University social networks: implementation of a new communication tool

It is believed that social networking distracts students from studying, prevents them from concentrating on lecture material and homework. Of course, notifications about new messages, entertaining videos and bright pictures may have bad effect on an educational process. But each disadvantage may be turned into advantage if approached wisely. 

For example, some colleges and universities use YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus groups and create their own social networks to enhance quality of learning. It is very important for educational institutions to move with the times and introduce innovations in a classroom to increase student engagement, provide useful information in a modern, interactive format, connect professors and learners in a single system. 

Let’s consider the main advantages of social networks for students.


Consulting experts

The great thing about online communication is that each student can consult experts in one’s major. First of all, these are university professors. As a rule, it is rather difficult to receive answers to questions of interest right after a lecture because a professor goes to other classroom after a bell rings. In such cases, a student should wait until the next lesson. It may be impossible to do homework without missed information, and a young person may have problems. If using a social network, one can ask questions in a message and receive guidelines as soon as a professor reads it. 

Also, learners can get acquainted with famous researchers and successful practitioners. Outstanding persons often share their thoughts and results of interesting projects on the web. Subscribing to their profiles helps to receive the latest scientific and business news. Such content broadens horizons, inspires students to explore topical issues, prepare good reports for performing in a class and participating in conferences, perceive academic disciplines as something more than a boring theory from textbooks, valuable knowledge that may change the world. 

When facing a tricky assignment, one can ask groupmates to recommend the best research paper writing service. There will be no need to search for a reliable company by trial and error. Also, it is possible to find a good tutor in social networks. 


Communicating with other students

A person may subscribe to communities devoted to one’s university or major, particular disciplines and scientific areas, chat with foreign students to find out about a state of a chosen industry abroad.  Social networks make learners more cohesive and loyal to their educational institution, provide opportunities for sharing campus news, reading about interesting events, posting announcements, discussing issues of interest with like-minded people. Students stop perceiving education as a boring duty and enjoy active social life. 

Online communication is particularly convenient when performing tasks in a group. Without the Internet, students would stay alone with tricky assignments after coming home from a university. In social networks, groupmates may negotiate on a research direction, share learning materials, plan and coordinate their actions, report on steps taken. There is no need to stay in a library after lectures. Everyone can express one’s thoughts in a group chat. 


Receiving information on career opportunities

Not only students and professors may use education oriented social networks but also employers looking for young promising specialists. The good example of a business network is LinkedIn. But most of its users are experienced experts, and it may be difficult for a newbie to withstand a tough competition. It makes sense to develop a similar platform for students going to work part-time or graduates looking for a full-time job. 

If creating an internal web resource, university administration should take care about registering representatives of partner companies and providing access for all other organizations wishing to replenish their staff. Employers should be enabled to publish adds about open vacancies and internships. 

Then it will be easier for young people to make the first steps on the professional way. They will have an opportunity to ask all questions about a salary, a working schedule, other terms of cooperation online. 


Using an electronic library

Availability of a university social network makes it possible to store all electronic materials in one place accessible for everyone. It should be a kind of Wiki giving answers to all questions. Textbooks, lectures, guidelines for performing academic assignments, quizzes for pre-exam preparing can be uploaded to a library by professors and students. Specially appointed people should maintain this database in order, sort incoming files, check correctness of content and delete outdated information. 

Learners should know that they can download everything necessary for successful studying on one website. It is worth providing opportunity for commenting course materials. Professors will receive feedback from students and understand how a curriculum may be improved. 

Therefore, social networks may be regarded not only as an entertaining toy but also as a powerful educational tool. Some professors urge students to use mainstream learning methods, read textbooks instead of chatting and surfing the Internet. But traditional approach brings no results in the modern world. As a rule, young people do not cope with homework and start looking for a good research paper writing service.

It is worth understanding that the digital revolution is in full swing. The only way to benefit from technology is applying it in educational interests. Universities should speak the language students understand, use information channels they like, track the latest trends and turn them into the part of a learning routine.