August 24, 2009

Social media and Higher Ed

Brace for impact!

(It's a joke on a number of levels.)

This is something we're going to be seeing over and over again, whether we're studying Social Media, Social Networks, Communications, Technology or not. We're all in the academic world and these new popular methods of communication are going to have an effect on the classroom, if not teaching and learning. What that effect is remains to be seen.

This article prompted this, the first of what I'm sure will be many posts about so-called social media: How Students, Professors, and Colleges Are, and Should Be, Using Social Media

The title is extremely misleading; it's a one-page interview that deals mostly with questions about some opinions on the current effect of social media. it barely touches on anything like advice.

My interest, specifically, is on classroom effects, and here is the entirety of that portion:

Q. How has today's student changed how professors prepare their classes?
It's really forcing university professors to think about their teaching style and the pedagogical techniques that they use in the classroom. In other words, I've become increasingly dissatisfied with simply delivering a traditional lecture in the classroom. I'm beginning to debate whether or not it's effective, whether or not it works, whether or not it's a useful tool or a useful way to engage and create a kind of learning space or a learning environment. They're active learners, as opposed to passive learners. That one-way flow of content -- I don't know how effective that is anymore.

Social media is forcing professors to think about their techniques and style? They didn't think about this before? Pardon me, but I doubt that a professor who didn't consider his teaching style before is going to suddenly have an epiphany because social media has hit the scene. They may not even be aware of the effect of social media on their classroom.

Perhaps we will see some serious treatment of this subject, or some analysis that tells us serious treatment is justified. Either way, we will be seeing more books and articles like this.

NOTE: This was cross-posted to Indentured Academitude

Posted by James at August 24, 2009 7:34 PM
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Interesting that you posted this. My husband is finishing up a computer science degree. One of his requirements before graduation is a public speaking class. His professor is requiring all students to set up a YouTube account as he will be recording their speeches and posting them on YouTube for review. I believe they'll be private so the students will only be able to view their own.

Posted by: Tirzha at August 25, 2009 10:04 AM

"Social media is forcing professors to think about their techniques and style? They didn’t think about this before?"
Heck. Some professors haven't altered their lecture notes, much less the class presentation style, in 20 years.
Don't forget the freeware courses being put out by MIT. Open-sourcing the classroom is going to open education options explosively.

Posted by: givesgoodemail at August 25, 2009 10:34 AM

I think that new forms of communication will certainly change the way teachers work. I think an impact on the convenience of certain tasks in teaching might be the easiest to answer. I have some questions about impact on actual learning which may be quite a bit harder to answer.

Posted by: James at August 25, 2009 12:03 PM

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