Professors utilize social media in four critical ways: to connect, to notify, to teach, and to curate. At the University of Delaware, Professor Christine Cucciarre uses Twitter for a class assignment in which students are required to post seven to 10 times about class readings over a 48 hour period. She said because Twitter only allows its users to write 140 characters, it teaches students to compress their writing and forces them to think about word choice.

“The ancient Greeks talked about the compression of ideas and how to say something in a limited and short way,” Cucciarre said. “They were basically describing Twitter, and it teaches students how to economize their language in a clever way.”

Here at Arizona State University, social media has been incorporated into the hybrid course “Are Sustainable Cities a Contradiction in Terms?” Students at Leuphana University in Luneburg, Germany and students from Arizona State University attend this unique class in real time using a variety of technology. Students in this class are also using Facebook.

According to Andrew Ells, Instructional Technologist for the Global Classroom, Facebook is being used to discuss assignments while also building relationships. Students first suggested using Facebook to enhance communication. The use of this social media has been significant with a clear increase in engagement on both sides of the pond.

According to a 2012 survey of nearly 4,000 teaching professors by Pearson and the Babson Survey Research Group, 34% of professors use social-media tools in the classroom and 65% use social media in their personal life. Pearson and Babson have conducted versions of this social media survey since 2010 and every year the survey has shown significant increases in the use of social media by teaching professors.

As more and more teaching professors embrace social media it is important to understand how best to incorporate this technology to impact student achievement. Special thanks to Halie Hartman and Online Colleges for permission to use this infographic.


  1. Profs teach with social media – Retrieved March 14, 2013
  2. Babson Survey Research Group: Faculty Reports. (n.d.). Babson Survey Research Group. Retrieved March 14, 2013, from