Guidelines for Social Media Integration

In this section, we describe issues that faculty need to be aware of during implementation of social media for teaching and learning. Issues to be examined are related to HIPAA, FERPA, antiharassment, intellectual property, copyright, academic integrity, and inappropriate content. Practical guidelines for helping instructors to confront the various barriers are discussed in terms of defining objectives, identifying tools, obtaining training, monitoring content, assessing student learning, reflecting, and improving. In addition, recommendations are provided for institutions wishing to support faculty adoption of social media for teaching and learning.

Constructivism is a popular theoretical underpinning for many online and blended courses. Digital and social media tools provide access to a diverse array of information in a multitude of formats for the purposes of constructing knowledge. Swan et al. (2009) observe that “higher education has traditionally emphasized constructivist approaches to learning in the sense of individual students taking responsibility for making sense of their educational experiences” (p. 3). Constructivists believe that humans create meaning as opposed to acquiring it and that learning is a student-centered process. Angela (2011) explains that “the learning process is based on cooperation, collaboration; students learn through interaction with others, as a result of the discussions with others, the discussions having the role to conduct them to a better understanding and learning; the role of the teacher is to guide students to become actively involved in their learning” (p. 186). Constructivist strategies can be used to teach the “why” or “.higher level thinking that promotes personal meaning and situated and contextual learning” (Ally 2004, para. 14).

Shand (2011) discusses six categories of technologies to help promote teaching and learning. These categories can be applied to the use of social media tools in educational settings:

  • • Communication—used for both managerial and instructional purposes
  • • Presentation—allows students and teachers to create and show presentations offline
  • • Collection—allows both teachers and students to house a collection of links to important websites, primary sources, and music and art collections in one place
  • • Organization—used to provide scaffolding, guided practice, graphic organizers, timelines
  • • Collaboration—provides ability for student group work
  • • Interaction—allows students to grapple with content through tools that require critical thinking or application of knowledge.

Additionally, as students are encouraged to critically explore topics, social media tools can facilitate new methods of research. Emerging technologies encourage students to participate in deeper exploration of academic subject areas through social learning processes connected to collecting resources, gathering evidence, and assembling images, music, or videos. Using Godwin’s (2008) Matrix of Web 2.0 technologies, we have combined these ideas with functions commonly used in the process of teaching and learning and added ideas that have appeared since Web 2.0 inception (Fig. 12.6).

Faculty need to be aware of appropriate use of social media. Some of the uses and important considerations are discussed below.

Web 2.0 technologies matched to common teaching and learning processes

Fig. 12.6 Web 2.0 technologies matched to common teaching and learning processes

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