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Today’s Higher Education Faculty Use Social Media

All faculties experience having students who are constantly updating their statuses on Facebook or refreshing their Twitter.  Most of the faculties find the social media as a barrier to the learning of students at class. However, nowadays, some other faculties are using social media to enhance learning in class and improve their productivity.  A report from 2013 revealed that more than 80%  of faculties are using social media and more than half use these tools as part of their teaching. Most the faculties summarize their social media usage to communicate with students (trading posts on blogs, for instance) or to use online videos, podcasts, and blogs during class time. Young faculty members use social media more than older faculty. Thus, the use of social media for teaching is no longer the option and the faculty must use the social media in their teaching.

The major advantage of social media is to create the community which fosters communication, engagement, and collaboration. Several studies showed that using social media tool can enhance learning and engagement especially among international students or introverted students. Since these types of student mostly find it difficult to participate in class discussion, ask questions, or interact with other students in the class. However, using social media, they can express their opinions, ask their questions, or interact effectively with their classmates and professors.

On the other hand, some faculties still have serious concerns that prevent their use of social media in teaching (Figure 1). Among those, most of the faculties mentioned the privacy concern as one of the most important barriers to teaching use of social media. The most important aspect of the privacy concern is a threat to their privacy.

Figure 1. Barriers to Faculty Use of Social Media- 2013 (adapted from http://www.pearsonlearningsolutions.com/higher-education/social-media-survey.php)

Some professors are glad to be friend with their students in the social media, while others prefer to maintain a professional distance. Professors are encouraged to be mindful of having professional not personal) account to ensure personal privacy. They must use their social media account to teach, share information, or have a connection with their students. For example, creating the hashtag will help the student to tag their academic post, or the Facebook groups for team projects will facilitate the teacher-student relationships for commenting and communicating. Therefore, there are potential strategies for using social media which can be used in the teaching to increase the scholarly productivity of faculties and foster communications among student-student or student-faculty relationship. Ultimately, both students and faculties in higher education must change how they see the role of social media in their academic lives.


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