New Survey: College Faculty Increasingly Use Social Media for Teaching and in Professional, Personal lives

A new report from the Babson Survey Research Group and Pearson finds that college faculty members have become sophisticated consumers of social media, matching different sites to their varying personal, professional, and teaching needs — yet obstacles to wider adoption still remain. The survey results will be presented during Pearson’s “Social Media for Teaching and Learning” event today in Boston at The Museum of Science from 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

The annual survey of nearly 8,000 teaching faculty — from all disciplines in higher education and selected to be representative of the overall range of faculty teaching in U.S. higher education — examined both the personal and professional impacts of social media.

Key findings of the survey include:

  • The level of personal use of social media among faculty (70.3 percent) mirrors that of the general population
  • 55 percent of faculty use social media in a professional context (any aspect of their profession outside of teaching), up from 44.7 percent last year
  • Only 41 percent of faculty use social media in the classroom, but this use continues to experience steady year-to-year growth
  • Faculty are sophisticated consumers of social media. They match different sites to their varying personal, professional, and teaching needs
  • Concerns remain about privacy, maintaining the class as a private space for free and open discussion, and the integrity of student submissions
  • Most faculty agree that “the interactive nature of online and mobile technologies create better learning environments” and that digital communication has increased communication with students
  • Faculty believe that online and mobile technologies can be distracting, and that they have resulted in longer working hours and more stress

“Faculty are not only expanding their use of social media, but also becoming more sophisticated in their use,” said Jeff Seaman, Ph.D., co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group. “We see steady growth in adoption year over year; however, there are still great concerns that we hear from every age group, and that holds educators back from full adoption in their teaching.”

The conclusion that faculty members have not widely embraced social media for teaching purposes remains; they continue to have many concerns. The results for 2013 show the same two concerns topping the list as were noted for both 2011 and 2012 — privacy and the integrity of student submissions. However, each year more educators are finding that social technologies can provide new opportunities to engage learners, and are discovering impactful strategies for using them in face-to-face, blended and online classrooms.

“The more we know about effective uses of technologies for teaching and learning, the faster we can adopt these new practices, facilitate their proliferation across higher education, and increase student success,” said Hester Tinti-Kane, Vice President of Marketing and Social Media Strategy, Pearson. “Pearson conducts this research to help us better understand the use of social media for teaching, so we’re able to incorporate more effective social capabilities across our learning technologies, providing students with a better learning experience.”

Pearson has added a series of case studies to its social media for teaching and learning research to uncover innovative strategies for use in higher education courses today. Find them on Pearson’s Teaching and Learning Blog at

The complete report and infographic for the 2013 survey, “Social Media for Teaching and Learning”, are available at The report is also available in multiple eBook formats.

About Pearson

Pearson is the world’s leading learning company, providing educational materials and services and business information through the Financial Times Group. Pearson serves learners of all ages around the globe, employing 41,000 people in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit

About Babson Survey Research Group

The Babson Survey Research Group at Babson College conducts regional, national and international research projects, including survey design, sampling methodology, data integrity, statistical analyses and reporting.

Media Contact: Susan Aspey, susan.aspey(at)pearson(dot)com or 800-745-8489