I’m Rey Junco, a professor and researcher who studies how technology use affects college students. I’m particularly interested in using quantitative methods to assess the effects of social media on student development, engagement, learning, and success. Currently, I’m investigating the ability to use big data in order to provide real-time and unobtrusive prediction of student outcomes. Social Media in Higher Education is a place where I’ll blog about the research I’m conducting and provide commentary on using technology in educationally-relevant ways. I’m interested in using this space to post findings that may never make it into any of my papers. Most of what I’ll post here will be well-developed; however, I’ll also post preliminary data and interpretations in the hopes of getting input to help shape future studies. My belief is that research is a collaborative process and this is one way that I can reach out to a broad base of potential collaborators. There is wisdom in the crowd.
I became interested in the power of technology to help engage college students during the first class I taught after graduate school. In the syllabus, I listed my AOL Instant Messenger (IM) screen name as one of the ways students could contact me. I observed that introverted students were much more likely to be engaged during class discussions if they communicated with me via IM outside of class. Since then, I have been fascinated by the connective potential of emerging communication technologies.
I conducted the first large, multi-institution survey of student technology use, which I wrote about in my book, Connecting to the Net.Generation: What Higher Education Professionals Need to Know about Today’s Students. In my second book, Using Emerging Technologies to Enhance Student Engagement my colleagues and I provided a comprehensive analysis of social media’s role in student engagement, technology’s potential to improve retention, and blogs’ potential to improve students’ writing and marketing skills. I just finished my third book, Engaging students through social media: Evidence-based practices for use in student affairs.
My work has been cited in major news outlets such as the New York Times, NPR, PBS, NBC, Time, US News & World Report, USA Today, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, and Mashable. I have given talks, workshops, and lectures at almost 50 national and international conferences, universities, and organizations. I enjoy talking about how technology impacts colleges students, using social media in educationally-relevant ways, how social media influence identity development, parenting and social media, teaching students about privacy, using trace data to predict educational outcomes, and how students use social media to become more socially and academically integrated into their college or university environments.
I earned my doctorate in education in counselor education from Penn State University. I also earned my master’s degree in clinical psychology from Penn State where I studied and conducted research in neuropsychology. I hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The University of Florida where I studied and conducted research in neuroscience. I am an associate professor of education and human computer interaction at Iowa State University and a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society where I work on the Youth and Media Project. My complete CV can be accessed here.
Feel free to email me by clicking here.
I have resisted adding this statement for a while now; however, the volume of requests I get for these reasons has become overwhelming lately: I do not accept advertising on my website. I will not blog about your product, no matter how awesome you think it is. I do not accept unsolicited guests posts on my blog. And lastly, I will not post links to blog posts that you think are a “good fit for my readers.”