Shaw University, the oldest historically black college in the southeast, has always been a student-focused leader in education. Their more than 30 academic programs boast a 15 to 1 student to faculty ratio, meaning students’ professors often know them by their first name.
Reify Media partnered with Shaw University in the spring of 2016 to create a custom social media workshop for faculty, “Social Media Gets Collegiate: Tweeting and Tagging Your Way to Student Engagement.”
The workshop focused on four main conversations:
- Social media, when used for content-related purposes, can improve student engagement and learning—which we discussed with support from recent studies on college students.
- Faculty members don’t have to drive all social media activity; there are many ways for instructors to integrate social media without spending too much of their valuable time.
- Any technology integration has to be considered with a pedagogy-first mindset; we always start with a classroom issue or content challenge and then consider what tool would best support it.
- Always know your campus’ social media guidelines and consider setting up a classroom social media policy before starting.
During the workshop, our examples focused on how social media can improve student engagement and content retention, and strategies discussed manageable ways for faculty of all technology comfort levels to integrate social media.
The workshop focused on the mainstream tools (including Twitter and LinkedIn) but also briefly discussed others (like Pinterest, Delicious, and Instagram) and mentioned academic collaboration tools (like Zotero).
Potential benefits for faculty and staff who attended included:
- learning to meet students where they are–on social media;
- examples of tools that support immediate connections with students in and out of class, including tools that give students the opportunity to contribute;
- ideas for enlarging the conversation of course topics, beyond the confines of their classrooms—ways to easily bringing in experts or following experts to add to the class discussions and understanding;
- strategies for creating a body of work to support ideas, readings, theories, and projects—one that can continue to grow through different semesters.