Co-generation of Knowledge: Higher Education Faculty Teaching Use of Social Media

When I started to look in to the topic, how do higher education faculty use social media, I was specifically interested in how do they use social media in their teaching. I found that the year 2011 to the year 2013 was the peak of the research heat of this topic.

Since 2009, Pearson Learning Solutions research team has been researching faculty use of social media. This research team released three annual reports about the findings of Social Media in Higher Education survey in 2011, 2012, and 2013 (Resource listed in the References). The main findings that caused my interests are as followings.

First, “Most of faculty use social media sites for both personal and professional reasons, and a somewhat smaller proportion also believe that social media sites have a place within their courses.” (Pearson Learning Solutions, 2013)

Second, “Faculty in the Humanities and Arts, Professions and Applied Sciences, and the Social Sciences use social media for teaching purposes at higher rates than those in Natural Sciences or Mathematics and Computer Science. However, this difference has narrowed considerably from 2012 to 2013.” (Pearson Learning Solutions, 2013)

Third, “Faculty can choose among a number of different approaches for introducing social media into their courses.” “Faculty may ask their students to consume the media and then provide comments, and they may also require their students to engage in some level of creation of the media.” “Likewise faculty may use social media as part of individual assignments, where each student is expected to act on their own, or they may craft group assignments, where multiple students are expected to work together.” (Pearson Learning Solutions, 2013)

Though a large part of this research also explored which social media did faculty choose in their teaching, I think that should not be the biggest concern. We should always have a clear purpose for using social media, we should always keep it in mind that it’s not about the technology. Thus, how to effectively use social media to engage student in the higher education teaching should be the core.

We should find the meaningful ways to put social media into the higher education teaching. We don’t want the social media become a time-consuming substitute for teaching and interacting. “The innovation, regardless of administrative or academic department, is in using social media to encourage the free flow of ideas, the co-generation of knowledge, and challenges to that knowledge. That is how social media will help us get students to think critically, make well-informed choices, and learn something of value.” (Wilson, 2013)

With the many types and uses of social media, we want to take advantages of the social media to inspire students to think more about knowledge, just as we did in this course and we are doing now, using Blog posting to discuss this topic. What we are looking for is the deep thinking and debate about the knowledge, the co-generation of knowledge among faculty, students and everyone.



Pearson Learning Solutions. (2011). Teaching, Learning, and Sharing: How Today’s Higher Education Faculty Use Social Media.

Pearson Learning Solutions. (2012). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Facebook: how today’s higher education faculty use social media.

Pearson Learning Solutions. (2013). Social Media for Teaching and Learning.,0

Wilson, C. D. (2013). Making connections: Higher education meets social media. Change: The magazine of higher learning, 45(4), 51-57.

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