Are you looking for ways to connect with your students?  Meet them where they are- on social media. Christopher Hunn, Associate Director for Undergraduate Matters in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, recently presented on this topic in an Advancing Practice workshop and has shared the following tips to get you started. 

  • Start small, experiment, then grow.  Many advisors find their students already maintain active Facebook pages so they only need to contribute to something existing.  Ask your students and you may find much of the work has already been done.
  • Leverage your peer advisors’ expertise.  Peer advisors will be familiar with your students’ online culture and what is considered acceptable.  Monitoring and engaging social media could be a great project for them—especially since they’re already doing it. 
  • Regardless of which social media portal, ask students to tag you when they have questions.  This will prevent the need to comb through large amounts of content.  Instead, you can click on your tags, address the concerns, and move on!
  • If you are or will be utilizing Facebook for advising, use permalinks.  If you click on the date and time a post was made it will send you to the permanent link for that thread.  You can create a permalink FAQ of living, breathing conversations instead of static canned responses.  We’ve found some threads can go on for years by being revitalized every admissions or telebears cycle (think “What course is best to take with XYZ”).
  • Consider using Piazza.  Piazza is a Q&A platform that’s built for FERPA compliance from the ground up.  Most students already use it for their academic classes, so creating an advising or policy “course” could take off quickly.  Plus, you can manually add students to the group so there’s no concern over “recruiting”.  Add your student roster and you have an instant community—though you’ll still need to foster buy in.