. These platforms are highly accessed and hence can help professors in getting the high reputation.  Who wouldn’t want that? Get known for your work while working!

In a survey by Babson survey research group and Pearson, 4,000 teaching faculty from all disciplines in higher education, representing U.S. higher education professors, examined both the personal and professional impacts of social media.

According to the report, key findings were:

  • 64.4 percent of faculty use social media for their personal lives, 33.8 percent use it for teaching.
  • 41 percent for those under age 35 compared to 30 percent for those over age 55 reported using social media in their teaching.
  • Faculty in the Humanities and Arts, Professions and Applied Sciences, and the Social Sciences use social media at higher rates than those in Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science.
  • Blogs and wikis are preferred for teaching, while Facebook or LinkedIn are used more for social and professional connections.
  • 88 percent of faculty, regardless of discipline, reported using online video in the classroom.

A new area of social media is increasing in popularity that is focused on building relationships outside of the classroom.

Social Media for Community Building is the missing piece of the puzzle for Admissions departments, Enrollment Management departments, Public Relations and Student Services departments that are seeking to engage their audiences using social media.

In every college and university, social media is being integrated in every way possible, including admissions, campus life, alumni relations, and in the classroom.

Leading universities like University of Southern California, Ryerson University in Toronto and The Ohio State University have successfully integrated social media for the betterment of their students and teachers. These three universities have their success stories about how social media has helped their professors and learners.

People today are intimately involved with social media at every stage. If you’re missing onto the usage of social media you are pushing away a lot of potential audience. Using it in Higher Ed Institutions can prove to be a very effective measure.

What are your views about integrating social media in higher education strategies? 

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About the Author
Author: Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka is a blogger by profession and has an increasing interest to write about the edtech space. While writing she keeps in mind the educators to come up with right resources and ideas which might be relevant for them in relation to effective use of technology in their profession and institutions/classrooms.
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