How Social Media Plays A Role In Promoting Online Learning

Professionals with educational needs tend to use YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, for accessing, creating, and consuming information.

“You don’t have to be the best, you just have to be better than everyone else.”

Last week, I took my undergraduate honors survey exam. At that moment, I felt like I might burst into tears. It was heavy and focused me.

For many young women, completing the exam is a milestone on their journey to college. I wondered: How would the exam change me? I’m not sure it would, but I was excited to give it my best shot.

You don’t have to be the best, you just have to be better than everyone else.

The exam consists of answers and asks three questions. While I was preparing my answer to question #1, I thought about it in relation to an article I read recently about Tom Brady, the former quarterback of the New England Patriots and current owner of a football team in the state of Massachusetts.

According to the author, Brady’s attitude shifted as he began playing the field for the first time in college at the University of Michigan. As Brady brought himself to play, he grew stronger and formed a solid attitude about what he wanted and where he wanted to go. He never became complacent.

For many female students, college can be a frustrating time. Often, we start out feeling academically weak. Of course, no one wants to hear this, but we do. When we fail, we lose. Yet, sometimes, we pursue and excel despite these odds. It takes all of our hard work and smarts to succeed.

According to NASA, “Distance is the fundamental barrier to interstellar flight and interplanetary travel in general. These are objectives that may be a decade or more away from achievement at most, and even then, only to the point where the conditions for achieving such goals may be sufficiently favorable.” The book, The Zero-Day Initiative, details projects at NASA and elsewhere that are taking control of human spaceflight out of outer space and back into the lab. Science fiction, indie science-fiction movies, and entrepreneurs seeking to unlock the potential of artificial intelligence are among those realizing the goal that a simple hair ring could unlock space travel.

To get there, the first step is to recognize the irrationalities that hold us back. Our confidence and work ethic in spite of setbacks is what fuels us to dig deeper and ultimately achieve our goals. Here are some other ways social media can help.

Men’s and women’s voices speak equally, but they tend to be heard slightly differently. Yet, they are often equally passionate about the same things. As these voices are given the same platform, they begin to coalesce.

How do you reach readers, friends, and online audiences? If you have a picture of yourself in a bikini, does that represent your current state of mind? Who are your online followers? Do they have the same interests as you? What things do they think you should do differently? Can you do those things in your spare time if you had time to do them? What are some reasonable steps you can take toward achieving your goals?

At University of Vermont, we regularly comment on students’ Facebook posts. We encourage them to speak to us so that they know we are interested in their voices.

It’s part of the community.

Social media can amplify the voices of marginalized groups such as women, people of color, or those who have been marginalized in the past.

As students, we have opportunities to reshape society and help reshape our own futures through greater engagement with people who have never looked like us or might not have spoken up before. We have the power to impact online learning, but we first have to cultivate our voice, identity, and passion to do so.

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