Monday, 10 August 2015

Cross-cultural social media for tertiary education

When I talk to students and colleagues in New Zealand about social media, tools like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter are the first to be mentioned. However, in a global sense, the most densely populated social media platforms may be unfamiliar to many kiwis. For example, second only to market-leader Facebook is QQ, with 829 million active users. While Twitter is my go-to personally and professionally, there are two-three times as many million users on QZone and WeChat, which I have only recently heard of.

What do QQ, QZone and WeChat have in common?
Alongside Sina Weibo, Renren, PengYou and, these are a glimpse of the social media of China

I'm keen to learn more about cross-cultural diversity in social media and applications to tertiary education.

On Wednesday, 12 August, a group of staff from the University of Waikato will meet with visitors from Zhejiang University City College and Hebei University of Science and technology. We will meet to exchange ideas about the use of social media in tertiary contexts in our own countries and across international boundaries.

Participants are invited to share and discuss any aspects of social media use, related to learning, research, recruitment, and other professional activities. This is an opportunity to meet with international colleagues and discuss different networks and ways of communicating. While many people use social media recreationally to keep in touch with family and friends, increasingly, the tools are used by students and professionals to network and learn in ways that complement study and career focuses.

There are dangers related to privacy and professional reputation, when students and teachers use social media. There are also great benefits, including:
  • extending learning beyond the classroom
  • marketing professional skills
  • sustaining professional development and lifelong learning.

As we meet during this lunchtime, as part of our regular brown bag lunch session, I hope we'll share, compare and contrast our ideas about social media, and consider:
  • How is social media used in our countries and within our respective cultural contexts?
  • How is social media used in educational contexts?
  • In what ways might social media be used to expand your own professional online presence and learning network?
  • In what ways might social media be used for teaching and learning purposes with your students?

We hope our visiting colleagues might compare the likes of Sina Weibo with Twitter, in preparation for our upcoming special issue in eLearning and Digital Media.

We welcome these international contributions. 
If you are in Hamilton on Wednesday, we welcome you to join us too:

Wednesday 12 August
Seminar Room, University Lodge (ULS)
144 Knighton Road

I hope to share an update on my learning in my next post.


  1. I hope this will be a very rich conversation all. Missing the 'Brown Bag lunches'! I have a colleague who is currently doing her PhD on educational uses of Twitter, so I'll refer her to this blog.

  2. Great, thanks Pip :-) Please do son and ask your colleague to introduce herself to us. She might be interested in our upcoming special issue in ELDM, perhaps she'd like to write an article for it. Thanks again, Dianne