Rey Junco PurdueI’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.” 

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  • just found your blog – excellent stuff, thanks!

  • Laura D.

    I just found and subscribed to your blog. Lots of interesting posts! Looking forward to future articles.

  • Hi, Rey — For the past couple of years, I’ve also incorporated Twitter in the (film) classroom. Some attempts have been successful and others, well, not so much. I’ve several write-ups here if interested: http://kellimarshall.net/unmuzzledthoughts/category/twitter-classroom/

    In any event, I just wanted to say hello and, moreover, ask why I can’t locate your Twitter ID anywhere on your blog?! =)

  • Susan Genden

    Just found this – I agree. Excellent blog!

  • Boeing787captain

    Excellent keep it up

  • Jburkart

    Wow, I was about to turn in the first three chapters of my dissertation when I stumbled across your page and research. My dissertation is on Facebook and engagement when combined with other university retention programs (first-year seminar and living learning community). I am using the NSSE as my instrument along with Ellison, Lampe, and Steinfield’s Facebook Intensity Scale. I am so happy to have read your recent study on Facebook and engagement, especially since you also used the NSSE.

  • Ramil Sanchez

    Thanks doc rey! I have the same interest, May i use some of your works?

  • Burnett6

    I have been following you now for years. In my dissertation phase and using Twitter for engagement in and outside the classroom and using backchannelling during lectures. I start the quantitative portion in the fall. Thanks for all you inspiration.

  • Thank you for the kind comment! I look forward to hearing more about your research! 

  • Of course, as long as you cite my papers in a standard academic format or follow the attribution rules of the CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

  • Latifa Albloushi

    Hi ..
    am do Master of interactive educational technologies.. am now working on my dissertation which is about using social media (twitter) in particular to support social presence in online education..
    am glad i found this blog. 
    I would like to use some of the information provided here 


  • Good luck! Feel free to use what you find on here. Please cite my papers in a standard academic format or follow the attribution rules of the CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License for my blog content.

  • I like the way you think. I especially like the mention the students that felt more comfortable reaching out to you via instant messenger. Great observation. 

  • Thanks. It was one of the observations the fueled my interest in this research area. 

  • tim

    Hi Rey
    I was in attendance at the ICT2012 Conference at the Open University of Hong Kong where you gave your virtual keynote address today (July 6 2012). I thought the results of your study were provocative (I take your conclusion to be that students making purposeful use of Twitter in one of their classes were more engaged, got better grades in all their classes, and continued their studies in greater numbers than students in the control group who hadn’t used Twitter). The results, I have to say, were difficult to believe, but since, as you said, there were no other obvious variables to explain the differences in performance I really think you should continue your interesting work and repeat the experiment, and/or encourage others do follow up on your work.

    I just wanted to say that although I had no question to ask during the question time after your keynote, I did in fact really enjoy your presentation and I hope you keep up the interesting research.

    Tim Maraun
    Editor, Educational Technology and Publishing Unit
    The Open University of Hong Kong

  • Tim, thanks for your message. I appreciate your feedback. I should have also mentioned that I am seeking funding to expand my work. Specifically, I’d like to compare the effect of different social technologies (Facebook, Twitter, LMSs) on various academic outcomes (multiple measures of engagement, grades, retention, and social & academic integration). Stay tuned… 

  • The research you’re doing is so interesting Rey. I’ve been wondering about how social media affects college students as well. It’s amazing how something as simple as AOL instant messenger could help introverted students open up more in class discussions. I guess this allowed them to “break the ice” with you outside of the classroom in a way they felt comfortable with. Really cool. 

  • Laura

    Hello my name is Laura Strong and I am preparing to write my dissertation for my Ed.D doctoral project. I am focusing on social media and the impact on education. As I work on my doctoral committee assignment form I did some research and came across this site? I hope to engage and find interesting concepts to add to my research project. 

  • Good luck Laura. I look forward to hearing about your research. 

  • miss reen

    Dear Dr Reynol JuncoHello,My name is Nur Fadzlina Abu Talib and I am a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy student from National University of Malaysia. I am writing dissertation on attitudes of Health sciences students towards people with disabilities. I have tried to search for your email but I cannot find it. 
    The article “ASSESSING AN ONLINE TRAINING PROGRAM’S ABILITY TO CHANGEATTITUDES TOWARDS STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES” that you wrote had included the instrument Attitudes Towards Disabled Persons ( ATPD ) that was developed by Dr Yuker, Dr Campbell and Dr. Block. However, I cannot contact all these three persons to get their permissions to use the instrument.
    Do you have their emails for me to contact them? Can you give it to me? Thank you Dr. Do you have the copy of the ATPD instrument?With your permission, I would like to use this instrument and any scoring and background information that goes with it. I would greatly appreciate a copy of the instrument and the scoring materials. Thank you so much for your help.Sincerely,Nur Fadzlina Binti Abu TalibFinal year student Bachelor of Occupational Therapy ( Hons. )The National University of Malaysia.

  • Drenami

    You say your intrest in this field of study began as you taught you first class after graduating. Just out of sheer curiosity, if you don’t mind me asking, what was the class?

  • Maria Eulaica Floren Raya

    I’m Laica, a Filipino, currently writing my thesis on facebook usage, personality types and academic performance of secondary students. I’m very glad when i read your blog. It would really help me in my study. I hope I could adopt your questionnaire. Rest assured I will include your work in my citations!
    Maraming Salamat! (Filipino greeting for Thank You!)
    With appreciation,

  • Kani Bassey

    I am currently cleaning up my concept paper to prepare for my dissertation: The Institutional Effectiveness of Social Media Strategies on Student Engagement in Maryland Community Colleges
    I have purchased your most recent book and plan to follow your blog and research!

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