Social Media and Pandemic Pedagogy

Image by Thomas Ulrich from Pixabay

Social media academic communities are now well-established hubs of information focused on research, teaching and professional development. The onset of COVID-19 demonstrated just how valuable social media is to the higher education community, as these online tools and communities aided instructors in transforming traditional instruction for emergency remote teaching. Almost a year later, these communities continue to offer pedagogical, professional and personal support.

Join the Pandemic Pedagogy Conversation

The Pandemic Pedagogy Facebook group created by Professor Roy Schwartzman at UNC Greensboro has over 30,000 members. The group’s purpose is to bring together, “Educators, students, and others to share insights, best (and worst) practices, advice, successes, challenges, and research about converting to fully remote/online instruction during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.” More discipline-specific groups such as Pandemic Pedagogy: Law Teaching in a Time of COVID-19 and Pandemic Pedagogy for Visual Arts Professors have also been established for more focused discussion.

Twitter has also been a means to share and develop resources. For instance, Aimi Hamraie’s important resource “Accessible Teaching in the Time of COVID-19” originally began as a Twitter thread that invited further conversation. Using hashtags such as #PandemicPedagogy or #COVEdStories (implemented by the Learning, Design and Technology Georgetown team to chronicle pandemic pedagogy stories), has allowed educators to share their experiences and ask for advice.

On Twitter, many active educators hold field-related pedagogy-focused conversations and professional organizations (such as POD Network) and teaching and learning centers share resources and virtual events. Following scholars and organizations aligned with your research and teaching interests — and sharing your own resources and experiences — can not only be beneficial to your pedagogy, but help you form a community outside Duke.

You can follow Learning Innovation on Facebook and Twitter for Duke-specific teaching resources, notifications for virtual events and further pedagogical and technology suggestions. 

Other social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Google Groups host similar conversations. The Professional and Organizational Developmental Network in Higher Education, for example, has a Google Group open to its members and other interested parties dedicated to the “meaningful exchange of information and ideas.”

Take some time to explore! The conversations across platforms are rich, invigorating and a way to reflect on your own teaching. You may even want to integrate social media into your courses.

Social Media Pedagogy

Integrating social media into your classroom can be a rewarding experience for you and your students. Particularly, if you’re teaching an online or hybrid course, creating digital assignments that align with your learning objectives can enhance student learning by connecting it directly to the delivery medium.

You can read some examples of how instructors have incorporated social media into their classrooms:

Instructors have also found creative ways to use social media to supplement the face-to-face experience. For example, Professor Elizabeth Ann Pollard has written about how she used Twitter to build connections in her large lecture in “Tweeting on the Backchannel of the Jumbo-Sized Lecture Hall: Maximizing Collective Learning in a World History Survey.”

If you use social media with your students, be sure to clarify your assignment expectations. The University of Wisconsin-Stout has developed a resource with model rubrics, including social media assignments, that can help you get started. 

If you would like to explore integrating social media into your courses, you can contact Learning Innovation at learninginnovation@duke.edu or visit us in our open office hours every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 1-3 p.m. EST at duke.zoom.us/my/dukelearninginnovation

As you use social media, please remember to follow Duke policies. Keep in mind that while many benefits come from social media, there are also risks.