Last week, Pearson and the Babson Survey Research Group released the results of their latest survey of how higher education faculty use social media. The results are quite interesting. For instance, they found that almost 34% of the sample used some form of social media (defined as blogs/wikis, Facebook, LinkedIn, podcasts, or Twitter) for teaching purposes.
It’s worth noting that the survey had a response rate of 6% and it’s impossible to tell how generalizable these results are to the greater population of “all university faculty.” In other words, it’s wholly possible that the survey sample contained a greater proportion of faculty who were more likely to use social media (and who were more likely to use social media in their courses).
The sample was also stratified based on Carnegie classification and the results weighted to adjust for differences in response rates by these classifications. I would have liked to have seen stratification by gender, race/ethnicity (of which no data about the sample are provided), and discipline. Perhaps a weighting by age may have been in order given that almost 42% of the sample was aged 55 or over.
Even still, these are interesting findings especially when compared to previous Pearson surveys. The trend suggests that faculty are becoming more comfortable incorporating social media into the classroom. Of particular interest to me is how Facebook is used more for teaching purposes than Twitter although the second most reported barrier to using social media in the classroom was “concerns about privacy” (presumably primarily related to Facebook as Twitter tends to be a more pubic medium).
You can download the full report and the infographic here.
Infographic credit: Pearson Learning Solutions (2012). Available online here.
Disclosure: I provided feedback on drafts of the survey instrument.
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