Teaching and Learning with Social Media: Social Media 101 for Faculty

Part 3 in the Series: Social Media in Education

Last fall, I played a major part in developing, designing, and teaching the first course dealing with social media at Valencia College. This course was geared to faculty interested learning about the possible implementations of social media to increase engagement and excitement in their courses with practical skills. Various faculty have been implementing social media on their own with little to no guidance in the matter. It’s been the “wild west” since it’s fairly new to the educational world, no guidelines or particular policies had been established, and no training has been conducted. It was important to develop this course to help make faculty aware of the importance of social media, the various tools available, the ethical and legal issues, and practical examples in which to develop your own plan of action.

The course was fairly short because it was to act as an overview of social media and the possible uses in an educational environment. The format of the course is online and is two weeks in length with four modules to complete worth four professional development credits. This course is an optional course for the Digital Professor Certification. It was offered once in the Fall 2011 and is currently being offered (May 2012). The course is hosted online in our Blackboard Learn system and the individual modules were developed utilizing SoftChalk.

Teaching and Learning with Social Media Course Banner

The course description: Participants will explore teaching and learning strategies utilizing social media to enhance student learning. This course will showcase various applications and how they can be used to enhance communication, collaboration, and student engagement. Social and legal issues relating to the use of social media in higher education will also be explored. Participants will develop a plan to appropriately integrate social media into a specific course.

Here is a video introduction to the course: Teaching & Learning with Social Media Intro

Module 1 – What’s Social Media All About

This module focuses on social media revolution, millennial generation, and basic overview of the concept of social media.

Discussion: Introduction to fellow students and learning what types of social media they are using either personally, professional, or academically.

Module 2 – Social Media Tools 101

This module focuses on all the various tools available but concentrates on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Delicious, Flickr, SlideShare, and WordPress. Each section includes basic information on the tool, how it can be used, and either examples or links to using the tool.

Discussion: Focuses on the faculty choosing two tools that might want to implement and what other training, information, or homework they need to do before implementing those tools.

Module 3 – Legal and Ethical Issues

Gavel and KeyboardThis module focuses on pedagogical potential, social good, digital perils, ethical, and legal issues surround social media and laws/policies governing higher education. Our legal council at the college helped review this section and make recommendations.

Discussions: This section’s two discussions focus on best practices and information potentially needed for your syllabus when requiring or using social media.

Module 4 – Integration of Social Media

This section focuses on real case studies and examples of faculty utilizing social media. During this module they will develop their social media integration plan using a planning map develop to guide them in this profess.

Discussion: Faculty will post their plans for other faculty to review and give feedback.

Next Steps

The next steps will be developing a hybrid course with both an online and webinar competent for Social Media Tools course, Part 2 faculty have been requesting. Get into the details of setting up and using tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube will be the main focus. This will include best practices and time savers for faculty.

The college will be offering a new 1 credit course for students in the fall called Social Networking for Job Search CGS 2650. I have recently been credentialed to teach any CGS course, so I’m looking forward to having a chance to develop this one the most. This course will teach students to utilize current industry social media as well as job search techniques related specifically to Information Technology. Students will explore Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and creating a digital portfolio to help find a job.

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