I have worked as a qualitative researcher as a PhD candidate at UC Davis. As a researcher, I used qualitative interview- and artifact-based case study research to understand how college professors integrated social media into their writing courses in ways that deeply supported their individual, institutional, and disciplinary learning goals. Oftentimes, we assume that new technologies such as social media are just bells and whistles–mere add-ons to the real pedagogical work of teaching.
However, my dissertation showed that this was not the case for the instructors in this study. I took three face-to-face First-Year Composition courses, and took several occasions to extensively interview the instructor of record (all 3 were Assistant Professors in 3 different regions of the United States). I also collected artifacts from the courses, such as syllabi and assignment instructions. Finally, I interviewed about 3 students in each instructor’s FYC course. Through these methodologies, analyzed in depth through qualitative coding methods rooted in grounded theory, I was able to uncover that these instructors’ use of social media in class was not at all a haphazard “add-on” to their pedagogy. Rather, the use of social media was deeply connected to the professors’ individual, institutional, and disciplinary goals for first-year composition.