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8 in 10 Faculty Members Use Social Media

Faculty members in higher education may be more technologically connected than previously assumed. According to a survey put out this week, a little more than 80 percent of them are social media users.

The survey of nearly 1,000 faculty (online, traditional, and blended) found that about 80 percent have social media accounts, and 30 percent use social media to connect with students. Further, about a third use social media tools to communicate with their colleagues.

One survey participant, Maria Claver, assistant professor of Gerontology at California State University, Long Beach, said that social media has a crucial role to play in education.

"Educators have a responsibility to broaden the perspective of their students, regardless of the content matter," Claver said in a prepared statement. "Without the inclusion of social media in our hybrid course, we would not be able to both expose students to aging issues around the world and provide students with a forum in which they can learn about global aging issues by partnering with gerontology faculty from other countries."

The survey, Pearson Social Media Survey 2010, was conducted by Babson Survey Research Group with New Marketing Labs and education technology provider Pearson. It involved a random sample of 10,000 Pearson customers, of which 939 participated.

According to the survey, those who teach online are slightly further ahead of their colleagues who teach in traditional classroom settings, though not by far. About 85 percent of those who teach online have an account with a social media outlet, about seven or eight points higher than their colleagues working in traditional settings.

Facebook is the most popular among all faculty, with 60 percent having accounts. YouTube and Skype each came in at a little more than 40 percent, followed by LinkedIn at roughly 35 percent and Twitter at about 17 percent.

In terms of actual classroom use of social media, about 45 percent of faculty members indicated they use streaming media or podcasts in class, followed by reading blogs and wikis, at about 21 percent. Creating streaming media and podcasts, commenting on blogs and wikis, and publishing blogs and wikis were also cited as classroom uses of social media for some, hovering between about 10 percent and 13 percent each.

Further information about the survey, including methodology and additional results, can be found here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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