Benefits and Challenges of Using Social Media in the Classroom


  • Learn new digital literacy skills
  • Improve knowledge retention & understanding
  • Increase class participation and motivate students
  • Build community; connect students to each and the global community
  • Become an effective member of an online community
  • Improve student writing (through writing for peers, feedback)
  • Learn a different style of writing
  • Go beyond text, e.g., images, video, design
  • Take classroom knowledge public
  • Let students show their personality
  • Improve student attitudes towards the course content
  • Digital citizenship
  • Global competency
  • Internationalizing learning in Global Classrooms where instructors and students teach and learn with peers abroad using Internet-based technologies for communication


Instructors cannot make assumptions about students’ proficiency with social media. Student proficiency must be taken into account when designing activities.  For example, they may be proficient at communicating informally, but may not fully comprehend what is required to critically assess information, engage with information and present findings in an academic environment. Other challenges include:

  • Lack of technology skills or support
  • Online abuse
  • Time required to monitor

There are steps that can be taken to help address some of these challenges. For instance, activities and assessments should be designed carefully, based on appropriate learning outcomes. Comments and posts on social media platforms are public. Have a discussion with your students about communication expectations, boundaries and what is not acceptable. Lastly, to help prevent online abuse, students should also be reminded that online behaviour is subject to the Student Code of Conduct.  To discuss these challenges and possible solutions, as well as for ideas on supporting students’ use of critical thinking skills, instructors may wish to request a consultation with the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation.

See also:

Tips for Online Assessment (CTSI – PDF)

Designing Assignments and Presenting them to Students (Writing Centre)

Key Questions
Think about issues you may encounter in teaching with social media, or that your students may face in using social media in your course. Brainstorm 1-2 actions that can:

  • Decrease the likelihood that these issues will occur in your course
  • Address problems if they do occur