USING INSTAGRAM TO INCREASE UNIVERSITY EDUCATIONAL SKILLS. THE PROFESSORS’ POINT OF VIEW
Universidad de Sevilla (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Social media (SM) is a collective term for websites and applications that focus on communication, content-sharing, and interaction, being used mainly by young people. People use social media to stay in touch and interact with friends, family and various communities’, e.g. university colleagues. Instagram is one of the main SM used by university students that allows sharing post visual content (images and videos) with written captions — text-only posts can't be shared on Instagram. The objective of this study was to bring the use of Instagram closer to teachers so that they better understand the way in which students process information, acquire new skills related to SM and expand their teaching methodologies.
14 professors from the Department of Physiology at the School of Pharmacy, University of Seville, created an institutional Instagram account (@fisiofarma_us) where undergraduate students could regularly post on common health topics related to Physiology. The activity was addressed to students of 4 Physiology courses taught in Pharmacy, Optics-Optometry or dual Pharmacy&Optics-Optometry degrees during academic year 2021-2022. Student participation was voluntary and accounted for up to an additional 5% of their final scores. Professors would explain all the activity details at the beginning of the semester and supervise all the process and information until the eventual publication of the posts. Students prepared short videos to be uploaded on @fisiofarma_us. The number of interactions and views of the posts were monitored; finally, a survey related to the acquisition of new skills was conducted among professors and students.
The results of the skills acquisition survey showed that both professors and students considered that the main competencies acquired by the latter with this activity were “the ability to find essential information on a given topic” (40% and 43%, respectively), followed by “computer improvements” (17% and 20%, respectively). Interestingly, the third skill ranked by professors was “autonomy work” (14%), while students selected “teamwork” (12%). It is important to analyse this discrepancy together with the fact that, in general, students tend to select mainly questions related to their final grades, whereas teachers prioritized those related to student learning. Finally, professors considered that they had improved in three main skills with this activity: the ability to understand the social context in which students develop (24%); to be aware of how information reaches students on a regular basis (24%); and to learn how to introduce SM in the university teaching (24%).
From the professors’ point of view, the regular use of Instagram can be a useful strategy to bring academic concepts closer to the students with an alternative approach. The experience was satisfactory in terms of improving teachers´ ability to understand how information reaches students regularly, and encouraged them to incorporate the use of Instagram and other SM into teaching.
Keywords: Instagram Account, University, Educational Skills, Professors, Teaching Methodologies.