Thursday, June 24, 2010

AEJMC: Social Media in the Classroom: Social Media in the Classroom: Tips from a Millennial Professor

I submitted this entry as part of the AEJMC social media competition:
AEJMC: Social Media in the Classroom: Social Media in the Classroom: Tips from a Millennial Professor

As a professor from the millennial generation, I hold social media to a high regard in my undergraduate communication classrooms. To incorporate social media in the “Foundations for Speech Communication”, “Organizational Communication”, and “Interpersonal Communication” courses (averaging 25 students), I combined my efforts to create opportunities for different classes to interact with one another (and the campus) through social media. To reach the students in my online and face-to-face classes, I decided to incorporate Twitter and Youtube as experiential activities.

Twitter Embedded in Blackboard
On our campus, we use Blackboard as a content management system for online and hybrid classes. Recently, I discovered that I could embed widgets (java application) into the main course page. I added my professional twitter account username [name of account] to the widget and this enabled my students to remain abreast of course updates and to have more of a social presence with their professor. In addition, the students had the option to follow me on twitter [@accountname] to ask quick questions and to provide short updates on their daily life.

YouTube - “Go Green or to Not Go Green” Speech Contest

During the last week of April 2010, I worked with another professor in the communication studies department to create [name of university]’s first virtual “To Go Green, or to Not Go Green” Speech Contest on YouTube. After delivering their last speech of the semester, outstanding students from the introductory communication course were encouraged by their peers to enter the Youtube contest. Four finalists’ speeches (three females and one male) were uploaded on Youtube and the campus and surrounding community were invited to vote on the top speech for the week. This social media-based contest was a true success and it resulted in slightly over 5,000 votes (via Google Documents - forms feature) over a five-day period.

Twitter - “To Go Green or to Not Go Green” Five-Day Interactive Activity
This week also featured a five-day interactive activity on Twitter (@departmentaccount). This activity was offered as an extra credit assignment to each of the three classes (and the campus). To obtain the extra credit, participants were required to post responses to four of the five daily questions. These questions were:
-DepartmentAccount #2GOGREEN2NOT What is your favorite commercial (on television OR Youtube) related to the GO GREEN movement? Post a link! :)
-DepartmentAccount #GOGREEN2NOT - Question of the Day: What is your favorite company AND what does this company do to GO GREEN?
-DepartmentAccount #2GOGREEN2NOT - Today's Question - What did YOU do to go GREEN yesterday (Tuesday)?
-DepartmentAccount #2GOGREEN2NOT - Thursday's Question - Calculate your carbon footprint ( and post your reaction to it.
-DepartmentAccount #2GOGREEN2NOT - Friday's Question - What is your evaluation of [Name of University] Green Week? What could we do to make it better next year?

Slightly under 30 students participated in the activity and their comments were posted (and forwarded) through the Hootsuite website. This activity enabled the students to become familiar with a social media that most of them have not used before and the students were able to build relationships with other classes. A similar activity was offered during the past semesters (Spring 2008 - Fall 2009) and most participants in prior semesters continue to interact with their peers and their professor through Twitter when the semester finishes.

Digital Dirt Presentation - Social Disclosure Intervention
To help students realize the potential implications of their social media profiles on their future job search, I formed a partnership with the Career Services Office to develop the “Digital Dirt” presentation. When we discuss social disclosure during the semester, the Career Services facilitators deliver the presentation for my classes. I administer a pre-test and post-test to see if the students’ perceptions of digital social disclosure change before and after the “Digital Dirt” intervention. Usually, the students’ perceptions change in four of the six categories on the assessment.

Overall, I enjoy incorporating social media in each of my classes. These classroom-based social media activities enable students to become familiar with a technology that prepare them for their future career.

Additional Readings:
Dunlap, J. C., & Lowenthal, P. R. (2009). Tweeting the night away: Using twitter to enhance social presence. Journal of Information Systems Education, 20(2), 129-135.
[Name of Author]. (2010, March). Twitter as an extension of the classroom. Academic Exchange Quarterly – Editor’s Choice Edition, 14(1), 35-40.
McFedries, P. (2009). Twitter: Tips, tricks, and tweets. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing, Inc.
Young, J. (2008). A professor’s tips for using Twitter in the classroom. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from

Millennial Professor, Dr. Jennifer T. Edwards


  1. Great ideas! I am working with our campus communication club on a similar idea of video speech competition using Youtube and love the concepts you describe to link such an event to all classes and through Twitter. Thanks!

  2. Thanks Lora! It was a fun event that involved the entire campus and local businesses!


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