Tweet, Post, Follow, Learn

While in the past, students may have been asked to stow electronic devices at the door to avoid learning distractions, they are now being encouraged to use resources like smartphone applications and social media platforms to instantly share conclusions and contribute to class discussions. As the poster child for progressive academia, online education institutions are at the forefront of this movement, eagerly discovering methods to employ social media to improve the experience of the online graduate or undergraduate student.

An article from  quotes cultural anthropologist Michael Wesch, who at a recent Campus Technology Conference in Boston said, “We have to recognize in our society that new media we see in our environment is not just new means of communications, not just tools. Media changes what can be said, how it can be said, who can say it, who can hear it and what messages will count as information and knowledge.”

In the 2010 movie “The Social Network,” we watched as Mark Zuckerberg’s character uses the freshly minted Facebook to solicit impressions of masterpieces for his Harvard art course. While this particular policy may not be encouraged, social media can be used effectively in the higher-education setting in a variety of ways:

  • Create groups and pages on Facebook to house online course discussions with classmates and peers
  • Receive the latest news from your field of study by following key influencers and news makers on Twitter and Facebook
  • Tweet a question to your professor, making the answer available to other distance learners who might be having the same question
  • Conduct an informal survey to receive value feedback from those around the globe
  • Become an authority in your field before graduating by tweeting about what you learned from the online lecture that day
  • Make connections and interact with potential employers
  • For teachers, post quiz questions on social media sites and watch as the responses filter through in real time

To learn more, check out these white papers and articles:

The Evolution of Online Learning: Incorporating Social Presence to Create Engaging Online Learning Experiences

Top 75 College Education Tweets

10 Must-Try Social Media Sites for College Students

Students use Twitter, Facebook to connect with current events

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