I got the feeling I wasn’t in Kansas anymore when the students in my social medial marketing course form a closed group on Facebook and then decided whether or not to invite me to become a member. And I knew I wasn’t in Kansas when one of the students in my digital marketing course asked, “What’s the hashtag for this class?” So, where was I? I was in New Jersey. I teach one of the classes in the Rutgers Mini-MBA: Social Media Marketing course and two of the classes in the Rutgers Mini-MBA: Digital Marketing course. And I was delighted that the Rutgers Center for Management Development (CMD) provides each student in these courses with instructional materials and business case studies pre-loaded on a new Apple iPad 2. But I didn’t realize just how dramatically this would change teaching as well as learning. According to a report published in April 2011 by Pearson Learning Solutions, the Babson Survey Research Group, and Converseon, faculty are big users of and believers in social media.
Mike Moran, Chief Strategist of Converseon and one of the authors of the report, “Teaching, Learning, and Sharing: How Today’s Higher Education Faculty Use Social Media,” also teaches in the Rutgers Mini-MBA program. According to a survey of 1,920 faculty teaching in U.S. higher education, over 90 percent of all faculty are using social media in courses they’re teaching or for their professional careers outside the classroom. Nearly two-thirds of all faculty have used social media during a class session, and 30 percent have posted content for students to view or read outside class. Over 40 percent of faculty have required students to read or view social media as part of a course assignment, and 20 percent have assigned students to comment on or post to social media sites. Online video is by far the most common type of social media used in class, posted outside class, or assigned to students to view, with 80 percent of faculty reporting some form of class use of online video. A study by The University of British Columbia (UBC), which was published May 12, 2011, in Science, found that interactive teaching methods significantly improved attendance and doubled both engagement and learning in a large physics class.
The study compared the amount of learning students experienced when taught by traditional lecture and by using interactive activities. The research team found that students in the interactive class were nearly twice as engaged as their counterparts in the traditional class. Students from the experimental class uniformly scored nearly twice as well in a test designed to determine their grasp of complex physics concepts. During the experiment, attendance in the interactive class also increased by 20 percent. “In addition to the objective measurements of engagement, attendance and test scores, we also surveyed students and found that these teaching methods generated a lot of excitement in class – which makes for a great learning environment,” says Deslauriers, a post-doctoral researcher at UBC and lead author of the study. And using the iPad in the classroom transforms the professor’s role from “Sage on the Stage” to “Guide on the Side.” For example, I opened one of my classes this spring by presenting “Social Media For All: How Social Media Changed Small Business Marketing.”
The YouTube video was created in January 2011 by Justin Leshynski, the Vice President of Davanti Digital Media, after he took the Rutgers Mini MBA: Social Media Marketing course in December 2010. When the video ended, I was ready to make a few observations about the video and move to the next part of my presentation. But armed with their iPad 2s, the students in the class were ready to share comments about the video with each other as well as share the video with their family, friends and colleagues outside the classroom. I keep forgetting I’m not in Kansas! And since any YouTube video’s success depends on receiving referrals from Twitter, being embedded in blogs and Facebook, and getting views from mobile devices, it seemed like a good time for me to get off the stage and step over to the side of the classroom during the discussion. It was a teachable moment. Greg Jarboe is the president and co-founder of SEO-PR, the author of YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day, and a member of faculty at Rutgers CMD.