Use social media for academic benefit, communications consultant

Written by: 
Samuel Kamugisha

The editor of the online media division of the East African Community, Mr. Edward Ssekalo, has advised students to use social media to foster academic excellence.
In an email interview recently, Mr. Ssekalo said that social media could help overcome physical barriers among students if used well.
“Students could rely on social media platforms to form virtual discussion groups, hence eliminating the need to meet physically for academic discourse,” he said, adding, “That would enable them to surmount barriers to academic engagements that would normally be created by distance and unfavourable meeting times.”
Mr. Ssekalo, who is also the former editor for Daily Monitor online, advised that such social media platforms could be used for information sharing and peer reviews. “Think of student-generated tutorials on sites like YouTube, which they can then go ahead to share extensively,” he said. “Think about the potential benefit of facebook pages created for different study areas where students post academic works for peer review,” he added.
Mr. Fred Kakooza, the labs, equipment and website coordinator at the Department of Journalism and Communication, emphasized that social media platforms could offer opportunities for academic practice. “Social media and the Internet offer a chance for one to publish, even if it is an audio or video,” he said, adding, “Students only need to take the initiative to use these media.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Umaru Bagampadde, the dean, school of engineering, said that students can utilize the social media platforms to transfer notes but expressed dismay at the misuse of such platforms. “The problem is that students such platforms in a mature way. They (students) use social media to go for things like pornography, which are not useful to them,” he said.
Robert Lubajo, a second year student of Bio-medical laboratory technology, admits that students do not use social media for academic purposes. “Students do not use social media for academic purposes. They use it for dating and sharing pornographic material,” he said.
Social media platforms like facebook, twitter, YouTube and blogs have become avenues of communication, especially among the youths, students inclusive. These have been made possible by improvements in technology. However, many think that students are misusing such platforms and that there is need to use them to foster academic excellence.