Each month, the writers at University of Venus share their answers to a question we pose for the higher education sector.
This month’s question comes to us from Janni Aragon.
Janni asks: “Do you find that social media platforms help you with your teaching, research or advising?”.
Ana Dinescu (Germany)The main objection against social media may be that it is time consuming and encourages procrastination. But used wisely, it may provide valuable resources for academics: you may be notified about conferences, new research tools, latest news in the world of academia or valuable articles. All you need is to define your target groups and goals and to focus your social media activity on exploring such resources.
Elizabeth Lewis Pardoe (US)I am tempted to leave it at a one word answer, “Yes!” I use social media to keep in touch with alumni advisees, students on study abroad, and funding bodies. I’ve found out about stellar students from their online profiles and been able to give stern lectures to others. Funding bodies review our student’s profiles. I want to see them first!
Anamaria Dutceac Segesten (Sweden) I totally embrace social media for academic purposes. It’s piggybacking on some existing habits that students/young people have developed for their private information consumption. If they are online on Facebook or Twitter anyway, why not meet them there, give them a reason to visit academic websites as well, not just entertainment sites. I believe the integration of social media with academic communication to be a success.
Meg Palladino (US)My main use of social media has been as an administrator. I use Facebook and Twitter to communicate with current and prospective students, as well as colleagues across the world. I am using LinkedIn to create alumni groups. These platforms seem to be more effective than email or newsletters much of the time.
Sarah Emily Duff (South Africa) I think we need to specify what we mean by social media: Facebook is useful for keeping up with fellow academics, but I avoid contacting students on it. Twitter is great for networking, although I’ve yet to use it for teaching. Social networking shrinks the academic world: it facilitates faster and more frequent communication. It helps me to feel more in touch with what’s going on abroad.
Melonie Fullick (Canada) I always hate to be an evangelist, but I’ve found that social media have been so useful for so many professional purposes–I recommend their use to everyone. Of course use is context-dependent, but I think academics from very different disciplines are taking up these tools, adapting them to their purposes. I’ve found Twitter invaluable for “networking”, connecting with others who share my interests (higher education policy and theory, and organizational change); it’s also a great way to share news and other relevant items, and start conversations. I have a blog that helps me to make a contribution to the public discussion of issues relevant to my research.
Liana Silva (US) Social media has been invaluable for me. When I moved away from my home institution to a new city with my family, I had half of a dissertation chapter. Also, I knew almost no one in this new place. Through social media I have found readers for my work but I have also found support and motivation. Social media has provided me with a sense of academic community I had lost when I moved.
Itır Toksöz (Turkey) The best use I have gotten out of social media so far is to connect with academic friends and to share their experiences. Social media as a place where I get informed about peers’ perspectives on different issues in higher education or in international politics is an alternative resource for me, which is often highly interesting and original.
Lee Skallerup Bessette (US) How don’t I use social media! I primarily use it to connect with fellow teachers and academics, like with #FYCchat, a weekly chat for those of us who teach Freshman Writing. I’ve been slowly integrating Social Media use in my classes, with varying degrees of success. My students are quite resistant to technology and I am still trying to find ways to make things like Twitter and blogging more relevant. However, my students have readily embraced Facebook as a teaching tool, creating their own course pages, interactive group projects, and other uses as well. This is what they came up with.
Bonnie Stewart (Canada) Social media is the subject of my research, but it’s also the means by which a great deal of it happens. It’s a constant, reflexive chorus for me: research links, new connections, conversations and new perspectives, input on what I share of my emerging work. It’s also a venue for me to mentor students: increasingly, I encourage my B.Ed students to get Twitter accounts so as to participate in the ongoing professional development and networking available to educators there.
Rosalie Arcala Hall (Philippines)- I haven’t been using social media for my classes that extensively. For communicating with them and posting class announcements, I still use good old fashioned email (list generated from addresses gathered at the start of classes). As an administrator, I find social media more effective in disseminating news and gathering quick responses to surveys but not for academic content sharing and opinion expression.
What about you, how do you use social media?