Surrender the Crown: Informal, Student-centered Discussion with CourseNetworking
Change the online discussion paradigm—from overly formal, instructor-provoked decrees into a creative, student-led learning community—with CourseNetworking! This free tool can take your class discussion to another level. Participants will be granted access to a live example course to try it out themselves.
Online classroom discussion has become an overly formal, even stifling exercise that rarely allows for students and faculty to build real connections. This discovery session will briefly address the research around the importance of informal, student-centered discussion, and then introduce and provide hands-on experience with a free, academic social network tool that can help make this easy: CourseNetworking. The presenter, an instructional designer, will provide many examples of the tool in use in live courses. Finally, participants will be invited to a virtual “OLC Innovate 2020” CourseNetworking class to get hands-on experience using the tool, and to continue scholarly discussion of the benefit of community building through informal discussion even after the conference.
Few academics deny the power of the informal discussions that go on in classrooms every day. Yet, take a look at online classes, and you’ll rarely find that same energy and freedom of expression. Open-ended, student-centered online discussion has been ignored in favor of formal assessment masquerading as discourse— formulaic response posts to predetermined questions. Is it any wonder that students have come to dread the “1 post, 2 replies” model of mandatory online interaction? In the first part of our session, we’ll cover how informal online interaction via a social networking platform is valuable for:
Content- Learners can use social media tools to share a wide variety of topic-relevant content from other sources with one another.
Connection- In an academic social media platform, learners feel more connected to one another and to the instructor.
Creation- Learners become free to create unique content.
Collaboration- Collaboration is only as difficult as it is to facilitate, and a platform for informal interaction makes it much easier.
Community- Instructors can combine classes or cohorts, loop in outside experts in the field, and allow students who have graduated to guide their peers.
Then, we’ll address common concerns regarding social media, which is often rightly criticized in academic circles for distracting learners with irrelevant content, blurring the lines between professional and personal life, exposing learners to privacy risks, and providing an avenue for superficial communication. CourseNetworking (CN) leaps these pitfalls by offering a unique social networking experience to learners and the instructor. CN is FERPA-compliant, accessible, and provides a variety of moderator tools and features.
At this point, a card will be given to participants with a QR code and information on how to log in to the CourseNetworking site and enroll in our “OLC Innovate 2020” class in order to try out the platform. The presenter and several other colleagues will be active in the CourseNetworking class for weeks (or longer) to continue the discussion about the benefits of informal classroom discourse, and to answer questions and share further research and resources.
Redecker, C., Ala-Mutka, K., and Punie, Y. (2010) Learning 2.0-the impact of social media on learning in Europe. JRC Scientific and Technical Report. EUR JRC56958 EN. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/cljlpq