The math department is using social media to build community
With small class sizes and plenty of open space for students to work in, the mathematics department has long sought to build a community that unites both students and faculty. So it’s only natural to strengthen that community with an increasing use of social media.
In the past few years, the department has started a Facebook group for math majors, which now has about 200 members. This is an excellent way to get information to students quickly; recent posts include some reminders about registration as well as upcoming events and newly posted jobs and internships. At the same time, students use the group to communicate with one another about a variety of topics.
In addition, the mathematics department currently maintains a YouTube account with a growing collection of informational videos. For instance, Robert Talbert has been busy creating screencasts that offer tutorials on using Maple and the mathematical typesetting program LaTeX. While these screencasts are valuable to Grand Valley students, many views are coming from students at other institutions. In the future, videos of recent seminars will be posted as well as a collection of course-related materials.
Besides Facebook and YouTube, the department is actively using accounts on Twitter and Google+. Of the 73 people who currently follow the department’s Twitter account, many are outside the university community, including local teachers and some organizations at other universities. As Robert Talbert explains, “It’s important to build relationships with the outside world, and we are using electronic media to help do that.”
John Golden and Robert Talbert are the faculty members responsible for maintaining the department’s social media presence. Please contact one of them if you have any questions. Until then, we’ll see you online.