Using #Hashtags in Facebook to Facilitate Teaching and Learning of "Research Methods"
Chun-Sing Johnson Cheung
Teaching and/or learning “research methods” have sometimes (always) been a strenuous task for faculties and torturous experience for students respectively, regardless of the academic discipline one belongs to. In an ordinary course that aims to provide students with an introduction to research methods and to produce an appreciation of the research process, an extraordinary approach was adopted to arouse students’ interest in reading research papers, talking about research methods, disseminating research findings, and connecting with audiences outside the context of traditional classroom. Students were invited to pick three research articles that they found important and interesting from reputable journals and then share a very brief summary or commentary (using not only plain text, but also image or video) via Facebook. By using the same #hashtag (i.e. #SOWK6940), students and their critical friends can respond to the posts and discuss with each other immediately and transparently via the social media platform. For both teachers and students, no prior knowledge of IT is required and this approach can be applied directly to different academic disciplines. #Hashtag is free-of-charge and easy-to-use online tool in many social media platforms. It provides a time-saving and hassle-free option especially for faculties who might have little frustrations in encouraging students to read and talk about research papers. Students’ feedback regarding the pros and cons of this approach will be discussed. Some of their creative applications will also be shared.