Social Media Strategy for Your Class

Today’s students bring to class more than just a notebook and pencil. Many wield an assortment of electronic gadgets, such as smart phones, tablets, laptops, and notebooks. Each type of device enables them to connect to powerful social media. According to Purdue University Policy (Effective Feb 1st, 2013), Social media refers to “any online medium that allows a user to create and publish content (e.g., text, photos, video)”.

There are several ways to think through how social media can be used for the purposes of teaching and learning.

Define your goals and objectives
Seven categories have been applied to social media tools:

  • Communication  – used for both managerial and instructional purposes
  • Presentation  – allow students and teachers to create and show presentations offline
  • Collection  – allow both teachers and students to house a collection of links to important websites, primary sources, and music and art collections in one place
  • Organization  – scaffolded, guided practice, graphic organizers, timelines
  • Collaboration  – student group work
  • Interaction – allow students to grapple with content through tools that require critical-thinking or application of knowledge
  • Research – allow students to deeply explore content through tools by collecting resources, gathering evidence, assembling images, music, or videos

Content source

  • Content: Identify the content you have to share. Is it primarily news updates, research developments, or networking information? Photographs? Video? List the content you will be sharing via social media. Who is generating content? Where is the content hosted? How will people access content shared via these sources?
  • People: Identify the roles of each person communicating and what settings/functions are appropriate to use based on the given assignment.  Who can originate conversations? Aldo identify the audience for each content producer or communicator. How does this frame the structure of the communications or interactions? Who has access? Is it restricted to the course participants?  Is there a plan for including outside participants? For example, Survey the social media landscape for the “thought leaders” in your field. What are people already saying? What are people saying about you? Who is saying it? List the topics, people and sites that are leading the conversations that are relevant to you. Is it appropriate to include them in the conversation in the class?

Monitor, moderate, comment

  • How you conduct yourself
  • How you interact with your students
    • How do you write or submit information in this format?
  • How do your students interact with you
    • What policies, protocols or norms have you established for them?
  • How your students interact with each other?
  • How you class interact with audience outside of your class?
  • Content management
    • How do you capture data generated via social media tools?
    • What type of data can you ask students to share via social media tools?

Reflect and improve
Assessment and Evaluation: Determine how you will measure the success, or lack of success, of communications or interactions between participants.  Set a timeline for when you will conduct an evaluation of participant content, using predetermined goals and objectives.  At that time, be prepared to realign your site’s content. Ongoing evaluation should also be part of your strategy. Define a timeline.

When you use social media in your class, please consider relevant issues such as FERPA, HIPAA, Copyright, Violations of Academic Integrity and etc. In addition, please be aware that your department or college may have additional guidelines that may need to be included in your syllabus.

More information will be available soon on our website through “How do I select… Series”.  ITaP already developed Studio applications, such as Mixable and Hotseat, which enable instructor-students, student-student interactions. Please let us know if you would like some help considering social media for your class-

About Wei Zakharov

Wei Liu Zakharov is a Senior Educational Technologist from Instructional Development Center at Purdue University. I received my Ph.D in Learning Design & Technology and have over 10 years of experience in: educational uses of instructional media and emerging technologies, flipped/hybrid/online courses design and development, faculty professional development, research and grant writing.
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One Response to Social Media Strategy for Your Class

  1. Lisa Rose says:

    You have really provided some awesome tips on how a student can utilize the social media for a better learning experience. Many students will find your writing helpful.

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