Social Media and Video in Higher Education
There is a “new” trend in higher education: Using social media and video to better integrate adult, online and non-traditional student populations into the institutions.
I am what some might call “old school”. I enjoyed the classroom learning situation. I wasn’t much for online classes and I am really not much for social media. And though there seems to be just about nothing one can’t do with social media or videos in higher education, I still believe nothing can replace the human contact and face to face communication. That said; I do have a “LinkedIn” account and email that I use on a weekly basis to keep in contact with family and friends that I can’t readily see or call every week. So why would someone who doesn’t really utilize social media think they have something to communicate about social media in the higher learning situation? Well, though I don’t use it much personally, I have utilized the tools professionally and found that social media did hold an important place in education. It holds an important place in just about everyone’s lives and is utilized by millions of people every day so why shouldn’t HEI’s utilize them to integrate the student of today?
As the Student Services Advisor at Medtech College I started a Student Services Facebook page even before it was popular to do so. I used it to communicate school happenings, post a school newspaper, as well as find some of our wayward students who seemed to have disappeared – no notice. It was a great way to communicate to the night students with whom I did not have as much contact as my hours were 10 to 7. It was also a great way to recruit, though Admissions and Medtech corporate office had web and social media sites to do this on a much larger scale. I also utilized it to communicate job openings that would help our current students who were under or unemployed. The page was used for students to talk about their experience at Medtech and finally, to bring the needs of our students to the other students’ attention. It was quite useful in matching students to a tutor or mentor.
Career Services used social media for much of the same purposes as the SSA page but they also used it to communicate job opportunities to future and former graduates as well as communicate relevant medical news updates pertinent to the student’s degrees and future careers. Career Services newsletters also helped keep CS in touch with their students for referrals and testimonials (used in videos for the Medtech and Admissions websites). Finally, it was open for the medical community to post job openings and events in the community for which our students could volunteer and thus not only gain work experience but network with future and potential employers.
Social media is great for announcing events, posting newsletters, policies, procedures and just about anything that has to do with the students’ education. For faculty it allows them to quickly communicate the students’ tests and homework grades; an extremely important perk to students. Faculty communicate homework assignments as well as post articles on the subjects the students are studying at that particular time. Students can post questions for which the instructor would provide an answer via the media or wait and answer it the next day in class. It saves time in the classroom as well as dispersing information to all students at the same time.
The one main and I believe strongly negative thing about social media is that as with email one cannot see the body language or hear the tone of the “speaker” in the messages sent, so often what happens with emails happens in social media: Misunderstandings and miscommunication. What could solve this are the new instructional videos that are finding their way into higher education…
Using video to teach is as convenient for the instructor as online classes for online students. People who choose to be online students do so for the convenience of no travel time and being able to review their assignments and educational material on their own time without the confines of a classroom and interruption of other student’s needs. Taping instructional videos also frees the instructors time. I have heard that there is a trend of taping an actual class session and using it as a teaching tool for online students. This allows online students the best of both worlds; they have the convenience of choosing their own class time but they also have the benefit of hearing the instructor, thus getting a better understanding of the important information on which to focus. The online student also witnesses the instructor’s body language. Finally, they benefit from hearing the other students questions that they might also have. They don’t have to waste time emailing or twittering questions to the instructors as they already have the answer.
Videos are also posted to school websites or sent via email to again, communicate to students school and community events, changes in policies and procedures, class schedules, grades and so much more. There is a commercial in which an actress talks about reading or… “partially reading” an article on the subject of socializing. I find the commercial to be very timely as let’s face it, most of us at least from time to time do not read a full article or complete reading a book – especially when it pertains to research. It is part of our fast-paced world and well, the training we are gaining via Twitter and social media; quick, fast, short messages that communicate just enough to tell us what we “just” need to know. Our society is enthralled with everything “quick/convenient” and “video” – video games, movies, cooking … So it only computes that students would acclimate to the use of videos by higher learning institutions to communicate anything and everything the student needs to know about the school and their education.
Again, I still don’t think social media and videos are a perfect substitute for human contact or face to face, but in this world of technology HEI’s would be irresponsible NOT to integrate all the technology they can to ensure an extraordinary educational experience is had by all its students now and going forward.
Author Perspective: Educator