Social media popular with faculty, but not yet in class

University faculty members are increasingly using social media in their professional and personal lives, even as they continue to cast a suspicious gaze toward students using those same platforms in the classroom.

Sixty percent of respondents said that mobile technologies create a better learning environment.

That’s according to the results of a survey of 8,000 faculty members conducted by Babson Survey Research Group and Pearson.

The report found that more than half of faculty use social media — websites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn — in a professional context, a ten percent jump from last year’s 45 percent. Slightly more than 70 percent use social media for personal purposes.

Only four out of 10 faculty members reported using social media in the classroom.

“Faculty are not only expanding their use of social media, but also becoming more sophisticated in how they use it,” said Jeff Seaman, Babson Survey Research Group’s co-director. “They seem to be quite good at weighing the benefits and the costs. What we see is a steady year to year increase in their use while we still see consistent concerns that prevent even more widespread use.”

Those concerns include the issue of privacy, the integrity of student submissions, and the distraction online and mobile technologies could cause.

Nearly 60 percent of the respondents said that online and mobile technologies create a better learning environment and more than three-quarters said that faculty-student communication has increased as a result.

Yet still more than half of faculty said they think the technologies are more distracting than helpful for academic use.

See Page 2 for details on what else is stopping faculty from adopting social media in the classroom.

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