On one of the first days of my graduate course on student development theory, our professor told us that we would have to work hard in her class. She challenged us to move beyond just reading and memorizing. We were expected to dig deep, really look at and review these theories — successful application and use of these theories would depend on our ability to understand them inside and out. “You will not,” she told us, “be getting a Chickering Seven button upon completion of this course to prove that you have learned something.”
Over the years, I have used a few different methods of social media to keep in contact with my students, and even my supervisors. I have been impressed with how easy communicating with students has been for me while using these platforms.
Want to know what students are talking about today? Read a twitter feed, and then respond to your students. Curious about which clubs and student organizations are having success, become a Facebook fan, and then visit their page again (and again).
As this great article on rules for social media by Aliza Sherman tells us, “the real energy, spirit and power of social media is people.” We do our best work when we are active parts of the community we want to serve.
Students know when we are not fully engaged. They see it on our faces, in the moments when our doors are pushed closed a little further, or when we don’t slow down to ask about their day. The use of social media is no different. Students are ready to call us out. Challenging us to really understand and utilize the platforms for what they can do. They are using social media to let us know what they think, and they are waiting for us to show them that we are listening (and watching, and reading).
C’mon everyone, let’s do what we do best, be the energy, spirit, and power of higher education.