Using Twitter and Facebook as information providers in HE

As someone who uses Social Media for Science Communication, and now teaching (see previous posts for details), I’ve been wondering about the effectiveness of Twitter and Facebook to pass on information to my students, such as timetable changes, coursework reminders etc.

We have a Twitter account for Chemistry at Keele (@keelechem), and some students follow my personal account, but by no means all. Thus information passed on in this way will not reach all the intended recipients. Possibly a Facebook page is a better solution because anyone can visit it, and they just have to ‘like’ it to get updates. With my teaching page I put timetable information there as well as links to teaching material, but that’s just for my teaching. Perhaps a Chemistry Teaching Page would be worth setting up? I would be interested to hear if anyone else is trying something like this. In the meantime my Teaching Pages seem to be appreciated by the classes I’m taking, but these are still early times!


2 thoughts on “Using Twitter and Facebook as information providers in HE”

  1. Many universities have invested in Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) which provide hubs for learning and teaching. Have you looked at any of these?

    I used to use one of these for coordinating pretty much everything relating to courses (calendars, comms, setting and marking assignments, preparing and sharing course materials, etc) and whilst not without flaws was certainly very helpful. And offered more useful functionality than eg a facebook page.

    I would think such VLEs can be hooked up to other social media platforms (eg Twitter or FB via eg RSS) so you can get the best of all worlds.

    1. I have partly addressed this in a follow up post this morning, but essentially I don’t think VLEs are user-friendly enough at the moment. For one thing, you have to login to use them, which is fair enough if you want to access course material, but a pain if all you want to do is get some information about your timetable or assessment deadlines. And they don’t (yet) have portable versions. Students can access my teaching pages from their mobiles, and immediately access information. We have BB9, and it is fine if you are have a laptop and good internet access (WiFi preferably), but that may not be the case if you are travelling, or need to find something out quickly. I haven’t investigated if BB9 can be hooked up to Twitter/FB; I’ll look into it but I would be surprised, as it isn’t consistent with their lock-down approach!

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