Since I wrote “Why aren’t they teaching social media in college?” I’ve received a range of colorful commentary on the topic. I suspect, the title of the post led many to conclude that I was under the mis-guided assumption that noone was using social media in higher education. This is not the case at all– I know a few college level educators teaching the use, purpose, and abuse of social media and new media technologies; however, I must note that I have received a few of what I “set the record straight” feedback. For example:
Anthony DiSanza writes, “Actually, Social Media is being taught – in many universities. FullSail is a for-profit school that has an undergrad & grad program in internet marketing – where social media is a component – as does the University of San Francisco. I just started teaching Internet Marketing at The Ohio State University – where social media is one key component of an overall marketing stratgy.”
Delaney Kirk notes, “I do teach social media in my management classes-I use class blogs, wikis, [and] have Twitter assignments.”
I’m very encouraged by educators identifying themselves as “teaching” social media. That is great and illustrates the strides that social media and new media technologies are making in the traditional educational setting; however, the focus of this post is: How are educators using social media/new media technologies to teach? I believe there is a fine distinction between teaching social media and using social media to teach. When I engage in conversations around using social media to teach, I’m concerned with this:
- How to meaningfully incorporate social media and new media technologies to enrich the learning experiences of students.
- How social media technologies can help make the life of college educators more productive.
To use these new and emerging social media technologies asks educators to think creatively how Facebook, Twitter, Digg, SlidShare, LinkedIn, YouTube, Podcasts, and the like are used innovatively to teach the major tenants of 20th Century Literature, Pragmatism, or Feminist Theory. I believe that to be a much different enterprise than having “Twitter assignments.” I intentionally use the words “creative” and “innovative” because topics such as these do not lend themselves nearly as well as e-marketing or management.
My stab at using social media to teach includes the use of blogs in my ongoing public speaking course. I am chronicling this experience in my Public Speaking in a Digital World series. Although many related disciplinary areas around communication (read Media Studies, New Media Technologies, Film/Cinema, and Popular Culture Studies) have a natural relationship with social media, to teach public speaking using blogs in such a way that students experiences with the skills-based exercise of public speaking are (potentially) enriched takes a certian amount of tenacity to bring together.
I am also running what I call The Tungle Experiment in an attempt to make scheduling student meetings a less arduous process. I can imagine many faculty members seeing the advantage of using this online scheduling tool. I encourage others to run their own Tungle Experiment and see tell me how it works for your purposes.
Are you using social media to teach? If so, please share your story. I also want to Thank Delaney Kirk and Anthony DiSanza for sharing how you are teaching social media in your classroom. To move social media to an acceptabe teaching tool, we need both sides of the coin. Good luck as you continue to blaze new trails.