Using social media in higher education teaching


My new job as Faculty Liaison Librarian at Newcastle University has made me think more about the use of social media in the Higher Education setting, especially with its use in teaching and research.

Some academics may still view social media as a distraction rather than seeing it as a valuable tool to reach out to their students.  However, platforms such as Twitter and Facebook can be harnessed by lecturers to create a more challenging and stimulating learning environment on a level that the students are happy and familiar with.

You might already have an idea how you want to use a particular platform in your teaching, or you maybe you know you want to use social media, but you don’t know which platform and how you want to use it!  First you should go through our adapted checklist, which is aimed at those teaching in higher education.  This will get you asking what you are wanting to do with the platform? If you want to share updates, then maybe Twitter would be best, or if you want to use it as an information source, then maybe a blog would be ideal, and so on:

Social Media checklist: higher education teaching

This article from Open Colleges gives a good breakdown of 25 of the main social media platforms and why you would use them: 25 Awesome Social Media Tools for Education.

Remember you need to plan HOW you are going to use your social media… leaping in without a plan is setting yourself up to failure.  Have a look are our previous blog posts on strategic planning to get you going:

Why do you need a social media policy?

Why do you need a social media strategy?

The importance of being organised

Here are some examples of using Twitter in teaching:

University of Nottingham use of Twitter for one of their Business modules

UCL Chemistry module on Twitter

UEA Chemistry module on Twitter

Twitter’s not literature, but it can be a novel teaching tool

Using Twitter in university learning

60 Inspiring Examples of Twitter in the Classroom

Here are also some articles to read more about using social media in teaching:

One in four students uses social media to contact university staff

Universities should use Twitter to engage with students

Using Twitter in university research, teaching, and impact activities

8 Kinds of Social Media Personalities: Which Are You?

If you are interested in reaching out and contacting other academics that are using social media, here’s a great list of the top 50 users in the UK:

UK higher education social media influencers named

Don’t forget to have a look at the top 100 online tools to give you ideas on what platform you want to use:

 Top 200 Tools for Learning 2016: Overview

Do you use social media in your teaching? If so, share with us what you use and how you use it.


2 thoughts on “Using social media in higher education teaching

  1. Great post Lorna and really useful for the current paper I am doing at Open Polytechnic on Applying e-learning opportunities. Many thanks.


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