IN CONVERSATION: Emerging Role of Social Media To Improve Learning & Pedagogy
ASMA: Do you think social media has changed the way academia operated earlier?
Dr. C.N Narayana: Social Media is changing the whole world; in fact the way academia is going to operate in future is fully dependent on social media. There’s a myth among students and faculty members that social media may not be good for academic institutions, but I would like to differ from that, in fact it is going to have a huge impact of driving academia towards blended learning. So as a Professor, I would look at social media as an opportunity for blended learning. Wherever people talk about social media, they normally connect to Facebook or WhatsApp, but it has actually opened up knowledge management in a big way and the real-time sharing happens through social media. I am talking about assimilation of knowledge and dissemination of knowledge, so I look at social media much beyond Facebook & WhatsApp. There are blogs, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Quora, there are so many things to which knowledge is shared. People have to understand the collective system of social media and also use effectively for academia.
ASMA: What would be the level of impact according to you has happened on academia by social media?
Dr. C.N Narayana: I would say it is yet to improve. But, generally the critics look at social media as a performance issue for students saying that the used focus on learning and the retention of knowledge is poor when people are looking at social media. There are professors who are talking about people when they looking and learning about social media should not look at sites. But I see it in a different way, in the sense social media is here to stay. If it is here to stay, then what are the things I should look at academia? Adding value, looking at social media and bolster the positives of social media, looking at the content of social media, technology should be coupled with social media in learning process and we need to come out of the myth that traditional classroom is going to be the only for learning, in fact, it has to reduce and social media has to bring in true technology and effective tools to teach students better and also to learn better through social media.
ASMA: What are the different facets where your organization uses social media? What are the different platforms?
Dr. C.N Narayana: I am looking for a judicial mix, a blend of social media with classroom teaching, I am not saying to dilute the rigor of academics, keep the rigor and at the same time use effectively as an enabler for the transformation of change for any institution apart for KM’s. We are looking at currently Facebook, Blogs, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and Whatsapp is used in high volume, but I don’t see that’s effective. But in the days to come, you will see that people will be testing Whatsapp for running the course and that day is not so far.
ASMA: What kind of pedagogical improvements social media has caused in your organization?
Dr. C.N Narayana: Professors especially think that taking social media sites during learning will result in weak performances in students, but I see a sizeable amount of pedagogical change in the near future and in KM’s I see that the fine tuning happens of the curriculum and I also take into account that social media impacts, what are the things we need to do other what we are currently doing in social media practices and also use effectively for KM’s students.
ASMA: What are the different modes where the teaching learning process which use social media at your Institute?
Dr. C.N Narayana: We are using Blogs for sector-specific knowledge sharing and the professionals as well as the professors come and share knowledge in the specific field, be it Marketing, HR, Finance and students are also allowed to post through their clubs on specific area of marketing, HR, Finance and other areas of operations. In this way there is a dissemination of knowledge and people learn new things and students are well prepared and I am also trying to integrate the space basics which are LMS systems used in KM’s through announcements, sharing issues related to academic & administrative activities, so I am planning to integrate this as well as innovation suite which is going to be launched very soon wherein I am going to integrate the technology plus administration and academic activities. So this is how we can actually gain some advantage out of social media.
ASMA: Are there any qualified and dedicated teams for managing social media atSICSR?
Dr. C.N Narayana: We began our social media management through Esquire, one of our partners in the beginning, but to be honest, we have got a fully fledged team who are headed by me and with the IT head Mr. Gururaj and professionals in SEO, SEM also we create and monitor and improve on a continuous basis on these things. So SEO is one thing we should look at critically and also SEM related to the marketing activities of KM’s.
ASMA: What are the important aspects of calculating ROI on social media investment in an academic organization?
Dr. C.N Narayana: When you talk about social media you look at the long term impact, so I look at social media as a branding activity but that doesn’t mean I am not going to look at the short term. Probably I will look at the number of visitors, traffic on our websites, likes on our Facebook page and how many interactions and postings are coming on the page as well as its related fields. But, from student’s perspective, I look at it that at the end it must improve upon the CTPA of the batch. That means, in every batch if I am able to improve my CTPA or the whole batch, I think I am doing some justice given in learning processes.
ASMA: Which are the domains where social media is playing a crucial role in success of an organization which has admissions, placements, alumni, teaching, learning etc?
Dr. C.N Narayana: I am not looking at social media only for admissions; I am looking at social media for all these activities. For placement season, I would probably look at using social media at a 75% level, whereas I will tone down other activities. Same in admission season, I will look at a higher percentage of using social media related to admission. So, it is also used effectively in PGDM that means I am looking at a basketful of things coming out of social media impacting KM’s growth. So planning is ultimate thing that can happen in social media.
ASMA: What are your views on traditional marketing initiatives VS social media marketing initiatives and how the balancing between the two is done at your institute?
Dr. C.N Narayana: The impact of social media is continuously there and the effect needs to be measured every time. But there is no simple or easy formula of a success story. It also depends on what level your institute is in. For e.g.: Somebody is in top 50, who are your audiences? You should look at that and look at what level of social media penetration is required? So it depends on the level of institution.
ASMA: What would your suggestions be for the academic institutes for adopting social media tools?
Dr. C.N Narayana: It is a necessary evil and change is a continuous process and everybody has to be a part of the change. If it is so, you better live with it and if I have to live with social media than I have to see what benefit I can get out of it while living with it. That means I need to continuously improve upon my performance in social media, so I am looking at social media in a big way and every institution who is involved in this process are going to be successful in the near future. As I mentioned earlier, it is very clear that lots of things are going to change for all facets including students, faculty members and the education in India.