Profs teach with social media
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 19:04
Many college students check their Facebook and Twitter accounts throughout the day to connect with friends, but now some professors are requiring students to log on to social media sites for academic reasons.
English professor Christine Cucciarre said social media will play an integral role in her course “Writing the New Media,” which is offered in the spring. She said the class requires students to use Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, blogs and web design programs.
Cucciarre said she likes using social media sites because of the ability to share posts. She said the class’s Facebook group allows her students to share an interesting story or news clip with their peers, and students can also share content with their friends by reposting the link to their own page.
“It’s an idea of finding cool stuff on the web and using it to enhance what we do in the classroom,” Cucciarre said.
According to a report from the Babson Survey Research Group and Pearson earlier this month, more professors are using social media sites as a tool in the classroom. Researchers tested 4,000 teachers of higher education and discovered 33.8 percent use social media sites for teaching, and 88 percent use online video.
Senior John Pikulsky said his political science professor uses Facebook to share videos that are relevant to the class. He said he thinks professors use the website because most college students already have an account.
“Facebook’s easy to operate so a lot of people have it,” Pikulsky said. “It’s pretty user-friendly.”
Cucciarre said she also uses Twitter for a class assignment in which students are required to post seven to 10 times about class readings over a 48 hour period. She said because Twitter only allows its users to write 140 characters, it teaches students to compress their writing and forces them to think about word choice.
“The ancient Greeks talked about the compression of ideas and how to say something in a limited and short way,” Cucciarre said. “They were basically describing Twitter, and it teaches students how to economize their language in a clever way.”
Marketing professor Anu Sivaraman said she also uses Twitter for all her classes, specifically to give her students extra readings in addition to what they are required to read in their textbooks.
She said she has been using Twitter for about three years and thinks it easier to use than Sakai to update her students on things pertaining to the class. Because she can access Twitter on her phone, Sivaraman said she can easily tweet or retweet something to her students.
She said she follows more than 50 newspapers and websites on Twitter and when they tweet something she thinks is relevant to her class, she retweets it using the class’s hashtag.
“I just have to use a hashtag and all my students have to do is type in the hashtag and they can see a list of the readings,” Sivaraman said. “It’s easier for me and easier for my students to access.”
Cucciarre said, like Sivaraman, she also prefers social media sites over Sakai.
“It doesn’t equate to real life like Twitter and Wiki that are available to participatory culture,” Cucciarre said. “It’s not as intuitive or as user-friendly.”