Bayh College of Education turns to social media to connect with students

January 28, 2011

Knowing that students visit social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis, graduate student Karla Foster decided to use both to keep students in the Bayh College of Education informed about important events and dates.

Foster, an academic adviser, decided to start the Facebook and Twitter pages after brainstorming retention ideas with other faculty and staff in the education student services office.

Brad Balch, dean of the Bayh College of Education, believes that being ‘connected' is a key to strong retention.

"It will get important information into student hands in whichever way is most accessible and comfortable for the student," Balch said.

Posts on the social media sites include upcoming events such as advisement or study sessions, important dates, and fun questions to keep the students engaged.

"It's difficult to say if it will be a significant impact," Balch said. "However, by ensuring that students receive important information that impacts their ability to enter the teacher education program and to be aware of important deadlines and requirements, we may be able to better retain students."

Foster, also a graduate student in ISU's student affairs and higher education program, said she had limited success using students' school email to reach them. By using Facebook and Twitter, she hopes to contact students and help to draw them back.

"We put some of the information on Facebook and Twitter and then we tell them to check their ISU email for specific details," Foster said.

It is apparent that students are noticing the information.

"Students comment on the posts or tell me that they saw the updates," Foster said.

More than 50 students have "liked" the Facebook page and more than 30 students follow the Twitter page since they were created last semester. Those numbers continue to grow as more students discover the pages.

Foster said the staff discussed other ideas to help with retention such as organized study tables, monthly email updates, and incentives for visiting the education student services office.

"Facebook and Twitter were the easiest ideas to get started right away," Foster said.

The Office of Education Student Services is the source of all important information for education majors. All education students are encouraged to "like" the ISU Education Student Services Facebook page and to follow them on Twitter @ISU_ESS.

Writer: Britany Dean, Indiana State University, media relations assistant, at 812-237-3773.