Tuesday, March 25, 2008

LinkedIn Questions & Answers -- Higher Education

I was crafting another LinkedIn question and happened across some previous answers I posted to a recurring theme (and corresponding position). I first got involved in the LinkedIn Questions and Answers when a student of mine asked if there was "this much" interaction outside the walls of academia (my courses, both face-to-face and online, are very interactive).

I'll post only the most recent response, but both questions. There's a link to each if you want to follow up. IN either case, check out my LinkedIn profile, and connect with me if I can assist you in your professional endeavors.

Outstanding classroom spaces

What are, in your opinion, some of the best classroom and training facility spaces you have seen? What constitutes a condusive learning space for you, in terms of space, layout, presentation utilities (boards, projectors), integration of technology, etc. Do you have examples of colleges or corporations with outstanding classroom facilities? Please share.

My favorite conducive learning space is one where a facilitator (instructor, professor, teacher, etc.) and participants (students, scholars, etc.) are able to engage, in an environment that encourages learning and is unrestricted by man-made boundaries. The best learning spaces are actually hybrids - with a live and online interface.

Here's why this is so powerful. In the "normal" class, we break up on a Thursday, having had several stimulating discussions during class. On Friday, one of the students sees a news article (or re-reads the chapter or article we were discussing, or talks with a co-worker), and the light bulb goes on over their head regarding the topic discussed the previous afternoon/evening (meaning they "got it"). By Tuesday, he or she has forgotten the original point made during class, and nothing in that (Tuesday) class discussion seems to be an appropriate place to bring it up, so he or she doesn't. Note that in this scenario, the learning opportunities are limited.

In the unlimited learning environment, or "hybrid" (live teaching supplemented with online interactivity) class, the same student reads the same information on Friday. He or she logs in to the Virtual Classroom, and posts the website of the news article, the page/paragraph number of what he read, etc., and says something like, "when we were discussing the possibility that terrorists were funding their operations with drug money, is this what you were talking about?" Another student then responds with a clarification, "not all funding is from drug money," and another, "and not all terrorist organizations have access to drug money." Another posts another link with an explanation, and a fifth posts a counter-position.

Do you see the difference?

This all happens before the weekend even begins, and every student that logs on (even if they don't post) is reminded of what we discussed in the previous class. The professor shows up for class on Tuesday and begins to set up while everyone else has already started reviewing the material from the last class! Honestly, how likely is that with the traditional classroom?

Another reason I feel this is an excellent tool is that there are some students (often referred to as triple type A personalities) who need no encouragement to participate in class. Others (perhaps more introverted) feel more comfortable thinking about their response before they "go public." The discussion board allows for quality participation by both -- kind of like the Answers section here at LinkedIn.

Does that make sense?

see also E-learning and taking courses online...Like it? Love it? Hate it? Why? If you don't like it - could anything be done to make it better?

And, related to the previous post . . . see this question:

Best advice about networking to students?

Dear all,

In a few weeks I will be speaking to a class of students at the University of Applied Sciences in Krems, Austria. I have been given 2 hours to present the ins and outs of networking. I see this as a very limited time, and ask for your help: If you were to give just one piece of advice about networking what would it be?

I recently presented to faculty my thoughts on the use of Social Networking in the education process, which I think most of the students may already be engaged in, making your presentation a logical extension of their current application. Here are some excerpts, and the link to the paper and presentation (the references are listed there,as well). Let me know if it helps.

Social networks are a powerful foundation from which to develop group identity and cohesion. Social networks are often examined in the context of the small world phenomenon – everyone in the world is accessible through a “short chain of social acquaintances” (Milgram, S., 1967, as cited in Finin, et al., 2005, p. 422)

Many in higher education are using, or to some extent evaluating the use of, contemporary social networking technology such as MySpace or Facebook (Carnevale, 2006; Lamb & Johnson, 2006; Lindenberger, 2006).

Social networking sites allow a personal form of regularly-used communication, much like a mobile phone number or personal email address. With social networking sites, meeting and getting to know people
with whom one shares interests or contacts is not limited by time and space. These sites provide the ability to build a trusted community, which becomes useful to facilitate the introductions of others without being present, share one’s opinions about specific items and events, and share news and information with a pre-screened and pre-selected group of people – simultaneously. The technology allows groups with similar interests to form and share information and ideas in both synchronous and asynchronous communication.

Social networking sites for professionals are a likely extension into the professional world for use by faculty and alumni to maintain contact. Implementing the use of social networks while students attend college would allow faculty to maintain contact with those students as they go
out into the community following graduation. Using social networks to stay in contact with graduates would increase the value of the faculty-student relationship, and might lead to a more loyal cadre of alumni. The perceived value to alumni could be reflected in their loyalty to the university, as demonstrated by a partnership in areas like employment of later graduates, support for athletic organizations, and financial contributions.


I have enough material myself to fill closer to 3hrs, so it's not knowledge I'm lacking, but I thought your advice might help me to prioritise right.

No comments: