Use of Social Media for Active Learning and Student Engagement

Concurrent Session 5

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

People use social media every day to connect and gather information. Its presence in higher education is increasing as educators find ways to incorporate technology to engage their student and enhance learning in their course. This session will provide information on how to use Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube in a formal class setting to engage the student and promote active learning.

Sponsored By


Villa R. Vance is currently working as an instructional designer from Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD). She earned her Master of Science in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas (UNT) in 2017 and her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Holy Angel University (Philippines). An entrepreneur by trade she co-owned a car audio and electronics shop in McKinney, Texas. Her previous careers included, but not limited to a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), adjunct faculty - teaching programming languages and desktop publishing courses, curriculum coordinator, website and graphic designer, lab and technical support, loan underwriter, and among others. She had worked in higher education for a little over 9 years now. She is highly skilled in student and faculty services and support, IT, web design, curriculum and course design, instructional systems and design, technology integration and implementation in a course. She enjoys collaborating with faculty about course designs and technology integration that makes learning engaging and fun.

Extended Abstract

The topic for this proposal is the “Use of Social Media for Active Learning and Student Engagement”. The intended audience is educators, instructional designers, instructional technologist, instructional support and staff, design innovators, students of online learning, innovators, instructional trainers, researchers, and anyone interested in finding out how to use social media in their courses to promote engagement and provide an area for active learning.

The purpose is to present, discuss, and give the audience/learners the steps necessary to set-up and how to use social media in their online courses. There will be an interactive question and answer, demonstration of the steps, quick exercise for learners to do to learn the process.

At the end of the session, the learners will

  • Learn how to incorporate social media into their online or face to face courses.
  • Express interest in using social media to promote engagement and active learning in their course.
  • Implement social media as their new technology in the courses.

In order to incorporate social media sites or application, media sharing and collaborative sites in education one must know what is the extent of the knowledge of the users (educators and student). There is no doubt that student at this time is more tech-savvy compared to educators.

Although according to a research by Moran, Seaman, and Tinti-Kane (2011) the awareness and usage vary greatly. There is not much difference between the awareness for age group or length of teaching. However, the level of usage has a big difference. Those who have been teaching for more than 20 years are less likely to use Social Media compare to those who are new in teaching. More experienced and older faculty doesn’t seem to see the same level of usefulness as do younger educators. With that in mind, incorporating social media, media sharing and collaborative tools or sites in education can be challenging. But with the right attitude, support and training, an educator can have an ease of use and successful integration.

The presence of social media in higher education is increasing as educator and innovators find ways to incorporate technology to engage the student and enhance active learning in different learning delivery (face to face, hybrid, blended, and fully online courses). “Social media has gained credibility over the years as a trusted source of information and platform where organizations can interact with audiences.” (Dlamini, n.d.) According to Dlamini, “education institutions [are] adapting these [new] developments into their systems and [utilizing] group resources and mechanisms to improve the student life. The use of social media in education provides the student the ability to get more useful information, to connect with learning groups and other educational systems that make education convenient.” There are many substantial benefits you can take from social media when used correctly. Some of these are:

  • Through the use of social media, one can broaden their perspective on various subjects and topic.

  • There is a great opportunity in engaging experts to find answers on topics you might need help with. One of the great thing about using social media is that experts use the platform as well. Once you learn the experts in different fields, you can start following them and gain useful insights, which you can use to produce great results in your project whatever you are working at the moment.

  • Another great thing about social network tools is it gives the student and institutions vast amount of opportunities to improve learning methods. These networks provide an area for sharing and interaction by only using plugins.

  • Social media can help in the research process. It is one of the best platforms to gather and extract data. You can find out how the majority of people think about a particular topic or how experts perceive specific issues. It offers the audience and the tool a student needs to accomplish its goal. “It can also help student compile and produce useful content for research. Whether students are working on an assignment, working on a project or trying to gain more insight on a subject, some of the best information and results can be extracted from social media (Dlamini, n.d.).

  • Using social media, the student can build credibility by building their online portfolio. Sharing projects and works while they are still in school.

Universities and colleges now turn to social media to connect with students. Many have their own social media accounts, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube account. These media are being utilized to deliver campus news, announcements, and provide students with any type of useful communication. In turn, it builds engagement between students and the institutions.

Although social media is used widely, there are still some arguments among scholar and researchers about the validity of using social media in education. It is still perceived not effective due to lack of research and study (perhaps data were only gathered through survey and questionnaires), that the use of social media will be successful. There are no definitive findings to how much impact and to what extent of social media can actually help in the learning process. On the other hand, the use of media sharing tools and sites such as Google tools and YouTube has been skyrocketing in use. A lot of educator uses YouTube to supplement their teaching with videos. It can be used to published or share videos that will inspire students and help them in their courses. Faculties are using Google Docs for face-to-face and online collaboration. Instead of discussion inside the Learning Management System (LMS) educators are exploring the possibilities of using Twitter to promote better engagements. LinkedIn can now be used as an alternative to a resume. The student can better promote themselves using LinkedIn because companies are just a click away.

Media sharing tools and sites like Google tools (google docs, slides, sheets, and forms) is being utilized not just for education but a lot of technology-driven department and workplace uses it. Google docs is a great way to start collaboration in a classroom. Users only need a Google account (most users will more than likely have the Gmail account already) and the educator can give access to the documents. When a student is presenting a project, there is no need to bring a USB drive. All they need is to log in to their Google account and access their PowerPoint presentation. Needing to send out a survey for research? A student can utilize Google forms to set up a questionnaire and integrate with Google sheet to manage the responses and analyze the data for reports.

These tools are widely used whether in the right way or not. And since they are already being used in education, why not provide our educator a resource to better equip them on how to use these tools properly and how to better incorporate them into their online courses. With the right design of tutorials and modules, specific learning objectives and outcomes, the right questions to assess the validity and effectiveness, the integration and ease of use of these technologies will be a breeze.

The future of social media, media sharing, and collaborative tools/sites are already here and there is no turning back. It has the power to connect different types of learners and educators. The power of these tools is massive especially if used and integrated correctly.

This presentation is just a small portion of the different social media I have put together in a course. The course link in Canvas will be provided to the participant. They can register for the course after the presentation and will be able to complete the rest of the activities. Infographics and handouts will be provided as well as the availability of the presentation slides will be available.