Social Media as an Educational Innovation: Tips

Two weeks ago I gave a presentation at AECT about social media as an educational innovation. The presentation was part of a session brought together by Bob Reiser, and the other presenters were Clark Quinn (Mobile Learning), David Wiley (OER), and Curt Bonk (MOOCs). We were each tasked with providing our best tips or advice on our topics, with a 10-minute time limit.

It was an interesting task, trying to distill my thoughts on social media use in formal learning settings into a rather brief presentation. In the end I came up with 9 tips (and having passed them in front of my students first I feel confident that I hit on the main points I typically cover in a full semester’s class).

Here are my slides, as well as some thoughts on each tip:

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Getting back on course…

Tomorrow morning Week 4 of the semester begins! I’m teaching two graduate-level classes. Each meets once a week for 3 hours. You might think that means that I’ve had 9 contact hours so far with each class … but you would be quite wrong.

Thanks to Hurricane Irma, which thankfully only skirted our local area and left minimal (compared to last year’s Hurricane Hermine and Irma elsewhere) damages and power outages, the university closed for 6 business days. From Friday of Week 2 through Friday of Week 3, classes were canceled. For my Tuesday class, that was a loss of 3 classroom hours. For my Friday class, a loss of 6 hours. In fact, we’ve only met once! (Hi EME6476 students – aren’t you glad I kept you for the full 3 hours during Week 1?). Continue reading

I love all of my classes the most.

I love all of my children classes the most

Today is the day! My learning theory class begins! I love teaching learning theory. I love it the most! It’s my favorite class to teach! I always get excited by the class on the first day – and why not? It’s learning theory! Fascinating stuff. Explains so much of how the human world works.

I get that I perhaps shouldn’t be so excited. It’s a required 5000-level graduate course. Most (all?) students take it because they’re required to. It’s not the course they’ve all dreamed of taking for years, at least not when they enroll. I just hope that by the end they’ve grown to find the topic as mesmerizing and useful as I do.

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EME6414 = time to blog

I’m excited. Tomorrow is the day. Tomorrow my EME6414 Web 2.0-based Learning & Performance class begins again. I first designed and taught this course nine years ago, and have taught it every summer since. It always has a large enrollment – usually between 25-40 – and is typically a 6-week intensive graduate-level course.

I’m excited for the course to begin, because it is my annual chance to “play” at work, to catch up on what tools are new and to practice using them with a group of similarly interested people. What could be better?

I’m also excited because I decided that this year I’m going to take a new approach to blogging during this course.

How it has been done in years past? I always maintain a blog throughout the course (linked here), and it serves as a hub of sorts for the class. Although we use the LMS for sharing course materials, submitting assignments, and delivering grades and feedback, I require everyone in the course to keep a blog (not necessarily under their real name) and my blog interlinks all of these student blogs. I use my blog to share items of interest to students in the course and to model the blogging process.

Each summer I have enjoyed my 6 weeks of blogging with my class, and at the end I always promise myself that I will shift my energies over to my own blog – my personal blog space – and continue to write a blog on a regular basis through the school year. And then I go on vacation for about 10 days, and the new school year starts to crank up with its retreats and orientations, rapidly followed by new classes with new students, the start of the conference season, the onslaught of student defense season, the heightened activities of the oncoming holiday season. You see where I’m headed with this, right? I have fun blogging with people. I start a blogging habit. Then my blogging community drifts on to other things, I step back from work for a bit, and the prospect of entering a different writing space and starting it up again from scratch is pretty daunting. I let all of the other things competing for my attention win.

So, what will I do differently this year?  I will continue to maintain the EME6414 course blog, because it serves a clear purpose within the class. It’s also a different style of blogging than I want to engage in over here.  In addition, I plan to start blogging again in this space concurrently. I may cross-post some items, but I also have a list of topics in my bullet journal titled “These should be blog posts.” The topics range from thoughts about the profession to ideas I’m noodling around related to some of my scholarly projects.  Clearly I want to blog about these topics since I’ve been keeping a list as the ideas come to me (plus I regularly have ideas and actually think “this should be a blog post”).

I’m hopeful that perhaps some of my summer students (and perhaps some other people) will choose to read this blog and interact with me a bit. Having an audience is motivating. However, I the more important part is that I exercise my writing chops in this short form and that it serves the purpose that I seek, namely an outlet for some formative and reflective thought processes.

At the end of six weeks will blogging here be a habit? Will I have a better sense of how I want to use this writing space? I don’t know. Let’s check back around August 5 and see.

PS: EME6414 folks, if you read this please say “hi!”