Social Media in Education

Slope of Enlightenment
UMN Assessment
Doing Well
Time Frame
Less Than 2 Years
Last Updated on Sep 12, 2014

Social media are web-based (and often mobile) services that support the creation and sharing of user-generated content through online networks of social actors. Social media networks can be comprised of friends, family, colleagues, people who share interests, or some combination of audiences. Content can take the form of text, images, video, audio, comments, and other feedback; and can be uploaded, linked, or created using tools made available by the service. Content can be created by individuals or can be the creation of third-party content providers or other institutions. Shared content sometimes originates in one social media service (e.g., YouTube) and is shared in another (e.g., Facebook).

While social media are often open systems in the sense that anyone can visit and view, participation requires the creation of a profile. Profiles are

"A dynamic combination of content provided by the user (such as status updates), activity reports (such as groups they've joined), content provided by others (such as virtual gifts that are displayed on the profile or 'tagged' photographs uploaded by others), and/or system-provided content . . . " (Ellison and boyd).

Social media are well-suited for distributed, collaborative learning.

Social Media in Education at the University of Minnesota
Social media is now ubiquitous at the University of Minnesota. Academic and administrative units often use one or more social media channels to send updates, share stories and information, and create networks for faculty, staff and students. Some faculty and students have reservations about using social media in the classroom because it is viewed as a distraction or because of a reluctance to mix personal and academic interactions. Social media services used in education generally are not managed by the University and are open to anybody who wishes to create an account.

Technology Applications




Information on using Google+ with your University account can be found online at



User Stories


  • 07/27/14

    Related Research

    Nicole Ellison and danah boyd. "Sociality through Social Network Sites" in William H. Dutton (ed.). The Oxford Handbook...