Social Media in academics

Feature Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

Feature Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

Professors utilize social media in four critical ways: to connect, to notify, to teach, and to share knowledge.

A social network such as Facebook is being used to discuss assignments while also building relationships. Not only do social networks enhance communication but it is also a significant increase in engagement on both sides.

“I use Facebook mostly for communication, Twitter for information, and LinkedIn for professional connections,” Dr. Browning, professor for mass communication, said.

According to a 2012 survey of nearly 4,000 teaching professors by Pearson and the Babson Survey Research Group, 34 percent of professors use social media tools in the classroom and 65 percent use social media in their personal life. Pearson and Babson have conducted versions of this social media survey since 2010 and every year the survey has shown significant increases in the use of social media by teaching professors.

“I have begun requiring students to use Twitter in some of my classrooms,” Butler Cain, assistant professor of Mass Communication, said. “It has become not only social media, but professional media for mass communicators. I also have a Facebook page that’s designed to pass along interesting ideas and topics to anyone who is following it. I encourage students to comment on it.”

In less than three years social media became the most important activity on the web. According to Twitter continues to rise as an institutional tool, with 80 percent of respondents saying their department uses Twitter in an official capacity — up from 67 percent in 2010.

“I use Twitter the most,” Kim Bruce, instructor of mass communication, said. “I like the limited character quality. It’s a fun challenge for a PR writer to edit tightly. I try to post relevant course content and tag the class, such as #MCOM3313. Then, I may pull up the example in class if we have the time or simply mention it to generate discussion.”