What Do Students Think of Social Media in the Classroom?

designer-in-action-93129-mIt may not come as much of a shock to hear that young adults go on social media the most. According to Pew Research Center’s , 87% of Facebook users are between 18 and 29. As social media has become more popular, educators have jumped on board as well. A 2013 study done by Pearson Learning Solutions and the Babson Survey Research Group found that of the 8,000 faculty surveyed, 41% used social media as a teaching tool. But just how useful do students actually find social media in the classroom? Stacy Neier and Linda Tuncay Zayer explore this topic in their article “Students’ Perceptions and Experiences of Social Media in Higher Education” from Journal of Marketing Education.

The abstract:

Recent research has discussed the opportunities associated with the use of social media tools in the classroom, but has JME(D)_72ppiRGB_powerpointnot examined the perceptions students themselves hold about its usefulness in enhancing their educational experience. This research explores students’ perceptions of social media as an effective pedagogical tool. Undergraduate students in a midsized, private university taking a marketing course were surveyed about their social media usage and preferences as well as their perceptions regarding the use of social media in higher education. Additional qualitative data collection with students probed into motivations for social media use in education as well as instructor and university perceptions. Findings reveal openness to using social media in education, uncover interactive and information motives for its use, and offer theoretical and pedagogical implications. Importantly, we offer insights into how educators can strategically incorporate social media tools into the classroom as well as how the use of social media can potentially affect students’ views of the instructor and the university.

Click here to read “Students’ Perceptions and Experiences of Social Media in Higher Education” from Journal of Marketing Education. Want to have all the latest research like this sent directly to your inbox? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Michael Pratt on Best Practices for Hiring Colleagues

handshake-communication-284089-mRateMyProfessor.com is an invaluable tool used by many college students when registering for classes. In just a few clicks, one can receive information on the helpfulness, clarity, easiness and even “hotness” of a professor. Unfortunately for academics looking to hire a colleague, things aren’t quite as easy. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, this is made even more difficult when one considers that the number of Ph.D. graduates continues to grow, but the number of jobs available remains unchanged. So how can academics make sure that the candidate in front of them is the best fit for the job? Michael G. Pratt explores this problem in his essay “Assessing Candidate Quality: Lessons From Ethnography (and Accountants)” from Journal of Management Inquiry.

From the introduction:

There have been numerous repudiations of what is referred to as an “audit culture” in our profession by our peers (Walsh, 2011, p. 217; see also Baum, 2012; Macdonald & Kam, JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpoint2011), and I confess that my initial motivation for this “Provocations and Provocateurs” entry was to spend the entire article on the numerous ways we get it wrong when it comes to making critical judgments about assessing the quality of scholars and scholarship at critical junctures (e.g., hiring, annual reviews, promotion, tenure). However, a few things quickly became apparent. First, we already know a lot about what is wrong with such assessments—and have known them for some time. I will add a bit to what has been said, but on the whole, I do not think I have much new to add. Second, the topic is enormous, so I picked hiring as an example of the issues we face writ large. Third, there is much more written about problems than solutions and I was raised to not complain unless I had some idea about how to make things better. So I decided to ask myself what, if anything, I could add about addressing shortcomings regarding how we assess people—especially during hiring. The net result of these ponderings, dear reader, is in your hands (or on your screen) right now.

You can read “Assessing Candidate Quality: Lessons From Ethnography (and Accountants)” from Journal of Management Inquiry for free by clicking here. Like what you read? Click here to sign up for e-alerts from Journal of Management Inquiry and get all the latest research sent directly to your inbox!

No texting, plz! :)

laptop-and-cellphone-1269437-mIt can be discouraging for instructors who, after taking the time to prepare a lesson plan, find their students texting rather than taking notes in class. Educators across all disciplines and state lines are faced with the dilemma of how to respond. Is it a sign of disrespect or simply the burgeoning of a new generational divide?

A closer look at the numbers shows that the issue isn’t limited to a few problem students. A study conducted by Barney McCoy of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that of the 777 students surveyed, more than 80% admitted to using their phone for non-academic related reasons during class. Undergraduates were the heaviest users, reaching for their phones an average of 11 times per school day, while graduate students came in at an average of 4 uses. Business and Professional Communication Quarterly Editor Melinda Knight discusses this issue in her editorial entitled “What to Do About Texting?”

Right before the first required oral presentation in this class, I asked everyone once again to BPCQ.inddturn phones off and give full attention to each speaker. As I was saying this, one student, whom I had previously asked to stop texting on several occasions, continued to text away until I stopped speaking all together. Usually, this kind of dramatic action will help make everyone aware of the problem, yet for the rest of the semester I had only limited success in convincing students that texting during class and especially when others were giving presentations was not professional behavior. Worse yet, I continually had to answer the same questions from students who did not hear what we had previously discussed because of texting. Perhaps the apparent lack of respect for everyone, instructor and students, is what has bothered me the most about this problem.

You can read “What to Do About Texting?” and the March issue of Business and Professional Communication Quarterly free for the next two weeks! Click here to access the editorial and here to access the Table of Contents. Like what you read? Click here to sign up for e-alerts from Business and Professional Communication Quarterly!

Muhammed Saidul Islam on Why Farmed Fish Costs More Than You Think

fresh-fish-for-sale-1342715-mIf your New Year’s resolution was to eat healthier or lose weight, you mostly likely came across advice to eat more fish. The American Heart Association, for example, recommends 3.5 oz servings of fatty fish two times a week. But things can get a little confusing at the grocery store when you’re faced with the dilemma of getting a piece of salmon labelled “wild caught” or “farmed.” What’s the difference? Why not go with the cheaper option?

In the latest issue of World Future Review, associate editor Rick Docksai interviewed Muhammed Saidul Islam, author of “Confronting the Blue Revolution: Industrial Aquaculture and Sustainability in the Global South.” In the interview on aquaculture business, Docksai and Islam discuss sustainability, workplace conditions, marketing schemes, and more.

In coastal communities throughout the developing world, farmers are WFR_72ppiRGB_powerpointcordoning off swaths of beaches, lakes, and rivers to cultivate stocks of fish, shellfish, and shrimp for markets in the more affluent parts of the globe. These “aquaculture” industries, as the fish farms are known, satisfy a massive global consumer demand for seafood while bringing considerable business profits to the farmers and distributors who make their livelihoods in them. But the business carries a heavy price for the communities in which the aquaculture industries set up shop, according to Muhammed Saidul Islam, an assistant professor of sociology at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Islam investigates the expansion of aquaculture businesses up-close in his new book, Confronting the Blue Revolution: Industrial Aquaculture and Sustainability in the Global South (University of Toronto Press, 2014), and finds widespread destruction of marine estuaries, wetlands, and coastal forests in their wake. What’s more, nearby farmlands and subsistence fishing industries have been ruined as a result of these aquaculture farms, to the point where whole communities have risen up in protests—protests that local governments have often suppressed with shockingly brutal force. Meanwhile, the farms are dependent on large cadres of impoverished workers who suffer many overuse injuries and debilitating infections due to slavishly long hours, poor sanitation, and lack of health care.

You can read “The Hidden Cost of Seafood: An Interview with Muhammed Saidul Islam” from World Future Review. for free by clicking here. Like what you read? Click here to sign up for e-alerts and have all the latest news and research from World Future Review sent directly to your inbox!

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Hollywood’s Gender-Wage Gap

JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpointKaley Cuoco recently learned the hard way to be careful what you say in an interview after her comments on feminism in the February issue of Redbook magazine provoked some harsh criticism from the media and fans alike. When asked if she considered herself a feminist, the 29-year old actress was quoted as saying “Is it bad if I say no? … I was never that feminist girl demanding equality, but maybe that’s because I’ve never really faced inequality.”

If it is true that she hasn’t run up against gender bias in her acting career, Cuoco is a rare case. The New York Film Academy looked at how women are portrayed in the top 500 films between 2007 and 2012 and found that only 30.8% of speaking characters were women, a third of which were shown partially naked or in sexually revealing clothing. They even found that this latter trend increased 32.5% for teenage actresses in the years studied.

What’s more, while the immediate backlash from her comments may have caused Cuoco to go on what she jokingly calls her “apology tour,” the sad truth is if she hasn’t experienced inequality yet, it might just be a matter of time. A recent study published in Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “Age, Gender, and Compensation: A Study of Hollywood Movie Stars” found that a female actor’s age may play an additional role in Hollywood’s gender-wage gap:

The abstract:

Research on the gender-wage gap shows equivocal evidence regarding its magnitude, which likely stems from the different wage-related variables researchers include in their calculations. To examine whether pay differentials solely based on gender exist, we focused on the earnings of top performing professionals within a specific occupation to rule out productivity-related explanations for the gender-wage gap. Specifically, we investigated the interaction of gender and age on the earnings of Hollywood top movie stars. The results reveal that the average earnings per film of female movie stars increase until the age of 34 but decrease rapidly thereafter. Male movie stars’ average earnings per film reach the maximum at age 51 and remain stable after that.

You can read “Age, Gender, and Compensation: A Study of Hollywood Movie Stars” from Journal of Management Inquiry for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this? Click here to sign up for e-alerts from Journal of Management Inquiry!

What Does the Future Hold?

gaia-shine-1158741-mWelcome to 2015! You may have already noticed that the hover boards and flying cars we were promised in “Back to the Future Part II” have failed to appear. There also seems to be a severe lack in the teleportation and time machine department. That summer home on Venus? Better use that money on something a little more practical.

Fortunately, the future is brimming with possibility. All one needs to ask is: what if? That’s what drove the authors in the latest issue of World Future Review. Can genetic modification ensure the survival of humanity? Will the internet evolve into a “global brain”? What role will intelligence machines play in the workforce?

Thomas Simko and Matthew Gray even apply the question of “what if” to the current energy crisis in their article “Lunar Helium-3 Fuel for Nuclear Fusion: Technology, Economics, and Resources.”

The abstract:

Nuclear fusion of helium-3 (3He) can be used to generate electrical power with little or no WFR_72ppiRGB_powerpointradioactive waste and no carbon emissions. Some forty-four tons of this fuel could meet the electricity needs of the United States for a year. Although rare on Earth, an estimated one million tons of 3He has collected on the surface of the moon. While it would cost approximately US$17 billion to develop a mine producing one ton of 3He per year, such an operation is commercially viable over the medium term given the estimated value of that ton of fuel: US$3.7 billion. This article outlines the technical and economic issues related to 3He and its extraction, and it presents a novel approach to estimating the worth of the fuel. The potential of 3He as a future energy source is set in the context of global energy forecasts and international efforts to investigate lunar 3He resources—including a recent Chinese mission.

You can read this issue of World Future Review for free for the next two weeks! Click here to view the Table of Contents. Want to keep up on all the latest research from World Future Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Happy Boxing Day!

gift-box-1115059-mCelebrated in the British Commonwealth, Boxing Day – also known as St. Stephen’s Day – has become a day of sales and shopping comparable to America’s Black Friday in November. But according to TIME Magazine, the origins of Boxing Day remain something of a mystery. Theorists have considered both the older traditions of employers giving their servants end of the year gifts on this day as well as the clergy taking boxes with the money collected from Christmas services and giving alms to the poor as possible origins.

However, some have also turned a hopeful eye to the legend of King Wenceslas. The story goes that in the 9th century, Wenceslas spotted a poor man braving a harsh winter storm to collect fire wood and was moved to battle the snow storm himself to take food and wine to the man’s home. While the truth of this story may be debatable, the custom of giving to the less fortunate during the Christmas season is one which survives to this day.

In the spirit of giving, we’re happy to provide you with the illustration below from the 1879 book of Christmas Carols, New and Old by Henry Ramsden Bramley. We hope your holiday season was filled with warmth and cheer!


By engraving by Brothers Dalziel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (CC PD-1996)