Social Media use in the Classroom

It’s been awhile since my last blog… but for good reason. This Instructional Designer is now also an Instructor! I’ve started teaching an online course on Professional Development. It is a required course for Communication Management and Design students at Ithaca College; which also happens to be my Alma Mater.

Since I’m currently located in Los Angeles and Ithaca College is located in Upstate New York, one of the hurdles I’ve faced is “how do I get my students excited in the content, when I’m 3,000 miles away?” This is an obstacle that many online instructors have to overcome. Since this course is only a one-credit course and my students are undergraduates, I decided to take advantage of the interests of the millennial generation by using Twitter and Facebook.

The class is designed based on discussion relating to topics of: Career planning, Professional Culture, Networking, Work Life, Professional

Using Facebook Group for Guest Speakers

Development, and Work Place Professionalism. To engage my students, I created a Facebook Group and Twitter Feed and arranged for “Guest Speakers” to join us in our social networks for specific topics. The Guest Speakers have the flexibility to respond anytime during the week, which makes commitment from our guests much easier than having to travel to campus.

Students are required to participate in the Guest Speaker sessions by posting questions to the guests on the designated topic. The students read short biographies of our guests and have asked questions that result in the reflection of our guests’ career and education experiences. Most of our guests are Ithaca College Alumni, so there’s already a bond created and a frame of reference for the discussion.

I see a pattern in the discussion, with 75% of questions occurring the first three days of the lesson, 5% occurring mid-week, and 20% of the questions occurring the last day. The fact that students are participating from an early start makes me believe that they are excited about how the Guest Speaker sessions are conducted.

twitter-bird-light-bgs

Since the discussion posts have been lengthy, our guest speakers have preferred to use Facebook as the communication medium. Therefore, I’ve found other uses for our Twitter feed. Class announcements, such as due dates, are a basic use of the tool. However, students have been using the Twitter feed for Extra Credit. For example, students were asked to attend a Job/Intern Fair and collect a minimum of three business cards. To earn the extra credit, they needed to tweet a photo of each business card and state what the company was seeking in an employee. Not only did the photos prove they attended (since I’m off campus and cannot provide an attendance sheet), but the tweets also alerted their classmates of the opportunities available. Next term, I’d like to utilize Twitter for concise and dynamic discussion, but I need to work on aligning pedagogy with the tool in order to accomplish the goal.

In the future, I plan on introducing Web conferencing sessions into the class in order to have synchronous communication with my students. By doing so, I aim at creating a “classroom experience” by using an eBoard to annotate lesson notes and Voice Over IP to discuss important concepts. I may also have my students present a team project over the Web conferencing tool in order to get them comfortable with how dynamic the professional workplace is in its use of technology….. but more about that later…

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About Julie Tausend Burba

Instructional Designer at Hulu, Ed Tech and Project Management enthusiast. MBA Technology Management, MS Management, BS Communications, Traveler and Cook.

Posted on September 24, 2012, in Educational Technology, ePortfolio Pieces, Instructional Design, Portfolio, Tausend Talks Shop, Teaching Tools and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I just added this webpage to my feed reader, great stuff. Cannot get enough!

  1. Pingback: Social Media use in the Classroom | EdTech and ...

  2. Pingback: Making Social Media Work For You | Tausend Talks EdTech

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