Professors use social media to communicate with students

Olivia Moye, Chattanooga, TN–Freshman English professors at UTC are now using Facebook and Twitter to communicate with students and in class lectures.

Do you “like” it?
Do you “like” it?: Haliee Blalock, a Chattanooga sophomore, checks Facebook between her classes. Many professors are finding new mediums with which to communicate with students, such as Facebook posts or Twitter updates.

Madonna Kemp, UTC English  professor, said she assigned “The Facebook Post” as a completion assignment where she had students find different examples of persuasive appeals, such as logos, pathos and ethos, in Facebook and Twitter posts.

Through the exercise, students were provided examples for identifying writing styles and given feedback on their interpretations of these writing techniques.

During four and five classes a semester, Kemp said uses Facebook or YouTube to access visual representations of subjects students have learned, such as watching grammar videos or viewing different types of advertisements.

Kemp said she thinks using social media in the classroom can  spark interest and gain attention of students.

“Most students are not audio learners and need some visual aids,” Kemp said. “The best visual aids are the ones that will garner attention.

According to statistics, social media is interesting for this generation.

“Every teacher should consider how the use of social media might help students meet the objectives of the class,” Kemp said.

Meghan Smith, a Franklin, Tenn. freshman, said she had similar assignment where her English 1010 professor used Facebook in class.

“We were shown a Facebook post of a gun control ad, and looked at all the different comments on it,” Smith said.  “My teacher pointed out different ways people were going about the argument and pointed out different logical and emotional facts in the conversations. Relating that to logos, pathos and ethos made it much easier to understand.”

Smith said the use of Facebook or other social media in class was very effective in helping to remember information.
“My teacher used a different method before to teach us about the different persuasive appeals, and I always got them confused,” Smith said. “But after he showed us the picture on Facebook, I had no problem remembering the difference.”

Paige Canada, a Murfreesboro, Tenn. sophomore, said she agreed that using social media sites is helpful to students.

“I like being able to communicate with my professor on Twitter because it is more of a relaxed situation, and takes away a lot of the formality and stress of talking to teachers about assignments,” Canada said. “I feel like I am more connected to them personally, and sometimes it’s like I am getting advice from a friend rather than a teacher.”

While some teachers are talking with students over Twitter and Facebook, most University professors have not made the switch to incorporating social media in the classroom quite yet.

“I feel that it is best to keep all student-teacher communication confined to the school’s website and email; that way the privacy of the communication is better secured and a record is available in case an issue arises,” Kemp said.

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