Colleges evolve by teaching with social media
From easily accessible design programs to online blogs, college professors are changing the way they teach their classes to adapt to social media trends. The College Teaching Effectiveness Network, or CTEN, held a workshop Monday for graduate students and faculty looking to incorporate more online tools into the classroom setting.
Kristin Drogos, event coordinator and graduate student, said recent studies have been done on a national level regarding the use of social media by college instructors. Of the 1900 college faculty members questioned, two thirds are using social media outlets regularly, both in their courses and for personal use.
The workshop, titled “Social Media in the Classroom,” was designed to explain why social media should be integrated in higher education curriculums.
“We (CTEN) have a wide variety of workshops that we hold throughout the year,” Drogos said. “This one is a pressing issue. Among ourselves, we wanted to know how our instructors are bringing social media into the classroom and how they’re using it effectively.”
During the workshop, Christian Sandvig, associate professor of media and cinema studies, and Kevin Hamilton, associate professor of art and design, spoke of their experiences with attempting to incorporate social media outlets into teaching as well as why they feel it would be helpful to do so.
“The Internet has evolved to the point where we have all these different platforms that are for things like sharing music, videos, messages or personal information,” Sandvig said. “So there must be some way we as instructors can take advantage of this because the students have already done so.”
Looking for a universal adoption of social media outlets among students, Sandvig said he has “modest goals” to make course management and workflow more convenient. Using “non-drastic ways,” including setting up course websites and blogs and having students submit all assignments online, Sandvig also said he hopes to promote more student engagement and interaction in his classes.
Hamilton, however, doesn’t only look for ways to incorporate social media into his classroom; he is also instructing a new course based solely on social media using online programs and outlets in order to engage students in all different forms of media.
“There’s an idea here that we’re all amateurs,” Hamilton said. “We’re all expected to do things in media that we don’t have training to do. The mission for this course is to train amateurs in multimedia composition. It’s an examination of the role of skill in creative labor.”
Drogos said she believes that both Hamilton and Sandvig have been extremely successful in bringing social media into the classroom.
“I think there’s a lot of room for exploration of this topic,” Drogos said. “From my own experiences as an instructor, we go through a learning process when we’re bringing this new technology into the classroom. The incorporation of social media into a classroom setting benefits the University at large for both students and faculty.”