On Wednesday 21 February, the subject of our ELDT Lunchtime Webinar was ‘Augmenting Teaching with Social Media‘. The session was presented by Guest Speaker Dr. Glenn Hurst from the Department of Chemistry, who has recently been commended by JISC for his incorporation of Social Media into his teaching.
A Multi-Channel Approach
During the course of the Webinar, Glenn discussed several approaches to augmenting contact hours with social media, facilitated both by himself and colleagues within the Department of Chemistry. These include the use of Snapchat to enhance induction activities, Twitter to extend the conversation beyond the physical classroom, and Youtube – for the purposes of encouraging students to curate their own video artifacts to enhance communication skills and demonstrate knowledge of taught concepts in practical workshops. The cross-platform approach was informed by the current landscape of tools, and the existing channels of communication that students may already be conversant and fluent with in their day-to-day lives.
A Discussion on Inclusivity and Privacy
In the ensuing discussion, it was recognised how Social Media may sometimes prove to be somewhat of a controversial topic in both Higher Education and E-Learning. Questions from participants focused on whether some students may not feel comfortable in engaging with Social Media platforms, and especially when generating content, may be unprepared for any negative feedback that their work may receive when exposed to the public. As such, it was raised that there are certain areas of etiquette that are required when transacting with open, publicly-accessible forums, and then when embedding Social Media into teaching, there must be a mutual awareness of said sensitivities.
It was, however, discussed that there are transferable learning gains to had in such situations. One may indeed argue that it is an authentic, transferable skill to learn how to communicate in an open forum, which may translate to many fields of future employment. In areas where the issue of sensitivity may make Social Media tools less suited as a channel of interaction, one may consider avenues for more locked-down, synchronous interaction within a live lecture. Instead of using Twitter to harvest audiences responses, you could, for example, look to Electronic Voting Systems.
You can view the whole recording of the Webinar and discussion here. [Blackboard Collaborate, No Login Required]