Book by Reynol Junco &  Dianne M Timm
Review by James O’Brien
School of Business
University of Southern Maine

Few books appear at the exact moment when they can have the most impact but “Using Emerging Technologies to Enhance Student Engagement” has arrived with the most perfect of timing. Ideas like “social media,” “web 2.0., and “distance education” are gaining traction and attention. It is becoming apparent to most student affairs professionals that we may be able to utilize parts of these developing fields to the advantage of our students and our schools. As our students come to us with greater expectations for institutional technologies, the need for advisors to familiarize ourselves with – and use – available tools increases dramatically. 

This book is a well-researched and well-written overview of technology and developing media. Advisors would be well-served to read this book before embarking on any outreach campaign using Facebook©, instant messaging, or SMS (short message service).

Technologies covered in the book include Second Life®, Facebook©, MySpace™, and text messages; however it is the lens through which these technologies are examined that makes the book a worthwhile read. Every new outreach tool is considered from the point of view of a busy student affairs professional who needs to find the most efficient ways to disseminate information to, gather data on, and create conversations with, their students. From examining the shortcomings in Virginia Tech’s use of email during the 2007 campus emergency (p. 43), to Columbia College’s use of Second Life to stage a virtual art exhibition (p. 11), this book touches on almost every major emerging technology available today.

Technology is not a static product, and since the book was published in the winter of 2008 Twitter has burst onto the scene. Furthermore, given current trends, I do not see Second Life becoming as valuable a tool as some of these authors seem to believe. Despite this, the book is an easily-read survey of the digital landscape. I encourage advisors seeking a primer in “tech” to read and reference this book. Your students will thank you.

Using emerging technologies to enhance student engagement, (2008), Book by Reynol Junco &  Dianne M Timm (Eds). Review by James O'Brien. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 132pp. $29.00. ISBN 978-0-470-44700-0
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