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#Teaching: Survey Finds Profs Use of Social Media Increasing

College faculty have evolved their use of social media for professional, personal and instructional use, with a decrease in concerns around the value and amount of time spent using social media, according to a new report from the Babson Survey Research Group. The annual survey of nearly 4,000 teaching faculty from all disciplines in higher education, representing U.S. higher education professors, examined both the personal and professional impacts of social media.

Key findings of the survey include:

•  64.4 percent of faculty use social media for their personal lives, 33.8 percent use it for teaching

•  41 percent for those under age 35 compared to 30 percent for those over age 55 reported using social media in their teaching

•  Faculty in the Humanities and Arts, Professions and Applied Sciences, and the Social Sciences use social media at higher rates than those in Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science

•  Blogs and wikis are preferred for teaching, while Facebook or LinkedIn are used more for social and professional connections

•  88 percent of faculty, regardless of discipline, reported using online video in the classroom

“Faculty are clearly becoming more comfortable leveraging social media in their personal, professional and instructional lives,” said Jeff Seaman, Ph.D., co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group. “Social media is no longer seen as time-consuming to learn and use, which shows that faculty are more proficient and better acquainted with the social media tools available to them.”

While there continue to be barriers to widespread adoption of social media for teaching, the study showed that these concerns are decreasing. Compared to 2011’s social media survey, every adoption barrier measured has decreased in concern, with a dramatic drop in the perception among faculty that social media “takes too much time to learn or use.” Other barriers cited include privacy, the integrity of student submissions and the need or desire to separate course and personal accounts.

“Pearson is committed to deeply understanding innovative teaching practices, especially the effective use of technologies for teaching and learning. This is the third year we have collaborated with the Babson Survey Research Group. Our goal is to help broaden the understanding of how the use of social media in teaching and learning can benefit both faculty and students,” said Hester Tinti-Kane, VP of Marketing, Social Media Strategy and Research, Pearson.

The complete report and infographic for the 2012 study, “How Today’s Higher Education Faculty Use Social Media,” are available as a free download. The report is also available in multiple eBook formats.

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