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'Ivory tower' bucking social media

Date:
March 31, 2014
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
University scholars are largely resisting the use of social media to circulate their scientific findings and engage their tech-savvy students, a researcher argues in a new article.

University scholars are largely resisting the use of social media to circulate their scientific findings and engage their tech-savvy students, a Michigan State University researcher argues in a new paper.

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While social media is widely used in fields such as journalism and business -- not just to push a product but also to engage in open dialogue with readers and clients -- it has failed to take hold in academia's so-called ivory tower. This is troubling given that universities in the United States and Europe are trying to increase access to publicly funded research, said Christine Greenhow, assistant professor in MSU's College of Education.

"Only a minority of university researchers are using free and widely available social media to get their results and published insights out and into the hands of the public, even though the mission of public universities is to create knowledge that makes a difference in people's lives," Greenhow said.

"Simply put, there's not much tweeting from the ivory tower."

While there is some evidence that faculty members are starting to share their work through social media, it's unlikely to become widespread unless universities adopt policies for promotion and tenure that reward these practices, Greenhow said.

In a survey of 1,600 researchers, Greenhow found that only 15 percent use Twitter, 28 percent use YouTube and 39 percent use Facebook for professional purposes. Those who do mainly use social media to find collaborators and disseminate their work and the work of others; they do not use it largely in their teaching of students.

"Academia is not serving as a model of social media use or preparing future faculty to do this," Greenhow said.

The issue, she added, is at the heart of larger discussions regarding accessibility, equal rights to higher education, transparency and accountability.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christine Greenhow, Benjamin Gleason. Social scholarship: Reconsidering scholarly practices in the age of social media. British Journal of Educational Technology, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12150

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "'Ivory tower' bucking social media." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331100230.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2014, March 31). 'Ivory tower' bucking social media. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331100230.htm
Michigan State University. "'Ivory tower' bucking social media." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331100230.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

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