Social media in education #mcl3

I’m obviously at a loose end what with uni being so slow and my course load so light [/sarcasm] so I’ve agreed to take a session at the forthcoming MediaCamp London 3 (twitter tag #mcl3)

There are still tickets left so if you can get into london, come down and either show your support or heckle – either way, come down *grin* there are some cracking folks going with a wealth of experience happy to give advice or insight into whatever may be troubling you (on the tech/ internet/ social media front that it)

So.. My session:

‘social media in higher education’

Sounds fairly broad doesn’t it?
Basically you’ll be taking a look at my experiences both with the CABLE project and (time permitting) my current role as student proctor.

(sounds awful doesn’t it – that’s the official title payroll have given me for the work I’ve done recently offering advice and guidance on using Studynet [The UH virtual learning environment] for e-assessment and group work purposes)

So to help ward off some possible misconceptions, here’s a little background to the project and a taster as to the type of thing I’ll be discussing.

The aim of the Continuing Education Partnerships (CEP) CABLE group project:

Hertford virtual college rich picture

Hertfordshire virtual college rich picture

Create a Hertfordshire Virtual College:

  • A virtual community of staff and students
  • Overcomes the geographical remoteness of the colleges
  • Responds to issues of management and coordination across institutional boundaries
  • Builds on the existing evolving cooperative framework

The Hertfordshire HE consortium comprises four HE Colleges across Hertfordshire

  • Consortium coordinated by the university of Hertfordshire (UH)
  • Colleges are geographically remote from each other and from UH
  • UH campus is venue for large number of centralised meetings
  • Raises issues of staff and student communication and time commitment

The vehicle chosen for the virtual learning community was the HCI module taught to the FDsc IT Business pathway groups:

  • Module delivered in mixed mode day and evening classes
  • all 4 colleges during the second semester of their final year.
  • 100 students both full time and part time across all four colleges

The idea:

  • Have 4 virtual groups led by a student from each of the consortium colleges
  • Give them 3 tasks to encourage co-operative and collaborative learning
  • keep staff participation to a minimum; the project was to be student led as much as possible
  • make inclusion to the project voluntary, this was to be a supplement to the module not an integral part.

As well as running studynet group one, I was the student steering group leader which meant I was the main point of contact for the project leader (Dominic Bygate) and other staff involved.

A summation of the interaction between students in my group:

• 14 student members representing 3 colleges
• 14 discussions included introductions and greetings, the proposed group tasks, football, HCI and programming with one discussion centred around the course in general; specifically favourite modules.
• 5 polls were used, only 2 of which were centred on the cable project tasks – the others were focussed on specific modules and the university progression event which linked into the discussions.
• The blog was found to be a useful way of disseminating information and prompting discussion – but folks had to be informed of a new blog post via the studynet news/ facebook/ personal email.
• When it came to the proposed task of sharing questionnaires (part of the official HCI assignment not the original group task) people moved away from studynet to personal email as it was not an intuitive process to upload files to the groups whereas attaching to email is a simple known method of file sharing.

I plan to give a quick run down on what we did, how we did it, what social media tools we used (and why) and my personal evaluation as to what we could do to make similar projects even better.

..If there’s time I’ll then talk about the use of the uh studynet environment for group work and e-assessment.

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