By Raul Rodriguez
Coordinator, ASUN Center for Student Engagement
Every day we use technology in our work environment and in our daily lives. As Student Affairs administrators we interact with students via emails, social media, and text messaging. The recent increase in technology integration in institutions of higher education has demanded changes in practices, and organization of student support services (Junco, 2010). With various social media and technology outlets, the opportunities to engage and involve students is easier than before. How can we use the current technology to get students more involved and engaged?
The first thing that we need to consider is what technology, or social media students are using. We need to be able to meet the students where they are at. Understanding our student population and their preference for technology or social media can provide a clear path to develop strategies and plans to increase student involvement and engagement.
Create a strategy for the technology or social media that you choose to interact with the students. Each technology or social media serves a different purpose (Berry 2016).
- Instagram can be a good way to profile students and events;
- Twitter can be effective in answering questions;
- Facebook (to the extent that your students use it), can be a way to invite students to events;
- Snapchat can be used for community building;
- Text messaging is more personal and can be used to provide information and more direct communication with students.
It is important to understand that social media and technology provide different approaches to engage students. With a bit of research and knowledge of students technology use, you can create an effective plan to involve and engage students. It is very important to take time to develop a strategy to use technology to engage students. You want to make sure you have a clear vision of your plan to avoid any negative fallout from using technology or social media.
Start Interacting and engaging students using your technology plan. While texting is more personal and social media is good for general communication, it is important to note that interactions have to be both ways. Make sure to follow your plan of action and stay active on the technology you are using. Students tend to interact less if they encounter any negative or no response. They are very responsive and involved in technology. Not being responsive or having few interactions or low presence can create a bad image of your department and the University.
References: Junco, R. (2010). Using emerging technologies to engage students and enhance their success. Academic Advising Today, 33. Berry, S. (2016). Social Media and Student Affairs: Designing a plan that works. NASPA.org, 2016