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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    More uses of social media should be explored at UA

    Social media has a tremendous ability to not only serve as a way for friends to stay in touch, but also to connect students with instructors and future employers. This potential to enhance learning and aid students in their job hunts should be explored by more professors at the UA.

    The NASPA Technology Knowledge Community leadership team, an association of student affairs in higher education, conducted a survey of social media usage in student affairs this year.

    This team surveyed 315 people, including graduate students, new professionals, mid-managers, faculty members and others.

    It comes as no surprise that the vast majority of respondents reported using social media at home and for personal use, with 96 percent using Facebook at home and 82 percent using Twitter.

    However, those surveyed were all either in a professional workplace or far along in their education, and should also know how to use social media in a more professional manner.

    Yet the percentage of respondents who reported using social media sites for professional reasons was much lower: 71 percent for Facebook, 63 percent for Twitter and 49 percent for Youtube.

    These numbers are respectable, but it’s important for students to experience the professional uses of social media while in college.

    Some instructors at the UA are incorporating social media sites in the classroom, a positive trend that should be expanded.

    One such instructor is Jessica Zeitler-Kozak, an adjunct instructor with the Spanish Department, who requires students to upload video blogs to a private Facebook page.

    “It engages students,” Zeitler-Kozak said. “They get more involved in the class.”

    Social media is being used more and more often in student affairs and in the workplace, as it should be.

    Paul Renigar, a graduate student with the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching program, focuses his research on the use of social media in student affairs.

    “Students are able to practice education outside of the classroom,” Renigar said. “Why not harness that potential?”

    Students learn more in a shorter time span from discussing topics on Facebook and collaborating with colleagues than they would from reading a chapter out of the textbook, Renigar said in his findings.

    “Students are no longer separating enjoyment from learning,” Renigar said in an email, “and the two often go hand-in-hand.”
    Social media skills learned in college can be translated into a resume booster down the line.

    “Employers will look at those avenues,” said Susan Miller-Pinhey, marketing and special events manager for UA Career Services.

    Michael McKisson, an assistant professor in the School of Journalism, has been teaching students to use Twitter in a professional manner in the class for four years. While students know how to use social media, “they may not be using it in a way that’s beneficial to them in their careers,” McKisson explained.

    Social media integration within the classroom can teach students how to utilize these sites in a professional manner, which will benefit them as they head out into the workforce.

    For those growing up in this generation, the Internet has become a second language. Using social media sites for entertainment or creative expression is the norm, but putting those social media skills on a resume can give students an edge over the competition.

    Ashley T. Powell is a journalism senior. Follow her @ashleytaylar.

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