EdTech 543 – Becoming the Social Animal

It’s week 1 of EdTech 543 and we are in the middle of a Facebook, Twitter, and Diigo extravaganza! And I decided to rebuild my blog for this course and use this space as my framework for the final portfolio coming up in Spring 2016. Oh yes, plenty of time to put all that together before then.

What are you initial reactions about joining these social networks for use in this course?

Truth is, I really like this kind of course and the autonomy I have to explore resources and platforms and learn from others. I already had a Facebook (fairly inactive) account and professional Twitter account. I had played with Diigo a few years ago and dropped it because I didn’t have anyone else to play with so to speak. Now I have a whole class of fellow grad students, eager to learn the nuances of Diigo. I’m liking Diigo as a tool, although there are some user interface features that I have yet to figure out.

What is your experience in using social media for your own professional development?

I decided early on (about 3 years ago) to concentrate on Twitter and blogging as my main social media platforms for learning and connecting with other elearning professionals and instructional designers. I think it started at a conference when I saw all of these thought leaders that I admired (and had read their blogs) posting to Twitter during sessions. Once I discovered hashtags and how to use them, Twitter just made all kinds of sense. I’ve just never warmed up to Facebook as a professional tool, but lately I have seen the value of Facebook groups – mostly through the MET program and two other instructional design related groups that I joined last year. I’m also in a group via LinkedIn that is more geared toward training in the workplace, but I find that there is quite a lot of crossover in terms of strategies for teaching and learning. I would say I’m still mainly an observer, but I’ve begun to use Twitter and blogging more in an effort to connect to others in the ID world.

What is your experience in using social media as an instructional strategy in your learning environment?

I’m usually an early adopter/explorer of technology at my college, but haven’t shared as much as I probably could have in the past. I also teach online marketing and social media marketing, so I know the value of creating networks and using social media for persuasion and promotion. Use of social media is a natural part of the content of my classes – we usually concentrate on only one or two platforms for my online classes, with blogging being required. Students then have a choice as to what other platform they want to use.

I also facilitate a 5 week course for new faculty who are interested in teaching online or hybrid and I demonstrate in that course some methods for incorporating social media feeds in the LMS we use.  I also introduce faculty to blogs and other resources – some Twitter hashtags for example – and help them through how to use these for finding out more about online instruction.

Finally, the department I work in – Center for Engagement and Learning (that’s CEAL for short and yes we are ‘the CEAL Team’) has a blog that we started early on. I’m hoping to expand it this year as an information source as well as a professional instructional tool.

What are your expectations for this course?

My expectations for this course are to

1) be surprised and engaged. With all the opportunities to connect and see the work of other classmates, I’m confident I will be both.

2) discover new resources and ways of tweaking my networks and my habits online as a professional educator and designer.

3) create, connect, and develop my voice in the social learning landscape.