As technology and social media continually flood our environment, Yingxia Cao, assistant professor of decision sciences department, attempted to gain insight into the amount of social media used in University classrooms.
In her lecture titled “Antecedents and Consequences of Social Media Utilization in College Technology,” Cao presented her findings of social media usage in the classroom based on self-reported data gathered from over 200 full and part-time faculty members.
“If faculty uses social media, they perceive that students are more satisfied and will have better outcomes,” Cao said of her findings.
The data collected was based on the faculty’s opinion of the expected benefits, academic pressure, perceived risks, professional pressure and their readiness to teach and use the technology.
“It depends on if teachers know what they’re doing,” said Martin Luke Galvan, sophomore accounting major, on social media use in the classroom.
Galvan discussed the use of social media by one of his high school teachers and how much it helped not only his writing skills, but also those of his classmates.
“We had a private Facebook group where we would have our homework on and where we could also post our work,” Galvan said. “There we could have our classmates help edit our work.”
Associate Professor of Marketing Jeanny Liu explained how she uses social media by having her entire class co-author a Wiki together, allowing her students to build upon different concepts and come together to create a project that represents different viewpoints in a cohesive manner.
“It would be interesting to look at what would motivate staff to incorporate social media usage in the classroom,” Liu said.
Cao stressed the importance of integrating different forms of social media into the classroom, claiming that the knowledge and know-how gained will help students later on in their future careers.
Some faculty and administrative staff in attendance claimed that it remains unknown if faculty’s usage of social media platforms in the classroom truly benefitted students learning because students were not represented in her studies.
Cao only collected data on whether or not the faculty believed their students’ performance improved due to technology used in the classroom, not if the students themselves saw improvement. Audience members in attendance suggested that the University encourage faculty to utilize more social media aspects in the classroom by helping faculty understand how to utilize new media, and even about new sites to experiment with.
“Her research is based on what facts motivate, or not, our faculty to use media,” said Liu. “When we see risky things, we don’t want to use it.”
Liu advocated for the faculty’s need to embrace more technology that would allow improved two-way communication between them and their students, stepping away from stagnant e-mail and becoming more accessible.
But Cao’s lecture demonstrated the importance in both the faculty and student’s understanding of social media and the proper use of the technology as it becomes more commonplace in the classroom, and work, environment.
Amanda Larsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.