Social Media Usage Trends Among Higher Education Faculty

The popularity of social media and its rapid ascension into our daily lives is nothing short of astounding. Sites that weren’t even around 10 years ago are now visited every day. What’s more, 56 percent of the faculty surveyed said they expect their use of social media to increase this school year.

Do you friend your students on Facebook?

Do you tweet, or use Twitter in the classroom?

Do you network on LinkedIn, and participate in its groups?

Does your college or university have a social media policy?

For the past two years, Faculty Focus conducted a survey on Twitter usage in higher education. This year we expanded the survey to include Facebook and LinkedIn, while adding a number of new questions as well.

Social Media Usage Trends Among Higher Education Faculty

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all have their strengths and weaknesses, and each are better used for some things than others. But how are the three being used in higher education today? It’s our hope that these survey results provide at least some of the answers while lending new data to the discussion.

Here are just some of the findings from Social Media Usage Trends Among Higher Education Faculty, a 2011 Faculty Focus survey of nearly 900 higher education professionals:

  • Facebook is the most popular social media site for the people who took this survey. Nearly 85 percent have a Facebook account, following by LinkedIn at approximately 67 percent and Twitter at around 50 percent.
  • Thirty-two percent have “friended” an undergraduate student on Facebook; 55 percent said they wait until after the student graduates.
  • Eighty-three percent allow students to use laptops in the classroom; 52 percent allow smart phones.
  • Thirty percent said their institution doesn’t have a social media policy. About 40 percent weren’t sure.
  • Sixty-eight percent have talked to their students about managing their online reputation.

Survey finds faculty divided on social media in the classroom

Social Media Usage Trends Among Higher Education Faculty includes a complete breakdown of all the questions asked in the survey, as well as narrative comments. In many cases, the comments show a great divide between those who have embraced social media, and those who have not.

Here are just some of the comments, in their own words:

I am quite sure that students are learning less and less because they are distracted by Facebook (primarily) when they should be engaged in the class.

A concern that I have is that some students use social media inappropriately with faculty…e.g. too friendly and exposing personal matters…

I’m a senior faculty member and it took me time to get over my resistance…now, I wouldn’t be without these tools for professional and personal use.

Ever since we adopted the use of social media we’ve had better communication with students and the community. We also use it as an assessment and planning tool. We are using Twitter for an entire program.

I hope that more instructors learn the value/opportunity in using these tools for learning – especially when instructors often use these tools for their own learning.

It is very risky for a professional educator to use social media as a learning tool.

Join the Faculty Focus community for full access to all our special reports!

Faculty Focus contains a wealth of valuable material on all of the key issues that matter to today’s top faculty and administrators. It’s packed with strategies, tips, and other information you can use on the topics that impact your students, your school, and your work, including:

  • Student Engagement
  • Instructional Design
  • Online Education
  • Classroom Management
  • Educational Assessment
  • Teaching with Technology
  • Faculty Development
  • Curriculum Development
  • Trends in Higher Education
  • And much, much more.