In searching for an infographic on higher education faculty and social media use, I found one from a collaboration between the Babson Research Group and Pearson. This is from 2013, but I think the results are interesting. The results of this survey reveal that 59% of the faculty who responded thought that online and mobile technologies create better learning environments. I agree that this is true in some aspects. For example, I find Canvas to be a very useful tool for my classes as many professors upload their lecture notes, related course materials, and homework files. I can go back and reference this content whenever I need to and it is very convenient and helps me in my learning. On the other hand, I can understand the viewpoint that online and mobile technologies create distractions. Oftentimes, during my online lectures, I find myself distracted and I may open new tabs on my internet browser to do other work or look at content completely unrelated to my course. This causes me to miss some points mentioned in class, but because my professors are kind enough to record and upload lectures onto Canvas, I’m able to go back and reference the videos if I need to.
We can see that in this infographic, faculty use of social media for teaching increased from 2012 to 2013. Many faculty also use social media to promote their research. A great example of a professor at Virginia Tech who uses social media for teaching and to promote research is Dr. Shane Ross from the AOE department. Dr. Ross posts lectures on analytical dynamics, center manifolds, etc. on his YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/RossDynamicsLab) along with information about current research activities in his lab. He also uses Twitter and LinkedIn to share interesting information on his research. I think this is a great way to engage the community as well as make connections with others who are interested in his research.
The last section of this infographic shares some of the existing concerns about online and mobile technologies for higher education. These are all valid concerns. I especially agree with the concern that people who are not registered for a course may be receiving information for that course. It is unfair that many students are paying to receive course information and some of it may be shared with others for free. Another concern is the privacy of faculty. I’ve come across many posts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. where students take a screenshot of their Zoom class while the professor is speaking and share those images without their professor’s consent.
I think social media for teaching and learning is a great tool, but proper etiquette should be followed when using these tools such that both the content creators and the content consumers are protected.