Orchestrating the student experience with social media tools

Kirsty Hughes, Jessie Paterson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Social media is widely used in teaching and learning. We will present the results of a University-wide project which investigated whether this usage can be "engineered" to achieve specific "interaction models", and pedagogical aims. We will also discuss the general issues which this raised around social media usage.
The session will be an oral presentation given by the two presenters.
We start with the hypothesis that it is possible to classify the types of "interaction models" supported by different social media and online tools, and that this classification could be helpful in categorising and selecting tools to support particular pedagogical objectives.
We held semi-structured interviews with teaching staff across a range of disciplines in the University. These were intended to elicit both the extent of social media/tool usage, and also to explore how much this was explicitly motivated by a desire to foster specific learning interactions.
The interviews demonstrated a wide range of tool usage and we were able to show that these applications correspond to various combinations of basic interaction models. However, we found little evidence that activities were being explicitly engineered to achieve these interactions. This leads us to suspect that these aims are being held tacitly, and we offer the “language” of the interaction models as a means of exploring the pedagogical rationale for the innovations that we are seeing.
The rich dataset derived from the interviews also included a wealth of information on more general issues around the use of social media in teaching and learning. We will mention some of the more significant ones, including data protection, accessibility, privacy, and inclusivity.
In particular, almost all of the participants cited "time" as the over-arching issue preventing them from exploring, developing and implementing any new innovation. The social media tools provide a plethora of opportunity to create complex connections and interactions in support of teaching and learning. However, identifying suitable tools, learning their capabilities, and applying them to achieve some desired pedagogical outcome requires more time and effort than is normally available. This problem is compounded by the speed of change. Thinking in terms of the supported interaction models may be helpful in evaluating new tools and appropriate applications for them.
In general, we hope that the presentation may foster wider discussion on more efficient ways of exploiting the technology to meet specific pedagogic aims.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2014
EventHEA Surveys for Enhancement Conference - The Rep Theatre, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Jun 20144 Jun 2014


ConferenceHEA Surveys for Enhancement Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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