by Leah Shutes, Published July 11, 2012
YPSILANTI - Social media has changed the way we live. Whether you're a gamer, an electronics enthusiast, part of the Millennial generation or a baby boomer, chances are you're using it, too. And Eastern Michigan is right on board.
According to Kelly Frisch, graduate assistant at the Faculty Development Center, EMU faculty have access to many types of technology for use in the classroom. Some of these include clicker technology, the touch-sensitive Smart Board, podcasts and lecture capture.
"The feedback has been really positive," says Frisch. "People are showing interest."
English professor Steven Krause teaches Writing for the World Wide Web, an online class focusing on computers, social media and writing. He communicates with students using video; social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter; and Google Hangout, a Skype-like program that allows members to see each other on the screen. Krause also requires students to learn the HTML and CSS programs and build their own websites by the end of the semester.
English professor Gina Luttrell teaches a hybrid course, Fundamentals of Social Media, that involves classroom and online coursework. "Students explore emerging social media technologies and study their application in contemporary public relations practice," says Luttrell. "Students learn how to use and create content within the framework of the communications industry." She also invites "thought leaders of Social Media," such as Darryl Ohrt, one of the founders of Carrot Creative, into the class discussions via Skype.
Luttrell is one of many professors at EMU to adopt a new teaching tool that can increase class attendance, stimulate interest and augment student participation. Poll Everywhere, similar to the more common i
Eastern's professors are also using iTunesU, a special channel of iTunes for university course content. History lecturer Rick Rogers created a Comparative Study of Religion podcast in 2010 that went viral in a matter of months and has been downloaded more than 200,000 times. Professor of Technology Studies Konnie Kustron uses Skype for class discussions, does all her lectures online with voice-overs and shares content via GoogleDocs. Engineering Technology professor Daniel Fields has integrated a tool called Elluminate Live into his curriculum as a means to share applications, allow students to poll instantly, and allow session recording, including student presentations.
Students seem to like learning with the new tools. "I thought Poll Everywhere was cool because, out of all the PR classes I'd taken up to that point, I'd never seen technology like this," says Cherese Colston, a public relations major from Mt. Morris. "It really connected with our tech-savvy generation and got our attention by allowing us to use our cell phones to text answers to questions."
This story originally appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of Eastern Magazine