Faculty, administrators hop on the social bandwagon
Many college administrators and instructors are moving towards using social networking sites to reach out to the student body.
Faculty Focus, an online resource for college instructors, surveyed more than 1,000 faculty members across the nation. According to the results, Twitter use among faculty members increased 30 percent from 2009.
The survey does not specify whether the use of Twitter is personal or professional, but many UH professors admit to the use of these websites.
Chemistry professor Simon Bott said he found Facebook to be a great means of communication when he formed his first group on the social networking site.
“We needed lots of support for Prop 4, so I started the group ‘UH for Tier 1’ on Facebook,” Bott said. “That group had over 12,000 members really quickly.”
Since then, Bott has created other groups on Facebook to gather support for various UH projects.
Many colleges, organizations, and even administrative offices at UH have also turned to Twitter and Facebook to reach out to students, alumni and even faculty and staff members.
UH President Renu Khator regularly posts updates for more than 1,500 followers on Twitter, while UH football coach Kevin Sumlin has more than 2,000 followers tracking updates on the team.
Bott interacts with students by creating bonus quizzes and uploading notes and images related to lessons onto groups created in Facebook.
Due to the complexity of Facebook and large classroom sizes, Bott has limited its use in the classroom to only his summer courses.
“I just use it for extra communication because these days only 60 or 65 percent of students think of e-mail as their primary means to electronic communication,” he said.
Kinesiology senior Juwairia Siddiqi said she doesn’t like that these new features have become a part of the teaching curriculum.
“Students that don’t have Facebook would be at a disadvantage,” Siddiqi said. “A fair way to communicate with students is through something that all students have access to.”
Bott said Facebook is not an alternative to email.
“The University still has email as its official means of communicating,” he said.