I originally published this post on Social Media week’s blog
Friday’s Future of Social Media in Higher Education hosted by McGraw-Hill Student Innovations offered five great professors (matched with a masterful moderator) to explore the challenges and opportunities in using social media to advance higher education. The faculty included:
P. King Professor, Fordham University; President, Transformation
Education LLC – @drkpking
NYU Student and Founder of Jatched.com
Madan VP Strategy & Business Development, McGraw-Hill
On to the panel coverage…
Yianni: One in four students in 2 or 4 year programs are
taking at least on course online.
Question: How does social media play a role?
Kathleen: Distance education is moving more swiftly in
community and 2-year colleges. Community colleges can respond more quickly to
changes in demographics, the economy, etc. Four-year-universities and research
centers can’t move as fast. Distance ed is a good connection for us with social
media – the faculty’s already using technology, and students are embracing it.
Working on using other tools like Twitter, Facebook, etc. We also must address
the needs of non-traditional students – this used to mean older students in
their 20s through 70s. That term “non-traditional” are outnumbering traditional
Mary: Beyond distance learning and online courses, there’s
the trend around open content. There are intellectual property issues, but they
can spark interest from those not present in a class.
Vineet: Of 12 million college students, only 6 million are 18-24. A big
reason for dropouts is lack of engagement. We need to promote engagement more
than just enrollment.
Greg: Students want to text with deans or people admissions offices.
Adam: Social tools present new ways for students to participate, rather than
the old way of getting graded just for showing up.
Question: How do you use various tools to engage
Mary: Blackboard is great, but it’s not collaborative and
archival. You can only collaborate with students in your class, that semester.
NYU has taken the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn under its umbrella. They’ve
tried to develop collaboration between that and Stern Business School. Needed:
apps for collaboration. Gradeguru is one that fits in, provides incentive for
collaboration – “it’s kind of revolutionary.” Facebook’s Courses application:
you can submit which classes you’re enrolled in to get opinions of a class.
Another: Dropbox – lets more than one user edit documents at a time.
Question for Mary: Are you using Google Docs
Mary: Yes, a fair amount.
More on apps…
Vineet: Tegrity records courses, sort of like a DVR for
Kathleen: Skype – ‘it’s like Kleenex now’ – everyone uses
Yianni: How will we make these technologies more compelling to engage
Mary: I want to bring up augmented reality to overlay
digital technology over the real world. Would love to use it in history
Greg: Students are already using platforms. If we know that
85% of college students are on Facebook, You need to go where students are.
Kathleen: Faculty need to learn how to use these tools
professionally. Many colleagues don’t get the professional use. She takes issue
with Greg and Adam saying they don’t remember their education well – they don’t
remember their formal education but they’re examples of lifelong learning.
Adam (responding to another question): Technology will lower
the cost of so many things for education – so much of what you need is on your
phone. The iPad will play a big role in furthering that, replacing textbooks and
adding even more.
Audience question (from Sanford): How do we align incentives
between professors there to teach (but often to get tenure and get published)
and students there to learn?
Kathleen: There is no incentive in most universities for
engaging with social media or even for faculty to engage their students. We have
to start with the professor first, and we have to look to the institution. Most
universities: publication and research is how you get tenure. If I’m spending
20% of my time doing innovative things, it’s counterproductive. It’s detailing
me from my goal and livelihood. What has to be done: we have to integrate
innovation in teaching and excellent teaching. Teaching must be raised to be
more important than the merit and tenure system.