1 With Social Media becoming an everyday communication method for individuals and organizations, it's logical to incorporate its use into instructional approaches. Using Social Media to Enhance students ' Learning Experiences James A. Griesemer Abstract features such as bulletin boards, wikis, Current business students are and online meetings and also incor- digital technology natives with great porate other tools like blogs, podcasts, sophistication in the uses and poten- really simple syndication (RSS), and tial of Social Media . This is good Twitter. Although incorporating Social because businesses and other organi- Media into a course requires consider- zations are expecting today's graduates able time and effort, the results to date to be highly proficient in these tech- have exceeded expectations. nologies.
2 1 Social Media tools radically alter the way people view and use Introduction communication. The task of knowl- Social Media tools are rapidly chang- edge construction is thus being shared ing the communications landscape. among the instructor, students , and Their emergence has impacted signifi- other individuals who share an interest cantly how students learn and the way for the subject. 2 instructors teach. In today higher edu- This article focuses on continuing cation settings, instructors, students , efforts Using Social Media to Enhance and others collaborate on the tasks of undergraduate business students ' learn- knowledge ing experiences. My college makes an The influence of Social Media on online course management system Learning and teaching environments is (CMS) and training available to instruc- growing more each year.
3 Social Media tors, but leaves its use to the instructor applications can reinforce class mate- for traditional courses. I use the CMS's rial and positively influence discussions, 8 Quality Approaches in Higher Education Vol. 3, No. 1. collaborative work, and authoring. Educators and Approach researchers are constantly experimenting with Incorporating Social Media into a business Social Media technologies hoping to stimulate course can allow a diverse group of interested critical thinking skills, collaboration, and knowl- individuals to engage in creating and developing edge construction. content and to gather online to share knowl- Social Media technologies offer the capability edge, information, and In my business to both receive and create content with the hope 3010: Production Systems Management traditional that a collective intelligence emerges.
4 The goal semester course, this group included the students is to improve students ' Learning experiences to in the course, adjunct faculty who teach other sec- prepare them to enter a workforce that is not tions of the course, myself, as well as members geographically constrained and expects them to of local sections of professional societies like the have highly developed online collaboration skills. American Society for Quality (ASQ) and APICS, The pursuit of such benefits drives academics the Association for Operations Management. I am to incorporate new technological approaches in an active member of both professional societies. their teaching It was necessary to switch from the traditional The new technologies that are changing the lecture and questions/answers approach to bet- way instructors teach and students learn include ter use the various Social Media tools to meet the following: students ' needs and expectations.
5 These needs Weblogs. Weblogs or blogs, as they are known, include increased access to the instructor and fel- are easily created and updateable websites low students as well as course-related project data that allow authors to publish to the Internet and information. For example, I redesigned his instantly, thus allowing instructors and students production systems management course to incor- to communicate easily. porate blogs for use by students to support closer Wikis. A wiki is a collaborative web space where collaboration on team projects. The teams were anyone can add or edit content that has already also encouraged to use and monitor RSSs contain- been published. ing course topic information and utilize Social Really simple syndication (RSS). RSS allows users bookmarking. Individual wikis were created as to subscribe to news feeds originating either homework help lines where I posted some answers from blogs or more traditional web spaces like and hints for completing homework assignments.
6 Newspapers and magazines. The content comes Wikis were also used for polling students about to the reader instead of the reader having to changes in assignments and presentations' dates, retrieve the content. and for class meeting make-up dates. Twitter was Social bookmarking. Bookmarking sites allow used along with e-mail for one-to-one communi- users to save and archive entire web pages. This cation. students were also required to give a brief enables users to produce a searchable, personal- lecture Using audio/video casting. ized Internet. Student Experience Online photograph galleries (OPG). OPGs allow A survey conducted in the first class meeting the posting of photographs that support sharing found only 3 of eighteen (~17%) students had used of ideas and experiences. either wikis or a Social networking site in a college Audio/video casting (AVC).
7 AVC makes it easy to course previously, and none had used Twitter. By produce digital voice and video files and publish the end of the course all students had used wikis, and distribute them over the Internet. It also Social networking sites, RSS, Social bookmarking, supports basic, live-streaming television online. and Twitter as part of the course. In addition, each Twitter. Twitter is a powerful tool for connecting project team incorporated the use of online photo- with others and sharing content easily. graph galleries and audio/video casting techniques Social networking sites (SNS). In addition to in their course research presentations. supporting wide area communication in both When surveyed at the last class meeting, student audio and video formats, SNSs help teach the feedback included the following findings: network literacy that is required to navigate Although most students had used Social Media these new such as Facebook and Twitter in their personal 9.
8 Lives, they needed instruction on how to use them safely in an educational setting. A Social Media usage Agreement . Social Media usage agreement (see the side- Terms and Conditions bar, Social Media usage Agreement Terms and Conditions ) was quickly established to students are expected to act safely by keeping address basic safety practices. personal information out of their posts. While some students quickly embraced the use students agree not to use their family name, of Social Media in the course, others initially password, school name and location, or questioned its value and the need to learn it in any other information that could enable addition to the required course content. someone to locate and contact them. Over time, the majority of the students devel- students are to use Social Media as an aca- oped an appreciation for its use.
9 Demic resource only and therefore behave Some students expected the use of Social Media as in the classroom. to correct some of the traditional problems students should not respond to comments associated with group projects, namely, uneven that make them uncomfortable. Instead, participation. They learned they could use blogs they should report these comments to the and Twitter to keep all team members more instructor immediately. fully engaged in the projects. students felt the use of Social Media heightened their project presentations. In particular, they I had to learn how to set up and effectively use sev- cited RSS and Social bookmarking as helping eral Social Media Equally important, them collect current information easily on their students grew from being passive to active learners. topics. Audio/video casting also allowed them Lessons learned from these early attempts to distribute their presentations via the Internet include the following: to interested members of the local sections of Instructors must design time and opportuni- professional societies.
10 Ties for the use of Social Media activities into students felt the inclusion of the professionals their course syllabi. Though this may initially as blogs and wikis members added real-world be viewed as taking time away from important knowledge to their Learning and the course in course topics, these opportunities are alter- general. native ways to cover these topics and even a students said that Using and somewhat master- means for introducing additional topics. ing a variety of Social Media approaches helped Both instructors and students need to realize them better prepare for a career in business their roles in the course and behavior in the management. classroom will change significantly. The com- students liked the inclusion of Social Media plexity and number of student questions rose in the course and recommended Using it in all significantly, resulting in a much more dynamic higher-level business courses.