Using Social Media to Enhance Instruction in Higher Education

Using Social Media to Enhance Instruction in Higher Education

Bethany K. B. Fleck (Metropolitan State University of Denver, USA), Aaron S. Richmond (Metropolitan State University of Denver, USA) and Heather D. Hussey (Northcentral University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2988-2.ch012
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This chapter informs readers on ways to integrate social media into the college classroom. Preexisting and relevant research is reviewed including suggested practices, efficacy of use, and data supporting the teaching methods described. Data from an original study is also presented, which assessed students’ perspectives on integrating social media into the higher education classroom. The authors of this chapter also provide suggestions on how to transform research into actual classroom practices based on theory including informal and incidental theory, relational mentoring, and situation learning theory.
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The prevalence of social media in US and world culture cannot be ignored. It is reported that over 901 million people use Facebook worldwide and 100 million users exist on Twitter (Davis, Deil-Amen, Aguilar, & Canche, 2012; Facebook, 2012). These web-based businesses are valued at 80 billion and 8 billion dollars respectively (Serrano, 2011). Over the past few years, these technologies have transformed the way that people interact with one another. “Digital natives,” or those born in a generation who have always had laptop computers, cell phones, and text messages compose our current traditional age college population (Davis et al., 2012). Considering such explosion in usage, should social media be considered as a tool in the higher education classroom?

Based on social media usage in the population, and specifically among college students, it is no surprise that colleges and universities have jumped on the social media bandwagon. Over half of 148 polled colleges in the United States report using Facebook for various reasons (Reuben, 2008). Davis and colleagues (2012) conducted a survey of 224 community colleges to understand social media technology use. They found that institutions are using such technology to communicate and engage with students in courses, link students to educational classroom management system updates, post course content, facilitate study groups, boast about student academic accomplishments, connect with alumni, market the institution, and recruit students into specific academic programs. These reports highlight the various uses of social media in higher education (Davis et al., 2008). Before investigating their effectiveness, it is helpful to have a clear understanding of what constitutes social media technology and what does not.

Drawing from literature, we define social media technology as “web-based and mobile applications that allow individuals and organizations to create, engage, and share new user-generated or existing content, in digital environments though multi-way communication” (Davis et al., 2012, p.1). Interestingly, educational content management systems such as Blackboard are not included under the definition of social media. Although similar, these platforms are not intended to promote exchanges and interactions in the manner that social media does. We will focus on the social networking sites (SNS) Facebook and Twitter.

Considering the prevalence of social media and its influence, it might be assumed that a plethora of literature exists in which social media technology has been integrated and tested for use in the classroom. A marginal amount of scholarly and empirical work has been devoted to the topic. Furthermore, very little of this research has attempted to investigate the specific effects that social media has on individual student learning. Table 1 contains a list of journal articles related to Social Networking Sites (SNS). The apparent lack of research on this topic regarding learning outcomes is the catalyst for this chapter. Thus, the information provided throughout this chapter will inform readers on several key elements related to the integration of SM into the classroom. First, we would like to inform the readers on relevant research on using social media in higher education. This includes suggested practices, efficacy of use, and data supporting the method of implementing social media into the classroom. Specifically we will focus our review on using Twitter and Facebook as a means of instruction (e.g., Blessing et al., in-press; Junco, Heibert, & Loken, 2011). Second, we will discuss a study by (Gonzoales, Fleck, & Yin, unpublished) that assessed student’s perspectives on integrating social media into the higher education classroom. Third, we will provide suggestions on how to transform past research into actual classroom practices. This will include a theoretical foundation, suggestions for utilizing Twitter and Facebook, and universal procedures used to implement these suggestions.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Beverly B. Ray
Jared Keengwe
Jared Keengwe
Chapter 1
Karen Skibba, Danyelle Moore, Jennifer H. Herman
Digital educational technologies can be used by instructors to help students create collaborative knowledge in the higher education classroom. This... Sample PDF
Pedagogical and Technological Considerations Designing Collaborative Learning Using Educational Technologies
Chapter 2
James N. Oigara
This chapter discusses technology integration in teacher education programs. Although opportunities for technology training have become more... Sample PDF
Integrating Technology in Teacher Education Programs
Chapter 3
Thomas G Wangler, Ellen M Ziliak
Some tend to view the use of technology as the panacea people have all been waiting for, and yet, if a piece of software or technology is not used... Sample PDF
Increasing Student Engagement and Extending the Walls of the Classroom with Emerging Technologies
Chapter 4
Darrell Hucks, Matthew Ragan
The purpose of this exploratory action research study was to examine how the modeling by instructors of technology integration would affect the... Sample PDF
Technology Expanding Horizons in Teacher Education: Transformative Learning Experiences
Chapter 5
Valerie Nguyen, Mark Szymanski
This chapter examines research that characterizes the complexity of teaching and integrating visual arts in K-12 education. Issues include teachers’... Sample PDF
A State of the Art Cart: Visual Arts and Technology Integration in Teacher Education
Chapter 6
Theresa A. Redmond
This chapter reports case study research that investigated teachers’ use of media and technology in a seventh grade media literacy class. The... Sample PDF
Media and Technology Integration through Media Literacy Education
Chapter 7
Lesley S. J. Farmer
Informatics, particularly as applied to K12 settings, has received little systematic attention worldwide, although the field itself is growing due... Sample PDF
Librarians’ Roles in Informatics to Support Classroom Incorporation of Technology
Chapter 8
Ajlan M. Alshehri
This chapter aims to enrich knowledge and open discussion towards employing the emerging technologies in educational settings particularly in... Sample PDF
Employing Emerging Technologies in Educational Settings: Issues and Challenges
Chapter 9
John K. Rugutt, Lucille L. T. Eckrich, Caroline C. Chemosit
The authors of this study utilized the discriminant function analysis using extreme student groups (top and bottom quartiles) defined by students’... Sample PDF
Internet Technology Levels in a Higher Education Teaching and Learning Environment: Discriminant Function Analysis Approach
Chapter 10
Hatice Sancar Tokmak, Lutfi Incikabi
Mathematics experiences in the early years of education can help children be more prepared for the future. Mathematics is known to be one of the... Sample PDF
Integration of the Computer Games into Early Childhood Education Pre-Service Teachers’ Mathematics Teaching
Chapter 11
Beth Gigante Klingenstein, Sara Hagen
This case study explores the journey that allowed the music faculty at a small public university in North Dakota to create a groundbreaking... Sample PDF
A Case Study in Online Delivery: Boarding the Bullet Train to an Online Music Degree
Chapter 12
Bethany K. B. Fleck, Aaron S. Richmond, Heather D. Hussey
This chapter informs readers on ways to integrate social media into the college classroom. Preexisting and relevant research is reviewed including... Sample PDF
Using Social Media to Enhance Instruction in Higher Education
Chapter 13
Isil Kabakci Yurdakul, H. Ferhan Odabasi, Y. Levent Sahin, Ahmet N. Coklar
Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) is one of the technology integration models that focuses on effective technology integration... Sample PDF
A TPACK Course for Developing Pre-Service Teachers’ Technology Integration Competencies: From Design and Application to Evaluation
Chapter 14
Dianna L. Newman, Victoria C. Coyle, Lori A. McKenna
This chapter looks at the delivery of professional development on technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK), designed to increase... Sample PDF
Changing the Face of ELA Classrooms: A Case Study of TPACK Professional Development
Chapter 15
Lutfi Incikabi, Hatice Sancar Tokmak
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Integrating Technology into Mathematics Teaching: A TPACK (Technological, Pedagogical, Content Knowledge)-Based Course Design for College Students
Chapter 16
Simone Smala, Saleh Al-Shehri
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