The Chronicle of Higher Education expressed concern about a newly formed tuition free on-line university known as the “University of People (UP)”. This is a tuition free and peer-to peer-institution that rely on social networking online. Students are clustered into 10 to 15 people in each class. The concern is that most people learn better when led by a qualified professional. They fret about the possibility of blind leading blind such as the topic of quantum mechanics. http://chronicle.com/blogPost/New-Tuition-Free-University/7831/
I think this concept of using social networking online as peer to peer learning and co-teaching tools is timely. UP offers programs in Business Administration and Computer Science only. They are not accredited yet. Learners pay no tuition fee, however application and assessment processing fee apply. These fees are adjusted according to the countries’ living standards. There are paid professors and volunteers teachers and the goal is to empower those who cannot afford to get a degree in the higher education. http://www.uopeople.org/
The concept of peer learning network is not new, World Bank has a peer learning network page in their social development program. It is an empowerment tool.
There is not lack of example of people self-directed learners using Internet as a tool. In fact, research shows that integrating blogging into the disciplines enhances learning. http://jolt.merlot.org/vol3no3/frydenberg.htm
There were criticism about online distant learning early in the 1990s, but it is a blooming business in the enterprise of academia in the twenty-first century.
Indeed, there are concerns about organizations so open. Will cults and criminals take advantage of such well meaning organization but not closely monitored learning environment? For example, using this university online course as a recruiting tool for cults and information gathering for criminals? The possibility is there. Also, will unqualified individuals overrated themselves as professionals and feed false and inaccurate knowledge to their peers as the concern stayed in the Chronicle of Higher Ed. The question is, should we let this fear stop us from learning? I believe, in order for the kind of organization such as University of People to be become successfully empowering people, courses such as how to verify sources and critical thinking skill must be incorporated.
However, I believe that social networking is a wonderful tool for peer to peer learning and Non-profit Open University will become a trend in the future although they may call themselves different names (e.g. Worldbank). It is both exciting and scary at the same time and scholarship will be changing forever.
Lately I’ve been asking myself, “Is anyone archiving all this stuff?” I don’t know about you, but if Twitter had existed way-back-when, I’d be interested to see what Abe Lincoln would have tweeted when he was in his 20′s.
Apparently the Library of Congress has been having similar ruminations because they recently announced they will be archiving all public tweets going back to March 2006. This move is garnering unprecedented media attention for the Library of Congress, as detailed in this blog post by Matt Raymond, the Library’s director of communications. Matt says, “I’ve been working in journalism and public relations for nearly 20 years, and of all the stories with which I was personally involved, this one has beaten the rest by a mile.”
After reading this and pondering twitter I started wondering, “Are any universities archiving this stuff?” A quick search in Google found nothing — however, it does look like there is some interest in the financial business sector based on the number of social media archiving services I found, like this one or this one. Here’s a quote from the first website, “Communicating through social media websites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, is a growing trend in the financial services industry. But, it’s also an increasing source of concern for many compliance officers and departments. While FINRA provides clear guidance about the types of social media content that need to be captured and reviewed, it’s up to you to decide how best to do it.” And, just for those who want a little more information, here’s something about why capturing these communications is so important to the financial industry.
So, after all this, what am I thinking now? I am thinking that if the Library of Congress is archiving tweets and businesses are creating archiving solutions for social media, then more libraries will soon follow the trend and find ways to archive the massive amounts of information being generated (and lost) on social media sites everyday.
If I read everything on my just my social media site accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Reader) , I would be be spending all day every day doing only that. I’ve set in motion a torrential information stream! And no, I don’t spend all day every day on these sites. There are two ways I deal with these currents of information: 1) taking a dip in the stream now and then, and 2) using the strategy of follow, then filter.
Dropping into the stream every now and then means I check my Facebook and Twitter accounts once or twice a day, my LinkedIn account once a month or so, and my GoogleReader feeds when I think about it. I miss some things that way, but since some of those things are updates about Farmville, or about friends drinking coffee, I don’t sweat it.
Another way to deal with the deluge is to subscribe to streams of interest, then filter those streams into smaller rivulets using tools such as Tweetdeck on my desktop or Twitterific (left) on my phone. I also organize Google Reader feeds into smaller bundles I can check on my desktop or phone, and I can search within those bundles at any time for specific types of content. Twitter can seem especially random because the stream is coming in from so many places. To see patterns, I check the Twitter trends, which can run from pop culture references (Justin Bieber) to breaking news (Chile earthquake). This is how I first found out about the earthquake in Chile, and it made me turn on the news and check online news sources to get more information.
Instructors can create a hashtag to use in a class (#WR121) and ask students to post tweets with that hashtag during class. Using a tool like Twitterfall, the tweets can be displayed on a large screen and given different colors and sizes, so participants can see answers from their classmates. This might be an alternate way to have students do in-class assessments, instead of using clickers, if students had Twitter accounts.
–Margaret Mellinger for RIS
Just a note to say that OSU changed its website the week after this was posted so now these are much more visible from home page in the lower left...I haved edited the link for the Directory below. BEA (5/17/10)
Too often when I try living in social media land, I find myself an unsuccessful homesteader — I plant a tiny vegetable garden but forget to tend it. So, to mend my ways I decided to pull up stakes and explore how the rest of the university sustains itself on this frontier and think about where there might be a place for me.
I began at OSU’s Directory of Social Media – an option under “About OSU” and tried their links to “featured networks.” I found this a bit like wandering through a big city with no map, entertained by the occasional street performer but not knowing where I was much of the time.
So, what next? I tried clicking on the icons on the Social Media Directory and found that each provided me a list of OSU groups — at least those registered with the directory.
This was more the expedition I had hoped for — most of my field notes below relate to the subject liaison or curricular connections I saw. They seems to be in keeping with the CMO’s Guide to the Social Landscape which Karyle sent out last month.
I see that through their Facebook pages, I might keep better contact with the College of Forestry and the Departments of Forest Ecosystems and Society and Wood Science and Engineering — hang out in their e-forest without having to walk over there – I could write on their wall.
HHS Advising and OSU Lane County Extension Service are using Twitter feeds as does ECampus. The Lane County feed is quite active. Of course in terms of number of followers, the OSU feed is the most successful, but one would expect that I think.
The list of blogs didn’t reveal anything for me to follow specifically related to my subject areas but there were lots for interesting options. BUT what I could do is encourage several people/groups on campus who I know do maintain a blog, to register it (several from the library come to mind).
Only four Networks currently listed here (including School of MIME — I decided to join OSU LinkedIn Networks since I had heard on NPR that this is supposed to be the working person’s facebook for networking (not that I’m planning on that). It took me three tries before I finally received the email letting me in. Now I’m one of 3471 members of the OSU network — I see forestry subgroup — it has four members so enjoying anonymity as I do, it is unlikely I’m going join anytime soon.
The OSU YouTube channels were edifying (between commercial breaks) especially the ART 328 projects but I expected more from the course tab — not much there. Most must use the OSU Media Manger. OSU on iTunes U downloads requires their software, so I opted for my iPod — and found three courses — including FOR 365: Issues in Natural Resources Conservation, an e-campus class offering — totally cool. I learned the instructor uses Skype for her office hours.
Thank goodness for OSU Archives, first for their collections, and second for their organization. Most OSU flickr photostreams are too busy for me — unlike you might expect from a visit to my desk, I crave order and, since I am not signed up for Flickr (at least I don’t think I am), I may not be getting the full experience. As a novelty, “Benny on the Move” was entertaining and it seems like this has possibilities for involving students in the library PR.
The brightest signpost in on the OSU social media landscape seems to be the College of Health and Human Sciences. It is linked under everything but YouTube. OSU Archives is right up there too with a presence in Flickr, Facebook, and two blogs. My guess is that the Library could easily demonstrate an even larger presence just by registering its current feeds/blogs/etc. (see link above) .
I am home from my travels — unplugged but not tuned out thanks to good batteries — I’ve dug up my Twitter password too — and on Wednesday, I attended Sue Kunda and Andrea Wirth’s workshop on Creative Commons licensing, “Share Alike,” — and thought: if I were NOT a twit about Twitter, I’d tweet, “this workshop was great! Now I am aware that my use of images below while attributed, should probably be deleted.”
Maybe you read that email note that talked about 200 students at the University of Maryland who went “unplugged” from all media for a day . Why do I feel good that it took those students, on average, 550 words to express their thoughts on this assignment even though only required 250 were required? The authors created the following Wordle word clouds from their students’ replies:
First the mega-cloud for all responses to the assignment:
See full story for this image at: http://withoutmedia.wordpress.com/
Second, feelings expressed about media use after 24 hours without it:
See full story for this image at: http://withoutmedia.wordpress.com/study-conclusions/emotional-reactions/
Third, thoughts on media dependency and “going cold turkey:”
See full story for this image at: http://withoutmedia.wordpress.com/study-conclusions/dependence/
Fourth, thoughts on what was good about being unplugged for a day:
See full story for this image at: http://withoutmedia.wordpress.com/study-conclusions/benefits/
 Moeller, Susan et al  A Day withoutMedia. ICMPA. Phillip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland. Blog at http://withoutmedia.wordpress.com:
–Bonnie Avery for RIS
On April 28 the entire public school system of Oregon adopted Google Apps. Students, teachers, and administrators have access to common e-mail and chat systems, cloud-based collaboration tools and multimedia streaming service. This will save the schools money, boost academic performance and motivation, and prepare students for digital communication in the real world.
Twitter, Facebook and Nintendo DS are required curricula in some schools. Harvard was the first university to embrace Foursquare to create a campus-based game that rewards students with badges and points for exploring the school and surrounding places of interest.
There are 30,000 video conferencing systems in US schools, service centers, district offices and departments of education. Video conferencing has been connecting students across the US and the world to bring religion, geography, history and service learning to vibrant life.
In 2009, a third grade teacher introduced Boxcar Children to her class and setup a twitter feed for the book and embedded them into a media center wiki for them to follow. They learned the roles of an editor and came up with questions for an interview using EtherPad and Skyped with the editor of Boxcar Children to do the interview.
Skype is being used by Marquette University in the virtual language exchange. The students keep in touch with their digital pen-pals from South America through Facebook. Leicester University in the UK turned to Twitter when the students were not check the email systems or message boards. Students were provided with an iPod touch, given instructional materials, and told they had to make a few academic-related tweets each day. Soon, a thriving community grew, complete with @replies and hashtags flying back-and-forth between participants, tutors, and even members outside of the program. Additionally, the study has become an unexpected marketing boon for the university. 
Twitter is the world’s real-time conversation and news. During the Haiti earthquake and the Iceland volcano eruption, vital information was relayed that call centers and websites could not do. I found that following Twitter feeds and seeing clips on YouTube was more informative then our broadcast news was. I do not even look at a paper anymore. Could this be where news broadcasting is heading? And for international students from a disaster area, this is the best way of communication between them and families.
If you’ve ever wanted to have more real-time interaction for you and your friends, then Clobby is for you. This just launched application will let you conduct massive multiplayer chats right from your Facebook page. It’s an interesting idea for engaging people around a topic, an event or a piece of content, such as a news article or video. Users can host virtual parties and integrate Clobby for real-time interaction with their fans and friends. This app adds a “Chat” tab to the upper part of your Facebook page. 
I personally run a program that brings all my social media apps along with my emails into one interface. I can chat, do updates to all sites and see if anything is pending on any site with one glance. My 75 year mother uses it and loves it. She can see when I am online so she can chat with me.
Because of the growing use of Facebook and Twitter, there is now a way to cite the updates. The web pages explaining it can be found at http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2010/03/how-to-cite-facebook-fan-pages-group-pages-and-profile-information.html and http://www.google.com/reader/view/?hl=en&tab=wy#search/citations/6
 5 Ways Classrooms Can Use Video Conferencing
 Facebook Chat for Groups: Clobby
 3 Ways Educators Are Embracing Social Technology
–JoLynn O’hearn for RIS.