Social Media in Pedagogy and Practice
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Social Media in Pedagogy and Practice

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Networked Teaching and Learning


Issue Editor:


Russell Carpenter



This special issue of the Journal of Faculty Developmenthighlights the most successful and promising strategies for integrating social media into the classroom while also considering the challenges these technologies present for teaching and learning. In addition, this special issue explores best practices for integrating social media into the classroom for instructional purposes, theories and principles that support the decision to incorporate social media into classroom settings, challenges faced and approaches for overcoming these challenges, and projects that incorporate social media along with learning outcomes. Articles featured in this special issue also explore, theorize, and assess innovative concepts, approaches, and strategies for classroom instruction using social media. In addition, this special issue poses a number of questions. Readers are invited to consider these questions as threads throughout the pages of this special issue:

  • What classroom activities are best suited for implementing social media? What specific projects might incorporate social media and how were these projects assessed?
  • What are the best practices for using social media for instruction?
  • How might various forms of social media engage student-learning outcomes? What factors should instructors consider when deciding whether to employ social media?
  • What are the theoretical frameworks for teaching with social media and how might they inform instruction? What training or professional development might benefit instructors exploring social media for classroom instruction?
  • What issues and challenges arise when incorporating social media into the classroom, including political, social, and institutional contexts and expectations? What boundaries, parameters, or guidelines are necessary for classroom use of social media and how might they present challenges, if at all?
  • What are the goals for incorporating social media into the classroom and how were these goals achieved, adapted, or revised? How might students contribute to these goals as they use social media in their own learning?




Guest Editor Introduction: Social Media in Pedagogy and Practice: Networked Teaching and Learning, By Russell Carpenter

Implementing and Analyzing Social Media in Higher Education, By Jenny L. Davis, D’Lane Compton, D. Nicole Farris, & Tony P. Love
This article examines how social media can incorporate into the higher education setting in meaningful ways using optional participation, active content production, and active moderation. The authors use two authoethnographic case studies. The first case pertains to pedagogical use through a student created and maintained Facebook group for a Sociology of Gender course. The second case pertains to the construction and maintenance of a participatory learning culture through a departmental Facebook page. The article includes accounts from each case and an analysis of the successful components.  

“Choose, Explore, Analyze”: A Multi-Tiered Approach to Social Media in the Classroom, By Meghan Rosatelli
In this essay, social media are presented as complex tools that require student involvement from potential classroom implementation to the post-mortem. The “choose, explore, analyze” approach narrows social media options for the classroom based on student feedback and allows students and teachers to work together to understand why and how social media aid in communicating content.

Theory through Application: A Study in the Use of Social Media for Teaching, By Mark A. Gammon & Carole McGranahan
Despite the growing integration of social media in their personal and professional lives, many faculty remain uncertain about its application to the classroom. One barrier for the adoption of social media as a learning tool is continued uncertainty about effective practices and successful use cases. Anchored in a specific course implementation and informed by reflections of faculty, teaching assistants, student feedback, and relevant literature, this article offers recommendations for implementing social media as a learning tool. We highlight key principles of social media as guideposts for practitioners to determine if and how to incorporate social media in their classroom.

What’s Going On?: Challenges and Opportunities for Social Media Use in the Writing Classroom, By Stephanie Vie
This article focuses on a national study of writing instructors regarding the inclusion of social media in their teaching. The results from this study indicate the field’s burgeoning interest in social media in the writing classroom: as technological tool, as content for analysis, as a composing space, and much more. These findings suggest the value of social media as a pedagogical component and address the potential benefits and challenges for social media’s use in the classroom.

Using Social Media for Student Collaboration, By Virginia Tucker
The iGeneration is predisposed to communicating via social media, and oftentimes students’ first instinct in classroom group work is to connect with members on social media. While some social networks allow for the creation of private groups, these students are still responsible for adapting the technology for this new purpose: collaborative learning. Using both synchronous and asynchronous tools, students can construct virtual communities of practice dedicated to frequent interaction and identification with a group, which can strengthen the quality of the knowledge-sharing and collaboration taking place among them. Community also depends on students’ understanding of how to use computer-mediated tools to collaborate, so if students are turning to social media to communicate with their class groups then there exists a need to train them in appropriate ways to use the media to collaborate. To encourage students to understand how or how not to use social media as a learning tool, instructors must apply activities and assignments that support collaboration and community.

Leadership Lessons: Helping Students Develop Essential Leadership and Communication Competencies through Social Media, By David L. Remund
Instructors often use social media as an extra platform for sharing information and therefore extend the classroom beyond classroom walls. However, when more thoughtfully integrated in pedagogy and tied to specific desired learning outcomes, social media may help accomplish more: strong engagement and self-reported comprehension, aided by the development of communication and team leadership skills. This exploratory study centers on a team-driven, social media issues advocacy assignment appropriate for nearly any academic field.

Addressing Social Media Presence: Shifting from Place to Space in Career/Transfer ePortfolios, By Shawn Apostel
Institutions of higher education are increasingly utilizing ePortfolio projects to allow students a space to showcase their work to their instructors, peers, and potential employers, and with the primary audience focusing on instructor or peer, the ePortfolio has worked well over the years. However, as the audience shifted more to potential employers, the self-contained ePortfolio should only be seen as one of many important online components for students to consider as they enter the workforce. Employers have grown savvy enough to conduct their own, informal searches on students using sites like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to gain a better understanding of what their potential hire will bring to a place of employment. Instructors who use ePortfolios to help students transition from study to the work force need to consider the online presentation of the student as well as the exhibit of a professional quality ePortfolio. This article showcases a “Digital Portfolio” class taught at small, private, liberal arts University in which the author encouraged students to create a marketable online presence along with a self-representation of work in the form of an ePortfolio. The author argues that combining the online, social-media presence with an ePortfolio collection allows students to create a well-rounded image of themselves and enables employers to observe the student’s ability to navigate ever-shifting social media outlets. This article includes an overview of assignments, a sample syllabus, and student reflection of this class.

Statistical Literacy Social Media Project for the Masses, By Ellen Gundlach, Clarence Maybee, & Kevin O’Shea
This article examines a social media assignment used to teach and practice statistical literacy with over 400 students each semester in large-lecture traditional, fully online, and flipped sections of an introductory-level statistics course. Following the social media assignment, students completed a survey on how they approached the assignment. Drawing from the authors’ experiences with the project and the survey results, this article offers recommendations for developing social media assignments in large courses that focus on the interplay between the social media tool and the implications of assignment prompts.


About the Editor:

Russell Carpenter, Ph.D. (University of Central Florida, 2009), directs the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity and Minor in Applied Creative Thinking at Eastern Kentucky University where he is also Assistant Professor of English. He is the author or editor of several recent books including The Routledge Reader on Writing Centers and New Media (with Sohui Lee), Cases on Higher Education Spaces, Teaching Applied Creative Thinking (with Charlie Sweet, Hal Blythe, and Shawn Apostel), and the Introduction to Applied Creative Thinking (with Charlie Sweet and Hal Blythe). He serves as President of the Southeastern Writing Center Association and Past Chair of the National Association of Communication Centers.

Details: 2016; ISBN: 1-58107-281-3 (80 pages soft cover; 8 x 10 inch) $20.95