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Faculty Apparently Use Social Media

2010 May 6

Inside Higher Ed discusses the results found by a survey conducted by Pearson on faculty use of social media.  The results are pretty surprising.

  • 80% of faculty have social media accounts.
  • About 32% use social media to talk to other educators.
  • About 30% use social media to talk to students.
  • The adoption rate for social media by faculty that teach online classes is only slightly greater than the adoption rate for faculty in traditional settings (by 10% or so).
  • There are relatively few differences by area (comparing business, hard sciences, and humanities and social sciences).
  • 96% of faculty have heard of Facebook.  Which makes me wonder who the other 4% are.
  • Roughly 70% of faculty believe video, podcasts, wikis and blogs are useful teaching tools.

You can find the presentation of all this information here.  There are some methodological concerns – a random sample of 10,000 Pearson customers were sent survey invitations, and only about 10% responded.  It is quite likely that this biased these results toward social media – after all, the faculty most likely not to use social media are also the most likely not to check their e-mail and take online surveys.

At the least though, it does show that there’s at least a fair share of faculty who do see the value in these new technologies.  That’s promising, especially since my lab is launching the first large-scale quantitative examination of social media in teaching next Monday.  If it works, at least we’ll have an audience!

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