Is it acceptable for a student of the Social Sciences to progress through his/her study without once citing a source found outside of the Library? If the education we provide is with the goal to create knowledge workers who can engage in a career in the current landscape of information and communication technologies, then I would conclude it is unacceptable.
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
I spent my 7th of February hanging out with my brothers in arms in the weblecture scene. The day started with Werner Degger giving a general overview of the state of weblectures at the University of Amsterdam. He stated that the main reasons for using weblectures are to make studying easier and to raise the image of the university. Weblecture policy focuses on three workmodes: “Do it yourself”, “Do it together” and “we do it for you”. For each of these approaches to facilitating weblectures, the university aims to have the necessary infrastructure to support the staff and the teachers.
Oh dear, not another infographic. I am afraid so. But to introduce the topic, this is a pretty good one. For example, How schools are using Social Media:
- In the classroom
- School Pride
- Potential students
- Professional development
- General outreach
I hope it will have the desired effect I am looking for which is to help explain to some what a natural extension it is to use social media in education and learning processes.
And for those looking for a little more “meat” to this topic, why not try A literature review of the use of Web 2.0 tools in Higher Education. Happy reading!
Southern New Hampshire’s president, Paul J. LeBlanc, writes in his thinking paper “The Next Big Thing”:
“The vision is that students could sign up for self-paced online programs with no conventional instructors. They could work at their own speeds through engaging online content that offers built-in assessments, allowing them to determine when they are ready to move on. They could get help through networks of peers who are working on the same courses; online discussions could be monitored by subject experts. When they’re ready, students could complete a proctored assessment, perhaps at a local high school, or perhaps online. The university’s staff could then grade the assessment and assign credit.”
The team at the Network University had pretty much the same delivery model in mind, back when I worked there in the 1990’s. There is a lot of appeal to this model, from the institutions side as well as from the learners perspective. It cuts out a lot of costs and you reap the benefits without having to invest too much in the process. And as a slow or fast learner, or in between jobs or juggling three kids, you no longer have to adapt to the rest but can determine your own pace. But when I think of the online initiatives which have worked and been extremely successful, and what their success factors were, I think we might be missing the point if we choose for this delivery model.
Most students at the University of Amsterdam are familiar with online social media platforms. Especially Facebook is very popular amongst students. Unfortunately, educational platforms used at the UvA, like Blackboard, are not (yet) capable of using the advantages of this social network. This motivated the ICTO Social Sciences team to support a Grassroots project that was initiated to experiment with social media for educational purposes. The results of this experiment showed a preference for using Facebook amongst both students and teachers. For another course the ICTO team was consulted how to use Facebook, and it was heavily used during this course. Student evaluations on this project are currently being done.
Unfortunately, the use of Facebook in Social Sciences at UvA has been fragmented and non transparent. The ICTO team started a project to clarify the use of Facebook in education and how it can be used in the future. First, experiences of using Facebook at UvA and other universities will be mapped concisely. Second, ICTO will research the personal experiences of both teachers and students within Social Sciences at the UvA.
The goal of this exercise is twofold. First, we would like to advise the Board of Studies within Social Sciences about the use of Facebook in education, and whether it has an added value. Second, we would like to make a ‘Do’s-and-Don’ts-list’ for teachers to help avoid the most common pitfalls. Hopefully we will be able to make an improvement to the experience of education in the Social Sciences at UvA using Facebook.
The results of this project will be published on this website when the research has been completed.