SIP 13.1 Engaging Students with the Platforms They Use

Thirsty for a Strong Instructional Practice?

Student looking at tablet outside of Pepsi Center.

As we start another semester, many of us are sharing stories about lagging engagement in synchronous and asynchronous online classes. There are many news stories about Zoom fatigue, and we all feel it too. These same students, and we ourselves, do seem to be engaged online in other ways – how can we harness the energy of that active and willing engagement and incorporate it into our classes?

Take a SIP of This: Engaging Students with the Platforms They Use

We know decreasing engagement happens for many reasons, but one way we can boost engagement is by finding out about the ways that students do engage online willingly. This can be done quickly and easily through a quick survey, asking in the chat or doing an ungraded quiz to learn this information. Here is a breakdown of teen social-network-type usage from 2012-2020. Even if you have a multiple-choice option, make sure to leave an area open for people to write in their own responses as social platforms are always changing.

Here is a version of the question you might ask:

Highlight all the platforms you use and enjoy regularly. Which of the highlighted ones are you most interested in using for class?

  • Instagram
  • Reddit
  • TikTok
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Text
  • Snapchat
  • YouTube
  • Other

Then take this knowledge and see what assignments can be reworked to let students post their responses on their favorite platform and share the link or hashtag with you. Have them make sure you have digital access to their platform so you can see their responses.

Remind students that the class is using these platforms in a professional way and to make sure they are posting only professional responses on it. If they want to have a personal platform as well, please keep that one for personal use. Better yet, make a list of shared expectations about how the chosen platform will be used during the semester.

If you need students to see one another’s responses, make sure to check the accessibility of the platform before asking other students to engage academically on it. Here are some tips about how to make specific posts on specific platforms more accessible.

Still thirsty?  Take a SIP of this:

Social Media in the Classroom: Opportunities, Challenges & Recommendations

Engaging Students with Social Media: Best Practices for Student Success – First-person accounts

Taking Social Media to a University Classroom: Teaching and Learning Using Twitter and Blogs

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