I was aware of Chris Rowell’s call to action over a year ago, asking for interest in contributions to an idea he had, an academic text highlighting the benefits, techniques, results, and possible pitfalls on using ‘social media’ as part of online or classroom-based instruction.
At the time I didn’t have the time to submit a contribution myself, although the will was definitely there, I was active in sharing Chris’s progress as he worked with the contributors and navigating the world of self-publishing. I am really happy to say Chris has completed the project and has just sent me a copy as a ‘thank you’ and for a review.
“How does social media affect working life in Higher Education? The diverse and expert contributors analyse the many ways social media can be used to enhance teaching and learning, research, professional practice, leadership, networking and career development. The impact of social media is evaluated critically, with an eye both to the benefits and the problems of using these new forms of digital communication.” Chris Rowell
From the start of the book you feel right at home and comfortable. Chris has opened the book with a great narrative and explanation on why this book, and why now. Despite the changing nature of social media and the global setting of how it is and can be used (since publication, a global pandemic has forced many facets of education into a fully-online delivery) the chapters and themes they are categorised in work well and support each other.
Some of the contributory authors I’m familiar with, some I know well and have had the honour of working with. Some of the contributory authors are new to me and have given me a new insight into aspects of HE and SoMe, how these platforms can (and should?) be used together to successfully integrate the digital and networked student (‘always on‘) into the modern, digital and socially-connected university.
Split into six broad themes, Chris has laid the chapters out to maximise the ability of the reader to use this for reference, dipping in for what you need and have more besides when you want it. From themes of leadership to innovation or building networks, from professional practice to teaching & learning and reflections on a personal journey, the chapters are written for the casual reader (blogger) and the more advanced researcher.
One further key theme of the book is using and incorporating the student voice/body as a co-creator and collaborator in their learning. Let’s also not forget that staff and colleagues can be the ‘student’ in some of these cases, that those we work with are also learning, from learning about new techniques or tools, or new approaches to how we use the existing tools. We’ve allowed social media to ingratiate themselves in many areas of our lives, for some including them as part of their work is a new and possibly uncomfortable experience.
I can’t begin to pretend I’ve read the whole book in the short time since I received it, but I have dipped into the topics and areas of social media that interest me most at the moment. There is much more here than one can digest in just one reading, this is one of those books that you’ll keep coming back to – it will stand the test of time (until the 2nd edition!) and can be enhanced as our understanding of the benefits of social media in higher education grows, as with the growth of platforms and their accessibility (and trustworthiness?) for student-faculty interaction.
“Social Media and Higher Education is essential reading for any professional working in higher education, including lecturers teaching education courses. It is also significant for researchers looking at more recent developments in the field and what it means to work in a modern higher education environment.” Chris Rowell
And finally, the plug … get your copy here: ‘Social Media in Higher Education: Case Studies, Reflections and Analysis‘ (OpenBook Publishers) – all formats considered and available, incl. paperback, hardback, eBook, PUB, PDF, MOBI, XML.
Image source: David Hopkins (CC BY-NC 4.0)