Social Media in the University Classroom

Ashley Yenawine | @ashuriiy social media in classroom

It is no secret that students today are constantly using social media. In fact, according to a recent YPulse survey, 21% of Millennials use Twitter as their main news source. As a result, professors have started finding ways to incorporate the use of social media in the classroom.

Using Twitter and #hashtags to facilitate discussions

One particularly easy way to bring social media into the classroom is through Twitter. Twitter allows students to connect easily and also enables the teacher to bring the conversation together online. University of Texas at Dallas history professor Monica Rankin used a Twitter Experiment in her classroom. She had each of her students create an account on Twitter and each week use a specific hashtag to Tweet with during class. The tweets were collected and displayed on screen to help add to the discussion. After each class, the conversations were saved to allow students to go back and look at the information again.

Professors and students can also use Twitter as another form of communication outside of class.

Facebook groups for class interaction

Facebook groups make for another great form of communication outside of the classroom. While teaching Japanese Culture and Society, another class at UT Dallas, Professor Yuki Watanabe used a Facebook group as a bridge between the students in her class and a class of English students in Japan. Dr. Watanabe set up a Facebook group that both sets of students were required to join. The students were then able to interact with each other across the world.

In addition, Facebook groups can be used by students for group projects. Students can share, discuss, and interact with their peers on details of a project in a virtual environment.

Requiring students to keep a blog

When it comes to writing, keeping a blog is a great alternative to the tradition of writing multiple essays per semester. A blog allows students to improve their writing and find their personal voice while sharing their thoughts and ideas with others online. Blogging can also help students reach out to other people in their field of interest when required to do an interview or guest blog post.

Photography and other creative classes can also utilize blogging by using more image-based blogging resources like Tumblr. Posting photos and other creative works and employing Tumblr's tagging system can promote more interaction.

With these social media additions to the classroom, courses are more engaging and interactive. What are some of the ways social media is being used in classes at your university?