Last Wednesday I was at a seminar on social media in education, organized by the Social Media Club Amsterdam (SMCadam). Wolter Mooi, a Professor of Pathology at the VUMC, shared his experience with applying social media in his Bachelor class. In 2010 he created a facebook profile and he now has 1004 ‘friends’.
He uses his facebook profile to decrease the distance between him and his students. He does this in a balanced fashion, no flooding of the status stream with inconsequentials but once in a while a witty reflection on his personal life, a response to a BBC documentary on labor clinics in Sierra Leone and sharing interesting readings relevant to the course. By doing so he
is making himself more a person of flesh and bones, someone the students can relate to and have more feeling for than a distant neutral professor they know only by name and see at the bottom of a large lecture hall.
According to Professor Mooi the success of this formula is not per se visible in higher scores or more students passing the course, but Pathology was a renown least favorite bachelor course amongst students, and now it scores as one of the most favorite courses in the bachelor.
He has also created a channel on youtube where he shares “knowledge clips”, mini lectures on practical skills or clearly defined nodes of content. He explained that by doing so he could free up some of his lecture time for more in depth reflection or contextualisation.
His facebook profile is free to befriend and his youtube films are open for everyone to watch. In his own words he explained that he had recently published a book which was quite expensive and many universities with less means could not acquire the book, whereas much of the content of that same book is now freely available via his youtube mini lectures.
By doing so he has applied a degree of inverted or flipped learning. As a picture says a thousand words I will leave the explanation of a flipped classroom up to this infographic sent to me by my colleague Nynke Bos. The image below is just a preview, click on it for the full version which is published here: www.knewton.com/flipped-classroom/
It was a great example of a teacher reaching out to his students with the technological means we have today, and making teaching and learning a more personal, intense and rich experience. Very inspiring, so thank you SMCadam, and thank you Prof Wolter Mooi!