Student Affairs

2012 Virtual Case Study (VCS) Scenario

You are an Assistant Director of Student Activities at Middle College (MC), a small, private residential college with an enrollment of approximately 1500 students. MC is located in a rural area in the Midwest. Your institution is known for its business and other professional programs and prides itself on job placement rates upon graduation.

There are two "camps" at MC who have differing opinions about social media and how it should be utilized at MC. First, there is a powerful group of faculty who argue that cutting edge technology is essential to an MC educational experience. Some of these key faculty are creatively using social media in their classes. You and your student activities colleagues are very interested in being on the cutting edge of using social media to enhance student engagement. In fact, most of the student clubs and organizations on campus use social media to engage members.

The MC president, however, is less excited about the university move toward increased social media usage. He rarely uses email and believes in the power of "face to face" communication and networking.

He reads the paper edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education and regularly cites examples of misuse or abuse with technology that he remembers from the news. He is very concerned about what he calls incidents of "electronic incivility" among MC students. You are aware of a few instances where some rival MC campus groups have used social media to be critical of each other. The President also worries about how electronic images of students "having fun" might come back to haunt them in an internship or job search process.

The key faculty who want to promote social media on campus have invited you (and your student affairs colleagues), and the director of campus communications (Kim Brown) to form an MC social media committee. At one of the first meetings, the group discussed the creation of a possible "home base" for the university's social media presence. Kim and the Dean of Admissions are interested creating a site that shows prospective and current students all of the creative ways technology and social media are being used in the curriculum and co-curriculum at MC.

Given his feelings about technology and social media, the President was hesitant to support a home base or any official MC promotion of social media. He agreed to allow the group to proceed on one condition; the committee had to create a website where current students could learn not only about the benefits of using social media in the curriculum and co-curriculum, but also some of the challenges. Specifically, he wants MC students to be informed about the potential consequences of posting social or unprofessional comments and images. He has also charged the committee with the creation a set of guidelines (or electronic civility pledge) for MC students and a set of consequences for inappropriate use.

Your task is to create an engaging and informative PowerPoint (or PDF) presentation (but not Prezi). Literature and best practices should inform your work.


  • highlight the effective and cutting edge ways social media can be used for student learning and co-curricular development on campus.
  • help educate students about the President's concerns about "professional consequences" and "incivility" in a developmentally appropriate and creative manner that does not "turn off" students.