Not sure if you feel the same way, but I am never entirely sure when I am asked to talk about “social media in higher education”. Could it be about the latest technology? Teaching and learning? Anything to do with the “social” in social media? Is it about interaction and instructional design? It goes to show how ill-defined it is with the entire field.
I can’t help but start every one of my international talk with this slide. So basically Canada is this piece of frozen land that sits on top of US of A.
In Canada, just about any organizations and companies have some sort of presence on social media. As a nation, we are highly connected and fairly social online.6S Marketing, a Vancouver based internet marketing company, conducted a survey on the use of social media in Canada. In Canada, just about any organizations and companies have some sort of presence on social media. As a nation, we are highly connected and fairly social online.6S Marketing, a Vancouver based internet marketing company, conducted a survey on the use of social media in Canada.
Interestingly, the daily access to email server has declined 28 percent over the past year in Canada. Email has become much more of a business communication tool rather than a social communication tool.
We have the highest percentage of Internet users on Facebook and have out-tweeted Americans.
and standards have been developed - yyc for Calgary. Subset of that are there too, such as yyctransit.
We even have an iPhone app for the Royal Tour of Canada - paid for by our tax dollars.
How does it help education? Level the playing field, costs nothing (well, almost!) and it has a broader/different reach. We can talk to each other directly - huge for virtual workplace, distance learning. How does it help education? Level the playing field, costs nothing (well, almost!) and it has a broader/different reach. We can talk to each other directly - huge for virtual workplace, distance learning.
DIY as a subculture could be said to have begun with the punk movement of the 1970s. Instead of traditional means of bands reaching their audiences through large music labels, bands began recording, manufacturing albums and merchandise, booking their own tours, and creating opportunities for smaller bands to get wider recognition and gain cult status through repetitive low-cost DIY touring.
Mandate being interpreted differently. Mandate as “open university” - remove barrier to education Amongst all the barriers, technology is a big one. We are now interpret “openness” in a different way. - open courses, open instructional design (offer multiple ID options), open educational resources initiatives, open policies, open conversations, open tools. The barriers now we are removing is providing technology literacy skills - refer to the new strategic document from AU. Putting the technology in front of the students used to be the barrier. Now if they don’t use the technology, it is the barrier to their careers. We have purposely stay a development or two behind - we don’t want to prevent people without computers to not have access to education. In 1996, computer was being thought of being a show stopper to people. But the distance correspondence has die out - no one is calling us. The students drive this change. They want this change. Massive shift over the past five years. Thinking from top to bottom on how this need to change. Happening the same time as the brick and mortar institutions. They can leapfrog to e-learning sometimes faster than we can because distance learning is our bread and butter.
The first three are public tools, the latter two are in-house tools we are developing. The in-house tools are more suited for teaching and learning purposes.
Flickr - mostly for convocation and various special events.
It helps us to tell a story, a story about our students. It humanizes the distance learning experience. There is a purpose in using this tool. It helps us to tell this person’s story. The tool matches the purpose.
Official fanpage. We have admins from across the university who monitor activity, and one staff in recruitment actively answers questions and posts articles.
I particularly like this feature. Again, it suits our purpose since we have students from all around the world who are interested in our courses/programs.
The problem with facebook is that there are other facebook pages with the same or similar names.
rationale - social presence, cooperative work in self-paced courses. Communications is a continued challenges in our distributed workplace. Many staff are disengaged from our community, and lack knowledge management system.
271 groups, 29% grad courses, 16% undergrad, 24% admin.
AU’s newest project - A virtual lab space for collaboration and to complete projects. It is made up of a collection of tools and resources. The first being the e-portfolio tool - based on Mahara.
Staffing is a problem. Training is another. Usually staff take on multiple roles. Social media is an add-on.Lack of a consolidated strategyLack of standard/guidelines/good practicesLack of understanding the media/technology (media literacy, technology literacy)
Social media tools does have a specific place in higher education. You have to think of the reasons why you are using them. It is important to think about what kind of instructional design framework we use to make it meaningful and purposeful. The use of open instructional design has received some positive feedback within my institution.
provide options to learners, not everyone wants social media/learn better with social media. They should be able to opt out if they want to. Make the ID process transparent - involve other people, involve the learners early on in the process. Have a easy way for them to provide feedback. (Like the “like” feature in Facebook).
I still prefer this Venn Diagram I saw on someone’s t-shirt. I think there is some truth to this. Narcissism basically translate to self-directed type of activity. It is more about self-focus rather than group work or collaboration. Stalking is about finding out and observing people whom you care to follow/read/watch. It is not that different than the “lurking” behavior in forums. ADHD, that is basically multi-tasking, or more accurately, task switching.
We need to embed these literacy skills directly into our courses/training material. Teach them within the context they are in.
Attention: ADHD, task switching, a skill that needs to be learned, practice and evolved. The whole attention span and the amount of time people are willing to work on some stuff. There are dire consequences for quality of research/study - very shallow, where are the great researchers coming out of this?
We need to have a big-picture roadmap to show students where they are going. Participations have their place, but so are classroom lectures. WE need to have that knowledge based and that structure.
The ability to triangulate information, filter information, evaluate information. Learn to ask questions about the validity, authenticity of the source. The ability to triangulate information, filter information, evaluate information. Learn to ask questions about the validity, authenticity of the source.
Group work is important for distance self-paced, self-study learners. They need to be taught how to work with virtual groups. How to self-organized, how to regulate within the group and understand group dynamics.
The need to understand your voice, be responsible for your voice, knowing that your digital footprint will be around forever. Also understanding about your private vs. public space implication. Privacy issue will be huge.
The whole purpose of higher education are about expanding the knowledge horizon, and learning how to learn. Social media technology provide a beautiful suite of tools in assisting us to achieve these goals. But how effective are these tools? How do we know what the impacts are?
Transcript of "Opening Keynote for Informa Conference on Social Learning"
Relationship between Social Media,
Instructional Design and Higher Education A Canadian Perspective
Centre for Learning Design and Development
Athabasca University, Canada
Why am I here?
• Social Media Trends and Usage
• Implications for Higher Education
• Social Media at Athabasca University
• Instructional Design for Social Media
• Discussions and Sharing
So, what are the implications for higher ed?
• marketing and communication
• teaching and learning
• professional development
A “DIY” model
• A lot more amateurish effort (Shirky, 2008)
• It is scattered all over, many overlapping effort
• It is personal, personalized
• A sub-culture movement
Social media is a bit like the punk movement
in the 70’s...
A bit about Athabasca University
• Canada’s Open University
• Location: Athabasca, Alberta, Canada
• Campuses in Athabasca, Edmonton and Calgary
• More than 38,000 students
• Offer over 700 courses in 90 programs
• 1200 faculty and staff member
Our Mission Statement
“Athabasca University is dedicated to the
removal of barriers that restrict access to, and
success in, university-level studies and to
increasing equality of educational opportunity
for adult learners worldwide.”
Some social media usage at AU
• the Landing
Instructional design and social media
How should we approach it?
Open Instructional Design (Kumar et el,
• inviting learners to participate in the ID process prior to the start of the course
• discuss ID options with respect to learning outcomes, topic selection,
content selection, etc.
• Each learner can choose an ID just for himself/herself, or form small groups
and choose an ID for each group
Social media Venn diagram
“The most important critical uncertainty
today is how many of us learn to use
digital media and networks effectively,
reasonably, credibly, collaboratively, civilly,
humanely. This difference is a matter of
- Howard Rheingold, 2010
Share your ideas and experiences
Shirky, C. (2008). Here Comes Everybody. New York: The Penguin Press
Kumar, V., Manimalar, P., Somasundaram, TS., Sidhan, M., Lee, S., & El-Kadi,
M. (2009) Open Instructional Design, IEEE workshop on Technology for
Education (T4E 2009), Bengaluru, India, 43-50, July 2009.
Rheingold, H. (2009). Collab Tech 2010 Keynote: Social Media, Participative
Pedagogy, and Digital Literacies. Retrieved July 8, 2011, from