Are you sharing what you’ve learned ? All forms of educational institutions attempt to create community. From grade school through to post secondary education, communities are created through classrooms, activities and sports. Many educational institutions have websites where school information and directories are located. I found two examples of social media being used to foster community and take it one step further. The interesting thing about this is that both individuals are documenting and sharing the process of using social media to strengthen community.
Rachel Reuben is the Director of Web Communication and Strategic Projects at State University of New York at New Paltz. Rachel launched an online community for students based upon a cafe like context. She created a Ning group and invited potential students to join. Although not a new endeavor, other universities have done the same thing, Rachel is documenting and sharing the process with her community so more can learn from the experience.
Diane Collier, a PHD student at UBC started a community to encourage dialogue about the readings in advance of discussion in class. Instead of emailing everyone it was a simpler forum. The students could also respond quickly, easily and in simple terms. “The idea was partly to take away the voice of the prof too so that students engage in freer way.We also encouraged students to add personal and professional stuff. videos, pics…Also, it’s ongoing. We didn’t shut it down after the course so students could continue to talk as they move into teaching.” When she gives lectures to future teachers about methods she uses this example to demonstrate the power of community through social media.
Sharing valuable information about using social media to foster community growth and increase ROI is what sets these two examples apart.
Photo credit:FJ Gaylor