Teaching and My Experience with Social Media

SNHU 101 Syllabus – Fall 2011 (Tierno)

This fall I had the opportunity to teach a freshman introductory class titled: “SNHU 101: SNHU Experience – Transition to College”.  This was a great opportunity for me to re-enter the classroom after an 11 year hiatus (I stopped out of teaching after my oldest daughter was born).

Teaching has come a long way; with Twitter, Facebook, Blackboard, and all the remaining electronic aids available to the teaching community and students.  In most cases this transformation has been positive.  The odd thing I found was that even though I was prepared to utilize the technology, I found that the students were not.

This revelation was puzzling to me; until a colleague pointed out that there is a major difference in how we as 40 somethings approach using it compared to our students.  Students are using social media to share photos, tweet out their dislikes, and follow fan pages that relate to more personal interests.  While professionals, and the organizations they belong to, are trying to find the utility in this new medium.

So, who has the right approach?  I think no one has the right answer.  The challenge is finding that common ground that will help to bridge the ever elusive communication gap.  My suggestion is to take time to have an open dialogue with our communities.  Find out what people are really expecting from their online connections.  A friend suggested that a great start is by using the mediums we want them to connect with us on and ask questions.  It sounds simple, but it is worth a try.

What do you think is the best way to utilize social media in the classroom?  How have you been successful with connecting with others using this medium?