Social Media and Education: effects of connectivity on college campuses

January 12, 2017






News Editor | kjk019@latech.edu


Part two of a four-part series on the
effects of social media on society



The world of sharing ideas via social media is just a few swipes and taps away for college students, thanks to smartphones and other similar technology.



With this technology in mind, administrators and students at Louisiana Tech said the adaptation and incorporation of conscientiousness on social media into campus life is important.



Jim King, vice president for student advancement at Tech, said recent advances in communication brought many positive aspects but also a host of challenges to campuses. He said access to social media increased the need for students to use their judgment when deciding what aspects of their lives to share.



“As it relates to student conduct, I guess the bottom line is, as an institution, we certainly support our ability to share and express ideas, but we are responsible for the messages and the content of what we send,” he said.



King said the changes in communication process called for greater awareness.



“I think in a lot of ways, not just on campuses, but society in general, we are quickly losing our civility,” King said. “We have to strengthen our ability to discern fact from fiction. In other words, we need to better understand the source of our information.”



Stacy Gilbert, assistant dean of student development at Tech, said teaching the ability to judge news from a variety of sources was a key piece in the new First Year Experience classes, which all freshmen now take. She said the class included seven intended learning outcomes for students.



“Two of those student learning outcomes directly address social media and discernment in media,” she said. “So, that looks a little bit different in every course in the way that it’s addressed, but it’s really about being discerning.”



Gilbert said although media venues such as Snapchat and Facebook created some difficulties, it was important to be connected to them.



“It can come with some challenges, but it can be so powerful, and it’s where our students are,” she said.



Gilbert said students’ potential habit of only taking in small snippets of information as opposed to more in-depth looks could have an impact on their learning.



“I think it’s harder for students to understand that it’s important to stay focused in a lecture or in a class for a certain period of time,” she said.



Molly Williams, a junior elementary education major, said social media, from Facebook to Snapchat, could affect campus life and learning.



“I can definitely see a lot of negatives coming from it because one thing is, at least that I have a problem with is, instead of focusing on my work, I might be scrolling through social media,” she said. “So it can be really distracting as far as college goes.”



Williams said although she saw some benefits to certain forms of media, it needed to be used wisely.



“I feel like it’s healthy for people to take breaks from social media,” she said. “I feel like it would be good for people to take breaks from it and realize they don’t need to broadcast every single thing they do to the public.”


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