Tag: social media thematic week

Thematic week: Challenging the conference-going norms of the academic elite: the potential of blogs

dr. Jana Bouwma-Gearhart (University of Kentucky)

In this post, dr. Jana Bouwma-Gearhart shares her views on the potential of blogs in contributing to sharing research knowledge – a domain usually populated by conferences. Dr. Jana Bouwma-Gearhart  is a professor at the School of Education at University of Kentucky (USA). She obtained her PhD from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her research interests also include issues related to effects of teaching professional development programs on both staff and students and faculty motivation. She is the chair of the science education program faculty, and is involved in teaching teacher education programmes.  and in her recent work she has examined the role of blogs in research communication

Recently, I attended the annual conference of the American Education Research Association (AERA), arguably the preeminent education research conference in the US and, perhaps, to many of our international colleagues as well.  It was in Vancouver, Canada, one of the loveliest large cities in North America.  It is also the most expensive.  But I was committed to doing it all relatively on the cheap; I shared a bed in a rented apartment, I cooked many of my own meals, I invited colleagues over for drinks procured from the corner shop.  Thus, the experience “only” cost about 2,200 US dollars. But I didn’t pay personally for the conference experience; I rarely do.

I was born into academia with a silver spoon in my mouth.  My work as a graduate student, then Assistant Researcher, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was supported by numerous grants.  My continued research studying higher education in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) qualifies me for some really big ones, most notably from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the US.  I have the pleasure of having support from three NSF grants and these, along with a rather generous university travel stipend (in comparison to many other universities in the US and surely in the world) for research and travel means that I have never really wanted for adequate support as an academic.

Hedda podcast: Social media and new modes of learning with Dr. T. Andrews

We continue our thematic week with episode 34 of our Hedda podcast series with a focus on social media. Dr. Trish Andrews reflects on learning in the context of social media – does social media change how we learn and how fundamental is this change? She further reflects on the concept of m-learning and the role of informal learning in relation to social media and gives some reflections on the new challenges for higher education.

Listen without the Flashplayer

Dr. Trish Andrews (University of Queensland)

Dr. Trish Andrews is a Senior Lecturer in Higher Education with the Teaching and Educational Development Institute (TEDI) at the University of Queensland. Her career in education has spanned over three decades and she has worked at all levels from early childhood through to post-secondary and higher education.

Dr. Andrews has a particular focus on integrating Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) into teaching and learning activities in higher education environments and has had extensive involvement in the design and support of innovative learning spaces at the University of Queensland. She  has also been presented with two UQ awards for programs that enhance learning (2009 & 2010) and has also received Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) awards for programs that enhance learning in 2010 & 2011.


Thematic week: Communicating broadly – which social media channels?

Jarle V. Traavik (University of Oslo)

This entry is written by Jarle V. Traavik, who works as the head of finance at the Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Oslo and is a self proclaimed ‘social media guy’, managing social media at the faculty. Jarle is a UK Chartered Accountant and has over 20 years of experience in business and management with an interest on communication strategies. He has worked closely on a number of issues related to strategic planning at the faculty, in addition to participating to the university wide initiative “Task force on Social Media”. In this post, he reflects on portfolio challenges related to building up presence on social media. 

Social media is already an integral part of education. Not only is it a source of information in its own right, but it is also a reference mechanism, and a tool for facilitating learning. The “twitterverse” knows the news before it reaches mainstream media, many use social networks to seek advice or store links, and lecturers use these tools to query or advise students.

As a playground of choice for many prospective and existing students, social media is an ideal tool for communicating issues of interest in higher education. Journalists are also known to make use of Twitter for example, making it a potentially good channel to forward research findings to the wider community. Additionally, some staff also use social media actively for communicating with colleagues, and hint at social media as an alternative to e-mail or internal newsletters.

So the tools and the interest are there. We also know however, that resources at most education institutions are stretched. In many cases therefore schools or universities will need to maneuver for maximum output from minimum input.

Thematic week: Social media in higher education – Where do we go now?

Mal Chia – University of Adelaide

This entry is written by Mal Chia, who works as a digital media strategist for University of Adelaide in Australia. He has more than 10 years of experience in working on various topics related to digital strategies. In this post, he points to some new challenges and opportunities related to social media. 

Social media is everywhere. Particularly in higher education, every institutions home page now proudly boasts a complement of follow buttons from the ubiquitous Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to the fast growing Pinterest, Vimeo and Google+. Matter of fact, some publications estimate as high as 98% of institutions are active on at least one social media platform.

So how are we going?

While it’s hard to make a call on how effectively we as a sector are using social media, it’s a safe bet to assume that most institutions are struggling to understand exactly where it fits into the existing communications mix and what they should be posting which is ironic given the sheer volume of content we generate. The problem is that social media is often treated like another channel, lumped in with television, radio, print and (to a lesser extent) email without much consideration to the seismic change it has had on society, culture and the way we interact with each other.

Social media isn’t just another channel to broadcast messages. It is more than a specific platform but a monumental change in human behaviour.

Thematic week: Social media

Social media in higher education seems to be somewhat of a fashionable topic at the moment, and one can find a number of lists online about what one should do and should not do in terms of social media. There are a number of people with a rather strong opinions about social media. Social media is either seen as leading universities to becoming obsolete, and as such the doom and gloom of higher education, or as a fad that will pass.

Common to both of these opinions is that there appears to be an almost religions approach to either opposing or supporting social media and its use in higher education. However, we want to go beyond the commandments and examine what using social media in higher education actually means.

For this purpose, we have asked four experts to share their experiences on various topics related to social media. The topics are wide and go across strategic thinking and practical experiences on building up a social media presence, to thinking about research activities and learning in higher education. Here is a little summary of what is coming up this week