Trend: Social networking for everyone

In the past year, higher education technology experts have debated whether social media and social networking are beneficial to college curricula and education. Though incorporating social media in students’ work may pose challenges, many instructors throughout the nation have found the online tools to be increasingly helpful.

George Washington University Associate Professor Natalie Milman depends on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Docs for teaching her graduate students about instructional design and creating online portfolios.

“For educational institutions, social media enables two-way dialogues between students, prospective students, educators, and the institution that are less formal than with other media,” according to the Horizon Report.

Institutions like Vanderbilt University use YouTube to inform the public about progressing work on campus, while institutions like Texas State University use Facebook and Twitter to encourage discussion about various campus events, the Horizon Report published.

Yaros relies on a text messaging system that reminds students of assignment deadlines. Twitter and blogs are also integral to outside work for his students who then look at their classmates’ tweets and blogs in class. Yaros believes blending social media into his curriculum stimulates discussion and produces more interactivity.

“The tools that have become available for collaborative work have been extremely successful,” said Milman. “They are excellent opportunities for students to learn how to work in groups. She believes these tools “foster the ability to contribute [to work] wherever you are.”

Peter Sclafani and Mike Siegel are editorial interns at eCampus News


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