Enhancing Criminal Justice Studies Using Social Media

Using social media for learning provides opportunities for criminal justice students to create personal learning networks (PLN), professional career, and criminal justice discipline networking opportunities that might not otherwise be available in the student’s in their local area.

Before deciding to incorporate social media into the criminal justice classroom, there are some ethical issues to consider.

Ethical Consideration

Cain and Fink III (2010) have created 5 ethical questions that educators should consider when incorporating social media into the learning environment.

  1. The first ethical question educators need to consider when using social media in the learning environment is who is viewing the social media information used (Cain & Fink III, 2010).
  2. The second ethical question to consider is determining access to social media information (Cain & Fink III, 2010).
  3. The third ethical question is determining the purpose of using the social media information (Cain & Fink III, 2010).
  4. The fourth ethical question is determining the criteria of the quality of the content posted on social media (Cain & Fink III, 2010).
  5. The fifth and final ethical question educators should consider when incorporating social media into the learning environment is relationships (Cain & Fink III, 2010).

When educators decide that social media supports the learning, these five guiding questions can help the decision-making process for the educator to determine best use of social media so that ethical standards and adherence to laws apply for all associated with the institution.

The Social Media Professor Profile

Tinti-Kane, Seaman, and Levy (2010) reported that 80% of educators have at least one social media account and the professors most likely to use social media are from the humanities and social science discipline.

Of these professors 82% use social media to view videos/podcast, 59% post to different social media websites, and approximately 55% of professors actively read blogs/wikis (Tinti-Kane et al., 2010).

Professors are using Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype, and YouTube to communicate with peers (Tinti-Kane et al., 2010). Professors are communicating with students using YouTube, Facebook, Skype, and LinkedIn (Tinti-Kane et al., 2010).

The Benefits of Using Social Media in Higher Learning

The benefits of using social media to enhance lessons offers the criminal justice professor the opportunity to connect with their adult learning partners and share current news articles directly related to the course content. Using social media allows the classroom professor to demonstrate how criminal justice and criminology theories relate to current events making the learning relevant, meaningful, and usable.

We live in a technology society driven by instant access to information. Being creative and using social media platforms that students are comfortable navigating offers learning opportunities to enhance the course content and make learning rewarding and enjoyable.

What are some of the ways you have used social media in your classes?


Cain, J., & Fink III, J. L. (2010). Legal and ethical issues regarding social media and pharmacy education. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 74(10), 1-8.

Tinti-Kane, H., Seaman, J., & Levy, J. (2010). Social media in higher education: The survey. Pearson Learning Solutions, Babson Survey Research Group, New Market Labs. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/PearsonLearningSolutions/pearson-socialmediasurvey2010

About the Author

Mark Bond

Mark Bond has worked in law enforcement and has been a firearms instructor for more than 33 years. His law enforcement experience includes the military, local, state and federal levels as a police officer and criminal investigator. Mark obtained a BS and MS in criminal justice, and M.Ed in educational leadership with Summa Cum Laude honors. As a lifelong learner, he is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in education (EdD) with a concentration in college teaching and learning. Mark is currently an assistant professor of criminal justice at a university and adjunct professor of administration of justice studies at a community college.