Janni Aragon, a professor at the University of Victoria, speaks about the social media tools she uses in her classroom – and explains how other professors can do the same thing.
What I would suggest if you are completely new to social media: choose one platform. Be it Reddit, Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr, whatever it may be, and try it out over the summer. Become familiar with it. Because here’s the rub: your students expect you to be an expert. And if you don’t have expertise or familiarity, they will get angry with you. So start off easy, choose one platform. Use it for a month or two prior to putting your assignments together. Pad your syllabus so that you have time for audio/visual or someone with more expertise to also come in. Be prepared to offer two to three “primers”, like workshops for your students, in order to talk about the platform – because you will need to make class time to do this. So be generous with the time that it is going to take for you to learn the platform, but also for your students to learn the platform.
I have students set up Twitter handles. I encourage them to follow the class hashtag. And because of that, we also use Hootsuite, which is a great third-party app, and it’s Canadian! Students appreciate that as well.
In terms of the blogging, they are archiving their work on the WordPress site. Some of them might use Tumblr or Live Journal, but ultimately many of them realize that WordPress is better because of all of the widgets they can use, it is more functional. And then with “vlogging” they are assessing the work, but also talking about the work in a video.
The London School of Economics has a great PDF about Twitter and higher ed. Google it. It’s Using Twitter in university research, teaching and impact activities, I think. If you Google it, you will find it, it is a fabulous document. It might be five years old, but it is still pretty accurate. You can also look at YouTube videos featuring professors talking about their Twitter use. Get on to Hootsuite, follow the hashtag #edtech to see what people are doing with educational technology.