Putting Pinterest to the Test

Queens University of Charlotte and Dr. John A. McArthur were featured on CampusTechnology.com in a story about experimenting with Pinterest in the college classroom. The article highlights the COMM 360: Charlotte and the Convention course and its use of Pinterest as an archive tool.

Below are two excerpts from the article, which can be read in its entirety on CampusTechnology.com

Faculty wanted a way to archive the student experience; so as part of the assignment, participants were asked to chronicle their experiences on Pinterest. According to John McArthur, an assistant professor in the Knight School of Communication at Queens, the faculty are always on the lookout “for what’s next.” …

pinterest-comm360(S)tudents began to view Pinterest as an “online photo gallery as opposed to a real-time updateable site like Twitter or Instagram.” From that perspective, he adds, “it became more of an archive than a timeline.”

With experience, McArthur now believes that Pinterest is best suited for “very niche courses” because it provides a “great opportunity for instructors to create student-generated archives of information related to class material,” less a digital portfolio than a tool students use to share things they come across in the news or online.

For example, he’s currently using it in a class on proxemics to study how space and technology combine. When students come across a particular story that might relate to the topic, they’ll pin it to the class Pinterest board…

McArthur encourages others to just try out the site. “Experimentation is the pathway to innovation with social media in the classroom,” he says. “Explain to [your] students that it’s an experiment we’re trying together, and we’re going to see how it works. Part of the outcome is to learn a social media platform you’re not familiar with–have a good time with it.”

Thanks to Dian Schaffhauser for her interest in our classrooms in the Knight School and thorough reporting. Read more about our Pinterest experiment here.


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