Faculty Spotlight: R. Bryan Sears – Using Social Media in Courses

CoffeeTweet_searsInstructor: R. Bryan Sears, PhD,  Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Courses: CHEM 1102 Principles of Chemistry II with Lab and CHEM  4160 Chemistry Senior Seminar

About the Project: Dr. Sears created a professional Twitter account (@Dr_Sears) and a Facebook page (Emmanuel College General Chemistry) to communicate with his students via social media. The Twitter feeds are embedded on his course site homepages, and the Facebook page is included as a link. Students can also follow either.

Goals: In using social media accounts in his courses, Dr. Sears aims to reach his students where they are and connect the course material to their lives. Dr. Sears observes, “I think, as instructors, we strive to make students aware of the relevance and breadth of the subjects we teach.   Twitter/Facebook and other electronic media platforms puts the subject back in the students’ hands (on mobile devices) even when the lecture notes and textbooks have been put away.” The social media platforms also facilitate communication with students, offering opportunities to share information about course materials and assignments and for students to quickly ask questions where other students can see the answer.

Outcome: Dr. Sears regularly Tweets reminders and updates regarding assignments and what they will be covering in lecture that day, shares interesting articles, and provides examples of the chemistry of everyday life. Students can also reach him via Twitter with questions. For more complicated answers, he uses ScreenChomp, an iPad app, to record short Khan-academy style videos that he can then share with the student in a reply Tweet. As a result of this, he says, “[M]y students are more engaged in lecture and more apt to find meaning in their experiences outside of class because of the online classroom.”

Example Tweets:

Interested in using social media in your courses? Contact ATIG with questions.

Interested in embedding a Twitter feed in a course site? You can quickly create a Twitter widget for an account, hashtag, or list and then embed it in your course site following these instructions.

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14 Responses to Faculty Spotlight: R. Bryan Sears – Using Social Media in Courses

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