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Distance Education

Social Media/Learning Communities

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Distance Education

Wayne Hall
6th Floor
125 W. Rosedale Ave.
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-2948
Fax: 610-436-2189

Distance Education Support
Phone: 610-436-3373

Social Media/Learning Communities



Social media learning refers to the active participation in social media platforms and websites that have components such as comment fields for users to promote communication and achieve academic goals.  The use of social media in coursework promotes self-directed learning, preparing students to search for answers, think critically and make decisions independently. It also allows students more freedom to connect, collaborate and communicate beyond the classroom, promoting real world experiences. Building this learning community promotes positive contact between students and faculty and develops a reciprocity and cooperation among students.  Integrating social media applications can provide deeper, richer learning experiences with a variety of feedback, dialogue, and cooperation opportunities. 

Instructional Uses:

  • Blogs with comment functionality to share and discuss information
  • Twitter and course hashtags to encourage open forum and debate 
  • Collaborative document tools to store, share and revise data 
  • Professional and social networks to build connection 
  • RSS feeds to provide access to information

WCU Supported Tools:

 Additional Tools:

Tips for using Social Media/Learning Communities:

  • Clearly describe how social media will be used in your course in the course description and syllabus so that students understand how they will be engaging with different Social Media applications before they enroll. Asking students to visit websites for assigned readings or to watch a video is very different from asking them to publish their course work on WordPress or Blogger. 
  • Incorporate learning outcomes into the curriculum that will prepare students to engage with social media in an academic and a professional setting. Millennials know how to use social media for personal interactions, but they may not consider the difference when they engage for a professional purpose.  
  • Provide feedback to students through the learning management system, not the social media site. 
  • Know the Terms of Service for the social media application before using it in your course. It is important to understand that even if a space is “private” or “closed”, there may still be risks regarding security and privacy.  


Chen, B., & Bryer, T. (2012). Investigating instructional strategies for using social media in formal and informal learning. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distributed Learning, 13(1), 87-104. doi: 
Liu, Youmei (2010) "Social Media Tools as a Learning Resource," Journal of Educational Technology Development and Exchange (JETDE): Vol. 3 : Iss. 1 , Article 8.  DOI: 10.18785/jetde.0301.08 

Tess, Paul A. (2013).The role of social media in higher education classes (real and virtual) – A literature review. (2013, January 26). Retrieved from 

Chickering, A., & Gamson, Z. (1987). Seven principles of good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin, 39, 3-7. 

Classification of Social Media Platforms, DelValle Institute Knowledge Base, Office of Public Health Preparedness. Retrieved on March 24, 2017 from 

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