Teaching Use of Social Media as a Public Health Education & Advocacy Tool
Presentation to the 2017 American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting and Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia
Posted: 4 Feb 2018
Date Written: November 6, 2017
Today’s public health students interact with social media on a daily basis. Most students use a social media tool such as Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin on a daily basis. Yet few students know how to use social media in order to convey critical public health research findings, organize community groups or advocate policy needs. This study explores the use of scaffolding to teach public health students how to use social media to conduct research, draft findings and present complex public health ideas in a manner accessible to the general public. Scaffolding techniques were used in three courses over six semesters. Students were required to work in groups to create a white paper, blogs, a website and tweets. Students were given periodic surveys to assess the experience. The study concludes that scaffolding is an effective means to teach public health students how to use social media as a supplement to traditional research to publish findings, sway opinions and promote public health.
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