There are a lot of misconceptions about social media usage in higher education. In a similar fashion, there are lots of misconceptions about controlling costs in higher education, or in controlling healthcare costs in America.
When President Obama talked about controlling costs of higher education in his recent State of the Union Address, he really was talking about the prices charged by educational institutions. If the President had been concerned about controlling costs (money spent in instructional or business operations), he would have discussed whether to use more non-tenure track faculty to decrease wage expense, or reining in the administrative bureaucracies that have been created to deal with government imposed reporting mandates, or in revising the priority of resources directed toward not very valuable research and publishing. I would find these alternate discussions more interesting and useful than controlling prices.
When Senators and Representatives talk about controlling healthcare costs, they really are talking about the prices paid by citizens, their insurance companies, and the government. If they really were concerned about controlling healthcare costs, they might debate the value of billions spent in reimbursement paperwork, or the tests performed by physicians mindful of potential litigation, or perhaps on limiting or increasing the availability of healthcare to certain segments of our society. I would find these alternate discussions more valuable than controlling prices.
Likewise, when journalists and bloggers write about social media usage in higher education, they usually are talking about social media marketing. Oh, they could be talking about using social media in the classroom, but they usually aren’t. They could be talking about adoption of social media by professors as they pursue their responsibilities in research & publication or service. But they aren’t. I would find these alternate discussions more interesting and useful.
The media focus seems to be on the use of social media by colleges and universities to recruit students, as shown by the infographic from Mashable Social Media. The sad reality is that social media usage in higher education tends not be applied for other reasons. There is increasing interest by professors in using social media in the classroom. However, my experience is that professors use social media to replace outdated or stale applications. They don’t use social media in a truly innovative fashion. And finding a new breed of professor–a social media savvy professor–is next to impossible. Schools simply wouldn’t know how to use and benefit from such a creature.
Debit and credit – - David Albrecht