Social Media Comes to Higher Education

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Going back to school? There's an app for that...

By Chris Kyle

Did you know you can get college credit for texting, tweeting, or updating your Facebook status?

Welcome to the brave new world of online education.

Take a look at how social media is changing today's higher education landscape.

Twitter Comes To The Classroom

As part of a film theory course at Duke University, students use Twitter for homework assignments, tweeting their reactions to books and movies they read and watch outside of class.

The Washington Post reports that it's an emerging trend, with college professors using Twitter to keep discussions going long after the bell rings.

Some professors even use Twitter to engage students in large lecture halls by fostering a running online dialogue during class.

"It changes the dynamic of the way people teach and the way people learn," Monte Lutz, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, told the newspaper. "It encourages people to connect with each other. It can be almost a Socratic dialogue, in real time, in the class."

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Facebook Keeps Students Connected

Bettina Moss, an assistant professor at National University, turned to Facebook when it came time to spread the word about her school's newly launched online MFA degree program in professional screenwriting.

Moss also uses Facebook to pass along relevant news and links to her students that don't fit into particular course content.

"With online learning," she says, "the biggest challenge is, 'How do you make people feel connected?'"

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Colleges Turn To Mobile Apps

In 2008, two Stanford University sophomores built a free iPhone application for their school.

Their technology quickly spread to more than 50 schools and universities, allowing students to access campus maps, read course descriptions, email their professors, and receive school news and sports scores on their phones.

Already available on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Blackberry devices, some of the newer features in development include the ability to check grades, submit homework, and browse, add, and drop courses on a secure network.

Kayvon Beykpour, one of the students who helped create the technology, has reportedly made millions. He's due to graduate in 2010 with a degree in computer science.

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Nursing Apps Help Students Master The Field

If you're thinking about nursing school, you're probably aware that one of the biggest challenges for nurses is the sheer volume of information that a nurse must master.

While there's no substitute for experience and study, many nurses and nursing students use Epocrates, a free suite of mobile apps that enables users to search for symptoms and infectious diseases, check medication dosage, and cross-reference drug interactions and possible side-effects.

Trauma nurse specialist Andrew Bowman told Scrubs magazine, "I could not function professionally or personally without my handheld devices to help me manage all the things that I have to do."

Search now for local and online Nursing degree programs.

Business School Apps Focus On Management

Business school is no exception to the "there's an app for that" phenomenon.

  • For those getting their associate's or bachelor's degree in business, iStudiez Pro is a task manager designed to help busy students keep track of classes, study sessions, lectures, and assignments.
  • Meanwhile, currency converter applications give international business students up-to-the-minute foreign exchange rates.
  • There's also the Clear Admit MBA Planner to help you sort through your MBA application requirements and deadlines.

Search for Business degree programs now.

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