Here’s a guy who’s trying great things:
Fred Stutzman, a teaching fellow at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science, is on the cutting edge of realizing the potential for integrating web 2.0 into instruction. He recently taught two semesters of “Online Social Networks”, a grad class where “students spent the semester using online social networks as a lens through which to examine social computing, computer-mediated communication, digital identity and representation, and human-computer interaction”.
His approach was to employ a Facebook group, YouTube videos for enrichment, a wiki for the course, and a Del.icio.us tag unique to the course to share bookmarks. At the end of the second semester, he compiled the results of the success of using these tools from reflection and from student surveys. Some of the findings were expected, but others were somewhat unforseen:
- The wiki: successfully used as a homepage for the course, but Stutzman was expecting more student input. In the end, he was basically the only one editing it.
- Del.icio.us: bookmarking websites to share with classmates was not used widely, but it was successful in that they compiled a list of 250 relevant links in just one semester.
- YouTube: as expected, the videos served as a good source of enrichment, but not much else.
- Facebook group: the mandatory participation in group discussions resulted in rich and high-quality dialogue, but there seemed to be a few issues with the actual integration of this social space with its academic application:
Stutzman realized that the students viewed the discussion board as an academic space, not a social space, and that they almost had to remind themselves to visit it once a week. Obviously, it would be ideal to have students doing this more regularly, out of interest and engagement – how can we make this happen?
Also, some of the students seemed to begrudge using a personal/social space for academic purposes – why do some students insist on separating the two spheres?
p. s. This semester, Stutzman is offering “Technologies of Friendship,” where the focus is on “historical perspectives, theoretical concepts, internet relationships and group dynamics”. You can keep up with the course wiki, in-progress, here.