Story by Larissa Wurm
Photo by Luke Nankivell
If you’re at all active on Twitter (and follow a number of Drake students), more than likely, your newsfeed fills up with tweets with hashtags such as #DrakeSocial, #J66 and #J70.
Drake professors utilize social media platforms to get students more involved and engaged in
“I’ve used a hashtag for four of my classes at Drake,” Abby Bedore, senior public relations major, said. “Most recently, I’ve used #DrakeSocial for my social media strategies class.
“It’s partially for our assignment, which is posting a social media related link with that hashtag twice a week, but using a hashtag allows the class to track what links other students are posting so we can find articles related to what we learn in class,” Bedore said. “I think the hashtag has the potential to really enhance what we learn in class.”
“The purpose of using the hashtags in class is to introduce the students to a new way of getting information,” Kayla Day, sophomore politics and public relations major, said. “I personally like using hashtags in class because I’m getting graded to tweet, which I’m always
“I think it’s also a good way for people not in the class to still follow what we’re doing and learn from it, too,” Bedore said.
School trips and seminars, such as the magazine department’s recent trip to New York, used a hashtag as well, along with the J-term seminar that was in Washington, D.C. for
“When we went to D.C., the class used #DrakeinDC whenever we posted on Twitter or Instagram so that alumni, students and our families could see what we were up to,” Bedore said. “It was a good way to see what other students were talking about, too. It’s fun to see a classmate’s photos or perspective on
“It’s a chance for me to make sure students are engaging in the news throughout the semester,” Lori Blachford, a journalism professor who uses hashtags for her J66 class, “Media Responsibility,” said. “We can also use it to follow special events together
as a group.”
“The big payoff for me is to talk to students individually about how effective their tweets are because it is going to be expected wherever they work,” Blachford said.
While it does encourage students to be more involved with the news and engaging with others on Twitter, tweet requirements can be a lot for students.
“Sometimes if more than one class is demanding hashtags, students may feel like that’s all they do,” Blachford said.
“I think other classes should utilize hashtags because it’s a different way to get students involved and using a medium that most people are already using on a daily basis,” Day said.
One student doesn’t find tweeting for class as easy as other students may.
“My grade should not be dependent on my ability to properly use Twitter,” Randy Kane, sophomore public relations major, said. “I should be tested and graded on my actual writing of papers and not what I post online.”
“It’s frustrating that my class grade should be based on use of social media, especially when it’s not a social media class,”
“It’s not difficult for anybody really,” Blachford said. “It’s all about whether they will sign in or not. They have the option to discontinue once they are out of that class. It doesn’t matter where you stand on Twitter, it’s a place where news is being broken. It’s your chance to be engaged.”
“It’s just like any other assignment, if they don’t tweet, it’s to their own detriment,” Blachford said. “They have to understand what these social media platforms are.”
Blachford does issue a warning with tweeting
“One year, early on, the lesson was proved in that I warned the students that if I followed them, I would see all their tweets,” Blachford said. “During one class, I called up Twitter lists to show people what was coming up. When I called up the class lists, I see ‘And that’s where the excitement ends. #boredboredbored.’ So, I see all the tweets. I see your drunken tweets, tweeting during class tweets, skipping during class tweets.”