Social media - teaching and community

Social Media: enhancing teaching & building community?

Team members: Sara Dorman, Luke March


This project aims to comparatively assess the effectiveness of Twitter and Facebook in engaging students in their course material, while also strengthening links between students and staff in the Politics & IR subject area of the School of Social and Political Science (SPS).

Politics & IR lecturers are increasingly using different forms of social media to keep students informed of news and research relating to courses and subject area events. At the same time, student feedback makes it clear that they desire more community and connectedness with ‘their’ subject area.

We propose to compare the experience of Facebook groups as used in Dr March’s Russian Politics teaching (Russia and Wider Europe) and Twitter as used in Dr Dorman’s African Politics teaching (@afr_pol), where they are used in addition to the provision of a Learn page for each course.

We are particularly interested in exploring whether and how social media helps mediate the relationship between student learning experiences and their desire for ‘more community’, and to what extent this complements or conflicts with the use of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

The results of the project will be disseminated through existing Politics & IR seminars, which could also be rolled out to the wider University community, and a contribution to the journal Politics, which is the key outlet for teaching and learning publications in Politics and International Relations.

Final Project Report

Final Report may be downloaded using link below:

Final Project Report (PDF)