Teaching with social media: Expand your toolset with purpose & confidence

Dr. Glenn Hurst | February 10, 2022 in Higher Education

woman viewing content on her mobile device

This blog series highlights educators who have embraced social media in their ongoing quest to meet students where they are, increase engagement, and improve results. Through these stories, you’ll discover how they got started, learn a few tips to make your foray into social media as seamless as possible, and hear some advice about incorporating these new technologies and platforms into your instruction or institution.

The two key driving forces when I was starting with social media were that I could help my students to understand the content to a greater extent, keep students engaged, and help them to develop strong communication skills.

Using social media in your course

I was actually using a lot of these social media platforms already as part of my personal life, so that made it easier from my perspective to do something innovative with them. With Snapchat, for instance, I always felt it could enhance student engagement and course understanding, but no one seemed to be taking advantage of it.

And there were people in my department who had used social media with students already, and it had been effective. That gave me more confidence than perhaps an educator in a school or university where there wasn’t that history.

But it’s inherent to have an idea of what you want to do, and some clear objectives beforehand, instead of just trying a piece of social media and making it up as you go along. I think you have to have a more defined approach from the outset for it to be a big success.

Getting started

If you’re not familiar with a social media platform, sometimes there’s a learning curve to get over, and I think that could worry a lot of people. They don’t want to get started because they’re not adequately trained in the first place. Create a test account to get acquainted with it to start. Then once you know how to use the platform, the rest of it is easy.