Most undergraduate students arrive on campus fluent in electronic communication methods and social media (SM). This cultural or communication shift presents both opportunities and challenges in pedagogy. Social media allows users to share and network with geographically diverse individuals and has the potential for engaging students both inside and outside of the classroom. Used inappropriately, SM may be a disruption and distraction to a classroom environment and academic progress. With so many undergraduates using SM, and the potential for engaging students with SM, a survey was conducted to assess student SM utilization and preferences. The survey was administered to >300 undergraduates enrolled in turf science over 2 consecutive years. The results supported the hypothesis that a very high percent, >95%, of students are using electronic technologies and SM to communicate. Students indicated that the SM application they used most was Facebook, but the number using Twitter was rising. Their primary reason for using SM was, “To keep in touch with family and friends” and students were increasingly accessing SM on mobile devices. Although most students are using electronic communication methods, the majority indicated they still “prefer” to communicate with friends and family face-to-face or in person. These results have direct implications on learning environments and provide insight for educators attempting to engage their students, perhaps by incorporating SM into their instructional techniques and content delivery.
Impact Statement In this era of rapid advances in electronic technology, the methods by which current undergraduate students, communicate, share and learn continues to evolve rapidly. Students regularly use social media platforms like Twitter (a micro-blogging application) on their mobile devices to communicate and share information and experiences. This study assessed how undergraduates were using technology with a focus on learning. This information can help instructors better connect with their students and enhance the learner-center classroom environments.