A new research has suggested that incorporating social media in classes can be an attention-grabbing and effective teaching method.
Dr. Mia Moody, an assistant professor of journalism and media arts at Baylor University, said that social media in lectures, textbooks and traditional discussion groups not only prepares students for current and future communication trends, but it gives those who are too shy to talk in front of their classmates an opportunity to open up via the Web.
Students can "create, swap and manipulate information on many levels and in real time," Moody said in her article Teaching Twitter and Beyond: Tips for Incorporating Social Media into Traditional Courses.
Social media also can provide quick, easy access to instructors outside the classroom, Moody said.
"One exercise, for example, might encourage students to discuss the prevalence of hate groups in social media or compare and contrast the goals and objectives of race-related groups on Facebook.
"Instructors can chat with students who have questions about a project and need a few minutes of their time versus stopping by for an in-depth office visit," Moody said.
"This works particularly well with students who have a disability or those who have internships or jobs."
Another benefit of the social media is feedback from people who are not enrolled in the classes - especially helpful for students planning careers as reporters, magazine writers or public relations professionals, she said.
In the article, Moody offers several tips for teachers, including assigning students to create PowerPoint videos to display key points from their stories or to create short video clips using Skype or Flip cameras as an easy, inexpensive way to record interviews.
The article is published in the current issue of Journal of Magazine & New Media Research.