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Social Media in Teaching and Learning Procedure

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Section 1 - Introduction

(1) This procedure describes processes for implementing Social Media in Teaching and Learning at the University of Newcastle.

(2) This procedure supports the University of Newcastle Social Media Communication Policy and must be read in conjunction with that policy and the University of Newcastle Social Media Communication Procedure and Social Media Communication Guideline.

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Section 2 - Instructions

General Principles

(3) Where appropriate and possible, integrate content and activities conducted in social media channels and the online systems provided by the University of Newcastle (e.g. Blackboard). For example, there are tools for publishing blogs, wikis and podcasts or for embedding YouTube videos available within Blackboard.

(4) When choosing social media channels, staff will as far as possible, use channels that meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, to ensure that students with a disability are not precluded from being able to access Social media content.

(5) Unless social media presence is an integral part of the learning outcomes of a course, creating an identity or a user within a social media channel must remain voluntary for both students and staff

(6) Use of Social Media Platforms in Teaching and Learning must be in line with section 6 of the Course Management and Assessment Procedure Manual.

(7) In addition to University of Newcastle policies, staff and students should note that social media channels will also have their own rules and policies regarding use of their services. These may be formally presented in an end-user license agreement that participants agree to when creating an account or adding content, and may also be described in more general terms in support resources.

(8) Staff should carefully consider whether their personal accounts on social media platforms should be private or open to students.

(9) Consideration must be given to ensuring continuity of Official University social media channels, such as access to passwords in the event of an emergency or staff changes.

Choosing Social Media Platforms for Teaching and Learning

(10) Staff and students participating in social media for teaching and learning purposes need to consider which platform might be most appropriate for the desired activities or outcomes. Such decisions should be reviewed regularly. Different social media platforms have different strengths in relation to their use in connecting with people for teaching and learning. The popularity of a particular social media tool among the target group of participants alone does not guarantee it will be a successful platform for teaching and learning. Various other factors should be considered when designing a social media initiative for teaching and learning. Some social media tools are good for disseminating information and engaging with people, while others are good tools for commentary.

(11) Social media tools and services are generally implemented around a model of constant technical updating and development. Users of social media should therefore expect change. Staff and students relying upon social media for teaching and learning need to consider alternative options in the event that a particular platform or service becomes unavailable or change in other ways, so that this can be managed and not impact negatively on teaching and learning experiences.

(12) Successful management of a social media presence for teaching and learning requires time and effort. While the benefits of social media to teaching and learning are acknowledged there are also serious potential personal and legal risks associated with the use of unmoderated or unsupervised social media channels for University matters.

(13) Social media platforms do not always operate with the usual support and governance mechanisms of the University of Newcastle. While staff and students are encouraged to explore innovative ways to utilise these tools for teaching and learning, they need to remember that the University has no control over the practices and policies of these third-party sites and services.

(14) Social media platforms may openly share content across sites and services in ways that participants do not anticipate when publishing content to a site or service. Search engines may index and link to content within these channels, exposing it to wider audiences. Content may be copied, shared or archived in ways not immediately obvious or anticipated. It should be assumed that anything published in a social media channel may become public at some time in the future on the same or a different platform.