You may have read that I recently reconsidered my stance on technology use in the classroom. I am encouraging students to live tweet my classes for the first time this semester. The effort is meant to make students more engaged with the content and create a learning community that extends outside of the classroom.
When making this decision I had to consider what, if any, restrictions I should attempt to place on this altered media usage. I decided that encouraging live tweeting of classes required me to have some formal policies for classroom Twitter use.
This prompted me to perform a task I previously had put off—drafting social media policies. Since I was on the task, I drafted policies for my blog and the classroom.
I had no ideas where to start, so I used these six steps to draft social media policies.
1. Read Existing Policies
I started by searching for social media policies used by other educators and businesses. I figured I shouldn’t reinvent the wheel if there were models I could use.
I didn’t find a lot of social media policies from educators. When I solicited such policies from Twitter, I received mostly negative feedback from educators who said they didn’t want students using social media in the classroom, so they saw no reason to create policies. Not much help there.
I found a great resource in the Online Database of Social Media Policies. Although I admittedly did not read them all, I found Intel’s social media policies to be especially well-written and relevant. I can see how many agencies could use them as a model.
2. Consider Your Clients
Think about who you are asking to read an adhere to your social media policies. What do they need to know? Furthermore, why would they go through the trouble to use social media under your suggested restrictions? This should answer the What’s In It for Me question for them. I, of course, thought about my students and readers of my blog.
3. Revisit Your Objectives
Think about the objectives you have for your clients’ social media usage. Outline your policies in a way that makes the benefits of usage apparent, as stated above. Consider what can be negative or distracting about social media usage. Draft your policies in a way that eliminates or minimizes these issues.
4. Just Write
At some point you just have to start writing. Don’t do the write three sentences and delete two thing. Write with the idea of revising and restructuring afterward. This was when I really felt like I was moving forward.
5. Link to Support
Give your policies weight by linking to relevant literature that supports your usage guidelines. This will give the reader insight into the motivation for your various decisions.
This was especially important for me because I did not want students to feel stifled by the policies. I wanted them to understand why the guidelines were necessary, but not to be discouraged by them.
6. Revise and revisit
Chances of you sitting down and writing a masterpiece the first time are slim. Review what you’ve written and revise it as needed. Then schedule a regular time to revisit the policies, making sure they still are applicable and sufficient. I plan to revise my blog’s policies at least once a year. The classroom policies will be reviewed each semester.
Writing social media policies was something I wasn’t comfortable doing because I hadn’t done it before. It would have been easy to put it off. In doing so, I would have given students permission to use a tool, but not provided guidelines for its usage. This seems counter to education and may have set them up for failure. In the end, I’m glad I took the time to draft the policies and plan to continue using them and revising them each semester.
Let’s Talk Nerdy!
Do you have social media policies you’d like to share? Do you notice items missing or ideas you don’t support in my policies? I certainly would appreciate your input.
@harryLfunk Thanks for the RT, Harry! I hope you’re having a great Wednesday. Halfway, right?
@profkrg Hello, Professor! So far, so good here in PA. How are things in the Indian Territory?
@harryLfunk rainy. I liked it yesterday when it started, but today it’s just making me sleepy!
@profkrg Everyone is complaining because it’s “only” Wednesday. We got spoiled with shorter weeks around the holidays!
@harryLfunk I certainly did. Plus my daughter played in a basketball tournament last weekend. It doesn’t seem like we got much rest. :/
@profkrg I was sick for a few days, I think b/c I was running around all over last week & didn’t get much sleep. I’m taking it easy this wk.
@harryLfunk excellent. I’m glad you are feeling better. A lot of people here have colds.
@profkrg Our office is like a hospital ward. Two people are out with serious illness, and everyone else seems to be coughing and sniffling.
@harryLfunk I assume that it’s cold there now?
@profkrg “A lot of people here have colds.” It’s that time of year!
@profkrg “I assume that it’s cold there now?” We’ve actually had a mild winter so far for western PA. It was in the 60s on Friday!
@harryLfunk we’re having the same situation here. I’m wondering if we’re going to be hit late or have another record hot summer.
@laydeefly Thanks for the re-tweet
@clickwisdom Thank you for the RT. I hope you found the post helpful. #blogging #blogchat #highered #sm #edchat
@profkrg I did! Thank you.
Thanks for your support! @amcunningham @alihandscomb
.@profkrg the idea about learning about professionalism through encouraging live-tweeting is intriguing:) @alihandscomb
That was a bold and brave move, Professor. How is it working out?
@BruceSallan1 It’s actually working out really well. Only about five students are participating, but it’s been a fun, worthwhile engagement. Even if others don’t join it, I think it’s well worth it for those five. They’ve followed the guidelines so far, although they do enjoy being snarky. But, hey, don’t we all?
Thanks for your support, Bruce!
@AngelaMaiers @profkrg Drafting a social media policy for schools is now a legal question as well http://t.co/6nyFAQHB
@danielnewmanUV Thanks, Chicago! I hope you had a good class!
@JamieCrager Thanks, Jamie!
I have encouraged audiences to use Twitter with a specific hashtag during conference presentations. The demographic was similar to a college class of non-traditional aged students.
Several attendees tweeted comments and questions, which I could respond to immediately or at the end of the presentation. I think it’s a good way to involve introverts who might not otherwise speak up. It also helps people who don’t want to interrupt the flow, but who forget their questions before the Q&A. They can tweet questions as they think of them. You can use a computer, tablet or smartphone to monitor the hashtag’s tweetstream. In quiet moments during class, you could join the online discussion, too.
The hashtag could also be used to communicate about class between sessions. Students could discuss homework. You could set up a search monitor their tweets to identify material they need more help with. If you chose, you could answer questions or clarify points as they arise.
@debsturgess1 Have you attempted to use Twitter in class sessions? I’m finding that most students are not active users in the class. They’re not embracing it quite the way I thought they would.