Social Media for Engaging Your Students and Growing Your Program

Track Room Location: H139 (Heritage Hall)

Online Lessons:

Lessons we’ll be exploring (although we’ll look at the Instructor versions):

Presentation slides:

Conversation Prism:

What It Means to Become a Socially Enabled Enterprise: STUDY



Articles & Guides:

Social Media to engage online students


Cross-Platform Publishing Tools (From STEP Lesson 1)

Many, but not all, social media platforms above can be managed through a central platform such as those listed below. For example, you can link Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts to your HootSuite account and then create and manage all posts through HootSuite instead of individual social media accounts. This can save time, ensure consistency, and keep you organized. One of the key features of a cross-platform publishing tool is that you can schedule future postings ahead of time. So, for example, you could schedule a post to appear on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ on a specific date and time via your HootSuite account, and HootSuite will post the content on those social media platforms for you at that designated future time. You will not need to even log into your social media accounts to complete the posting, as everything will be done through HootSuite. As already mentioned, not all social media platforms are supported by HootSuite, so if you choose to use Pinterest, for example, you will not be able to manage it through HootSuite or other cross-platform publishing websites.
The links below provide instructions for creating a new account and tips for the effective use of the platform.



You probably use social media every day for connecting with friends and family, but have you used it to promote your class or your program, to connect with other colleagues, or to engage students? This workshop will explore two online modules on building an identity, or brand, and connecting with potential and current students (your audience) as well as colleagues in your fields. These modules cover strategy, preparation, social media tools, and assessing success, and include guidance and examples of good practice. We’ll also look at models from other community colleges and learn from your own experiences. By the end of the workshop you will have chosen a social media objective and will have a plan for addressing it. You’ll be welcome to work in teams or individually.

After the workshop you are also invited to use the online lessons with your students. Designed to teach important social media skills within the context of real life, workplace problems, they were developed by into three versions – instructor materials, self-directed student, and problem-based learning – by Education Development Center (EDC), with the support of a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technology Education initiative (NSF-ATE)

This is a hands-on workshop.




Heidi Larson
Project Director, Education Development Center

Heidi Larson specializes in virtual education, online collaboration, educational technology, and professional development. For over 10 years, she has advanced the efforts of EDC initiatives in these and other key aspects of education reform.

Larson is the State Outreach and Cross-REL/Technical Assistance (TA) Coordinator for the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands. In this role she oversees, promotes, tracks, and reports on overall state and TA center outreach, needs assessment, and collaboration, and oversees REL-NEI’s popular Reference Desk. In addition, she is a TA liaison and education technology community of practice lead for the Investing in Innovation Fund TA program, led by Westat, and is developing online instructional modules about the use of social media in growing a business for EDC’s Social Technology Enabled Professional program.

Previously, as the co-director of the Virtual Education Initiative for the New England Comprehensive Center, Larson helped education decision-makers understand the benefits and challenges of virtual and blended learning and develop strategies for advancing programs. She has also worked on research and evaluation projects at EDC, including studies on the impact of technology in math and on professional development as well as opinions and attitudes toward open-source online assessment delivery platforms.

Larson’s key interest is in how mobile technology and social media can benefit teaching and learning for educators and administrators. To this end, she co-developed and co-facilitated an online course assisting teachers in building the language skills of English learners; is helping an adult ESL school use students’ mobile devices to further their learning outside of class; is a co-instructor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in the Technology, Innovation, and Education program; and has presented at numerous conferences on these topics.

In 2012 and 2013, Larson was honored into the Consortium of School Networking Volunteer Hall of Fame for her work on the Leadership for Mobile Learning Initiative. (Read a blog post by Larson about the evolving role of mobile devices in education.) She is also a reviewer for, and on the board of, her local education foundation, and is the chair of a local scholarship fund for high school seniors.

Before joining EDC, Larson was an adult computer instructor, an educational software reviewer, and a postsecondary online education professional development instructor. She has developed numerous websites and online courses for small businesses.

Larson received a BA from Colby College and an EdM from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She has certificates in online course facilitation from Cerro Coso Online and website technologies from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Project Director, Education Development Center (EDC)

Three Objectives

1. Learn about examples and strategies for using social media to promote your class or program, connect with colleagues, and engage your students
2. Develop a social media action plan
3. Explore two online social media lessons for your own use and/or for use with your students


Day 1:

        • Share your current knowledge, experience with, and use of social media.
        • Identify a goal for your use of social media, potentially around connecting with current students, promoting your course or program to grow its reputation, and/or attracting new students. (Other goals can be chosen as well.)
        • Determine whether you’d like to work in teams or individually, and divide into teams and roles. (This can change during the workshop.)
        • Review the two online modules to determine the information contained within.
        • Learn about real-life examples of programs working to develop their reputation and client base.
        • Share with each other your own experiences, with or without social media.
        • Start working through your chosen lesson and other materials on your plan.


Day 2:

        • Review of the progress you have made, challenges you are encountering or that you foresee, and questions you have.
        • Discuss potential solutions or strategies for addressing the challenges.
        • Continue working through the lesson and on your plan.
        • Begin developing a 5-minute presentation showcasing the challenge, goal, and your social media strategy.

Day 3:

      • Finish up and present your plans
      • Browse through the third topic: STEP 3: Knowledge Sharing within your Organization.
      • Celebrate your valuable work!