10 Ways That Professors Can Use Social Media
Students, whether in grade school or in higher education, are always on social media. They are creating, connecting, networking, and collaborating. Professors can easily take advantage of these platforms to help manage their classroom. Not only will taking advantage of social media help reduce the amount of paper used, but it will also benefit both the professor and the class. By doing so, professors can create a learning environment that becomes an advantage to students and help them learn more networking and collaborative skills for their profession.
- Allowing students to work collaboratively
Even college students sometimes have a hard time working on group projects: meeting together, exchanging information, coordinating class and work schedules. By instructing students to use specific apps, such as GroupMe or What’sApp, or even a Facebook group or Google hangout, professors not only can expect a higher quality of work done on time but can also check in on each group. This allows students and the professor to work collaboratively still, but on their own timetable. Students can also use apps or Google Drive to keep their data, reports, projects, and essays in one spot so that the entire group can easily access and revise them.
- Allow expanded office hours
Sometimes, students are unable to meet with a professor during his office hours. This makes it difficult for students to get advice or answers to questions. However, professors can take advantage of technology and social media to extend their office hours. Professors can set up a Facebook page or a Twitter feed. On their syllabus, professors can put a few consistent hours they will be on those social media sites to answer any question or to work with a student.
- Hold class while out of town
Professors may not always be able to make a class: they get sick, they have to take care of family, they are out of the city on vacation or for a conference. Most of the time when this happens, they cancel class. But, professors can take advantage of Periscope or Facebook Live to still have class. With these two apps, professors can stream their lecture and be able to see student comments and questions and see who is actually viewing it. If the professor is unavailable during the actual class time, he can use Youtube to record a lecture beforehand.
- Use blogs or websites as a virtual classroom
Setting up a personal blog or website gives professors a lot of freedom. They can include their bio, upload syllabi and documents, input lectures and videos, and allow students to submit homework and use other documents.
- Take advantage of Google Drive
Google drive has so much to offer. Professors can ask students to use Google Docs to work collaboratively on study guides or group essays. They can use Google Sheets to input grades for students. Google Forms can be used to submit homework. Google Slides can be used as a way for students to review the lecture.
- Facilitate discussion in large lecture class
Some classes can be upwards of 700 students. It can be a bit difficult to facilitate discussion in these classes and allow students’ voices to be heard. Professors can use Instagram, Twitter, and even Facebook to allow students to chime in with comments or questions during the lecture.
- Let students showcase work
Especially for more visual classes or artistic classes, student projects are meant to be seen rather than read. Professors can set up a hashtag on Instagram for students to use and post pictures of their work. This way, the professor and other students (as well as regular social media users) can view, comment, and collaborate on projects.
- Have students begin to network
In classes that are geared toward professions, such as nursing, education, engineering, etc., requiring students to create a LinkedIn account is a smart move. Professors can then connect with the students, help them set up their resume, and help students find connections in their future profession.
- Require students to have a GoodReads account
English, literature, comparative studies, and teacher education professors can require students to create and keep a GoodReads account. This way, students are being analytical about the books they are reading and can view their classmates’ opinions on the same books. Professors can also friend students through GoodReads and have these book reviews be assignments in lieu of a formal analytical essay.
- Create a class Wiki
Creating a class wiki site is a great way to not only give students resources and allow students to submit work, but students can collaborate with each other and create forums. Wikis can be password protected, so it is closed only to the class.
In this article, we have discussed ten ways that professors can use social media in the classroom. Can you think of any that I missed? If so, please leave them in the comments section below.