Sunday, May 20, 2007

College Professors: Social Networking Sites Are Potential Teaching Tool

Thomson Press Release
Many College Professors See Podcasts, Blogs and Social Networking Sites as a Potential Teaching Tool

Thomson Learning survey indicates professors in higher education are anxious to take advantage of podcasts and blogs as valuable communication and learning tools

Stamford, Conn., 05/07/2007
Thomson Learning, one of the largest academic publishers in higher education, today released survey results examining faculty views on social networking sites and new media tools. Faculty members recognize the role new media tools can play in higher education because of their popularity among students, according to a survey released today by Thomson Learning.

Survey results revealed that many tech-savvy faculty members recognize the value of blogs and podcasts as communication tools in the classroom. Key findings of the survey include:

Nearly 50 percent of faculty respondents who are familiar with social networking sites say they feel such sites have or will change the way students learn.

• Nearly 90 percent of respondents who are familiar with social networking sites say they know about sites that allow students to grade or rate professors, and 67 percent have checked if they’ve been graded.

While the majority of faculty surveyed do not use social networking sites, those who do use these sites use them for both personal and work purposes.

• Nearly 35 percent of respondents view podcasting as a valuable communication tool to reach students.

• Nearly 10 percent of faculty members surveyed indicate they have their own blogs. Comparitavely, fewer than 8 percent of Americans have a blog.

“As professors teaching mass media communication, it is essential for us to pay attention to all emerging technologies as a way to help our students understand the importance of mass media in our lives today,” said Shirley Biagi, a professor in the Department of Communication Studies at California State University, Sacramento, and the author of Media/Impact - An Introduction to Mass Media (Thomson Wadsworth).

The Thomson Learning survey was conducted over a five-week period starting February 6. The survey pool included 677 professors, the majority of whom have been teaching for more than 10 years at four- or two-year colleges and universities on the subjects of humanities/social sciences or business/economics at their respective institutions.

If you are interested in seeing the complete results of the Thomson Learning Social Networking Sites and New Media Tools survey, or would like to speak with Professor Biagi, please contact Tomomi Melton at

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