Trends on Campus: Social Media in the Classroom

February 01, 2011

Social media in the classroomThe notion of the tweed jacketed professor sequestered within ivy-covered walls, holding fast to outdated practices is so … old school.  Today’s faculty members are no Luddites with a growing number using social media in the classroom and for student interaction, according to a new study from Pearson titled:  “Social Media in Higher Education.”

Nearly 1,000 faculty members nationwide participated in this first-of-its-kind survey and revealed that almost 80 percent of college professors are active social media users.  “College faculty has embraced social media and a majority has integrated some form of these tools into their teaching,” said Jeff Seaman, Ph.D., co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group, which helped conduct this study.  “While some faculty remain skeptical, the overall opinion is quite positive, with faculty reporting that social media has value for teaching by over a four-to-one margin.”

Some findings include:

  • Fifty-nine percent of faculty has more than one social network account, and nearly a quarter have accounts on four or more social networks.
  • More than 30 percent use social networks to communicate with students; nearly one third use social networks to communicate with peers.
  • A majority (52%) report using video, podcasts, blogs and wikis as part of their class instruction.
  • Forty-six percent use online videos and podcasts as part of their coursework.
  • Social media use is higher among faculty in the Humanities and Social Sciences than those in Mathematics, Sciences, Business and Economics.
  • Faculty teaching online courses are more likely to have social network accounts and to use them to communicate with fellow educators and with students.
  • Older faculty (those teaching more than 20 years) use of social media is only slightly lower than that of their younger peers.

Faculty members have also shown great enthusiasm regarding new technologies in the classroom. At campuses across the nation, faculties have eagerly embraced Barnes & Noble’s NOOKstudy and NOOKstudy for Blackboard Learn.

Tell us about some of the innovative ways faculty are using social media on your campus in the comments section below.