Thursday, February 13, 2014

Integrating Social Networks into Out-of-Class Activities

Abstract accepted for The Future of Education conference, June 2014:
Integrating Social Networks into Out-of-Class Activities for
Traditional and Hybrid College Courses
It is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame. 
Marshall McLuhan, 1955
This paper supports the proposition that student use of social networking tools outside of class increases student-to-student and student-to-professor interaction, while enhancing critical thinking skills in the classroom.  Given the trend to move some classes into a hybrid format, the increased use of social networks on the students’ preferred “technology turf” is a key component in facilitating learning in such activities.  Further, the paper will offer insight from the perspective of a professor and a graduate teaching assistant (GTA), as they discuss the pros and cons of integrating social networks into out-of-class activities.  For example, the paper demonstrates how students and a professor formed an online Twitter community in an Internet Law business course, where students shared and commented on the latest international law news affecting the internet and social networks.  The class then assessed the legal context of social network behavior when they re-grouped in class.  As another example, a professor created a Facebook project, and (with a bit of trepidation) asked students to “friend” him.  In the project, students were instructed to find inappropriate comments posted anywhere on Facebook, re-post them on the professor’s “wall,” and comment on the implications of such postings if an employer actually read them.  Hand-in-hand with the pedagogical benefits of social networks, there is an overarching need to ensure student privacy in learning environments.  A major challenge faced by educators is how to teach students to navigate and leverage social networks in the business world, while maintaining their comfort level of privacy on the internet.  This paper addresses the importance of guiding students on how to be responsible digital citizens, as they analyze and assess the ethical use of social networks in the global workplace.  Thus, in a professor-GTA discussion over whether students in a study abroad class should maintain a public blog or a closed Facebook group for communication, the closed group option was chosen for privacy reasons.  Finally, the paper will introduce how out-of-class social network activities, when augmented with “gamification” (applying game-design thinking to non-game applications in an attempt to make the latter more fun), can elevate student engagement and learning in traditional and hybrid courses.

1 comment:

  1. Integrating social media networks usually help students in bringing around all those values which must have been understood by them. do my finance homework


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