Episode 15: It’s More About the Social than the Media

About Episode 15:

Everyone has an opinion about the role of social media in education. In this episode hosts Thomas Cavanagh and Kelvin Thompson are joined by guest Dr. Tanya Joosten, author of Social Media for Educators: Strategies and Best Practices, as they consider the place of social media in online education.

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Episode 15 Show Notes:

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5 Replies to “Episode 15: It’s More About the Social than the Media”

  1. Thanks for sharing guys. This is an important discussion. The whole idea that formal education and “social” are not compatible is ridiculous. If one imagines a picture of the effective classroom, the students and teachers are interacting. Being social. And I will echo the student perspective that was cited in the episode saying, the number one thing that makes an effective online course for me is the amount of interaction with the professor.. and I’m glad that you qualified that, saying it’s not necessarily the quality of interaction, but really the amount.

    In traditional face-to-face, on-ground classrooms professors are good at managing both the formal classroom interactions, as well as the informal questions asked after class, in the hallway, or even an aside or tangent that falls organically into a lecture. But professors in online environments tend to forget about the importance of the informal communication, and I think that’s where some of these tools come into play so well. And in regards to the idea of a “walled garden” and student security, social media / networking does not always have to mean “public”. Closed facebook groups, Google + communities, and even networking within the LMS or tools like Edmodo or Piazza can satisfy the same student need for the frequent, easy, informal communication.

    Thanks again, love the podcast. I always finish each episode with so many ideas and questions. Keep ’em coming. 🙂

  2. Second post. 🙂

    Not 10 minutes after listening to the recent episode I came across this article (yes, on twitter) about the five ingredients of the “secret sauce” of engagement in online learning. Interesting that one of the five key ingredients specified was “relationships and community.” AKA social interaction. Here’s the quote: “The fourth element of the secret sauce is building relationships and community. Students aren’t alone in the classroom and they shouldn’t be alone when they’re online either.” Frequent, easy, informal interaction between learners and with the professor is not an add-on or a gimmick. It’s part of learning, and always has been, and needs to be done intentionally online to bring parity with the traditional on-ground classroom.

    Just thought I’d share. Here’s the link to the full article: http://evolllution.com/programming/teaching-and-learning/the-secret-sauce-of-engagement-creating-successful-online-programs/

  3. Thanks much for the substantive comments, Tim!

    Personally, I love the “secret sauce” metaphor. We need that to be a poorly kept secret, so we all need to do our part to spread the word. 🙂

    We really appreciate your engagement. Please keep it coming!


  4. Outstanding content, as always, from you folks. My experience evangelizing about and actually using social networking for Teaching & Learning purposes matches Tanya’s findings and everything the three of you agree on. It is no coincidence that socializing/interacting in a couple of Kelvin’s & UCF’s BlendKit MOOCs on Becoming a Blended Learning Designers was what I liked the most about the courses.

    Over the years, I have used Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Skype, Facetime, etc and other environments to provide multiple avenues of engagements with my students, both asynchronous and in real or almost real-time. Most learners like it. They like having options for connecting and interacting with the class, especially, in online and blended learning classes. Dozens of other UIC and UofI faculty members that I have helped doing the same agree: “a great way to complement our discussion board activities”, “substantive engagement, helpful”. More so now, that most students and instructors live on their phones.

    This Summer, I set up an optional WhatsApp group for a class I am teaching, to facilitate an even more mobile-friendly and convenient way for the students and I to interact. I’ve been giving my students my WhatsApp number for years for one-on-one consultations and emergency Q&As, for ad hoc “virtual office hours” so to speak, to complement my regular virtual office hours. Well this Summer, my class of 56 graduate students are more delighted than ever WhatsApp’ing away, mostly class-related stuff, and engaging into substantive discussion and information exchange. I love seeing that “Student xxx typing…”

    *Let’s have some coffee, sometime soon.*

    — Ed Garay
    University of Illinois at Chicago

    1. I love your practical examples of student engagement via social media, Ed!

      Thanks so much for sharing and please keep the dialogue going as you continue listening!


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