Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 4:00 PM
ENHANCING UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is becoming a mainstream undergraduate teaching technology. When thoughtfully and deliberately implemented, social media tools can also be used to effectively facilitate undergraduate research. This presentation describes four types of social media tools (social networking sites, blogs, collaborative projects, and content communities) and gives specific examples of how they can be used from the earliest mentoring stages through dissemination of undergraduate research. (1) Social networking sites (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Google+) connect individuals with similar interests and often have features, such as video chatting and file sharing, that are particularly valuable for the undergraduate research community. We describe one example of how students in a summer REU program successfully used social networking to develop camaraderie before the field season and communicate with their peers and faculty advisors during the academic year. (2) Blogs are updated multimedia web pages that serve as forums for the open exchange of ideas. We show how students in a research-based course used blogs to disseminate their work and connect with experts outside of their campus community, thereby expanding their research opportunities. (3) Collaborative projects allow groups of people to work together to create online content. Social bookmarking is one example of a collaborative project that allows researchers to collect, organize, share, and discover online resources. We have used the CUR Geoscience Diigo social bookmarking site (http://www.diigo.com/list/curgeoscience) to collect the resources and examples from this presentation and to make them publicly available. (4) Content communities (e.g., YouTube, VoiceThread) allow individuals to share online multimedia materials. VoiceThread, for example, has been used for a virtual undergraduate research poster session. Overall, social media can be beneficial to the undergraduate research endeavor, helping students develop effective online communication skills and engage with a broad scientific community, but it also comes with challenges. We briefly discuss the challenges to using social media, in particular, etiquette and fair use and copyright policies, and share strategies for using social media with undergraduate researchers.