FERPA is one of the most misunderstood regulations in education. It is commonly assumed that FERPA requires all student coursework to be kept private at all times, and thus prevents the use of social media in the classroom, but this is wrong. FERPA does not prevent instructors from assigning students to create public content as part of their course requirements. If it did, then video documentaries produced in a communications class and shown on TV or the Web, or public art shows of student work from an art class, would be illegal. As one higher education lawyer put it:
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
social media campus trends
George Stanton, a professor emeritus of biology, recently expressed his disappointment with student response to social media elements in classes. He pointed out that students were less than active in using the tools, meanwhile a recent survey of first-year students at his institution found that the number one expectation for class was “to be entertained.”
Results of our second annual survey on Twitter usage and trends in higher education are now available. The survey of nearly 1,400 college faculty members found that more than a third (35.2 percent) of the 1,372 respondents use Twitter in some capacity. That’s an increase from 30.7 percent in 2009.
Many people take it on faith that online education must be run through a learning management system (LMS) like Blackboard, Angel, etc. Those systems were originally designed to allow faculty to move their courses online without having to learn HTML coding. They provided all of the tools needed to deliver an online course in one package.
College students who abstained from using media for 24 hours describe their feelings in terms more commonly associated with drug and alcohol addictions: In withdrawal, Frantically craving, Very anxious, Extremely antsy, Miserable, Jittery, Crazy.
A survey developed to determine how many college faculty are using social media, and in what capacity, found widespread awareness of social networks, but faculty are more likely to use social networking tools for personal use than in the classroom.
If you want to start a lively debate with your colleagues, just say one word: Facebook. You’re likely to hear many different arguments and at some point someone will declare that if students would spend less time on Facebook and other social networking sites they’d get better grades. Maybe, maybe not.