Social media can be defined as websites or tools enabling social networking, allowing connectivity and interactions among users. Social media can be used to enhance communication and collaboration in teaching and learning, some examples of social media tools that can be used for teaching and learning include discussion forums, blogs, wikis and web conferencing. Examples of social media sites include Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Social media is now part of our lives and there is a growing interest in the potential of using social media to enhance teaching. Through the use of social media tools, there can be many opportunities for building learning communities, easily communicating and collaborating with your students, and engaging your students in their learning. This can be especially valuable for online students who do not experience the on-campus community.
Many tools are already available within ECU's suite of IT tools. ECU supported social tools provide a controlled, safe, accessible and supported environment where student interactions can be easily monitored and records are kept of their participation and assessments. Examples of social media tools already available at ECU include PebblePad, Adobe Connect and the Blackboard Social Learning tools.
If deciding to use an external source for social media tools, it is recommended that both staff and students understand that any use of social media tools or sites within their teaching environment are bound by ECU's IT Policy (for both staff and students), the Student Charter (for students), the Code of Conduct, the ECU Media Policy including the Responsible Use of Social Media guidelines which is linked to the ECU Social Media policy. Any breach of these conditions may make you legally liable. Be mindful of the potential for damage to the University’s brand and reputation.
Other recommendations and guidelines when using an external Social Media site for teaching and learning include:
When using any social media tool you should:
When selecting any technology tools for teaching and learning, check your learning outcomes and align these with your choice of technology, knowing what the students will be doing with the social media tools, why they will be doing it and what they will learn as a result will ensure you choose the correct tool for the job.
For more help with the choice or use of Social Media tools in your teaching, please contact the Centre for Learning and Teaching.
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