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Social media in the classroom

Debating the role of digital communication in learning institutions
January 19, 2012

Last term, students in Concordia’s communication studies graduate diploma program were asked to participate in a student advisory group on social media.

With the support of the CTLS, graduate film students Camilo Martin Florez and Felipe Martin Florez from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema filmed a short video of the discussion:

The session was organized by communications professor Leslie Shade; Ollivier Dyens, Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning, and Concordia’s Centre for Teaching and Learning Services. It was also part the diploma course, Definitions of Media and Technology I.

Students were asked to reflect on a series of issues related to how universities, who rely on traditional forms of instruction, can meet the learning needs of digitally savvy students. They contributed through online discussions and a conversation, moderated by Shade.

Following the conversation, the students were divided into groups for more focused discussion. Some instructors and web administrators from Concordia also contributed during these discussions.

Questions addressed included: 

  • What are the risks and opportunities in using social media for pedagogy?
  • What are the various intellectual property issues in using social media for pedagogy?
  • What are the most appropriate social media tools and platforms for engagement?
  • What are the necessary skills needed to become a ‘digitally literate’ citizen?
  • What should be the components of digital citizenship?

The organizers hope the group’s findings will help shape future institutional policies surrounding the use of social media in classrooms at Concordia.

“One of the overall objectives is to develop a grassroots approach,” said John Bentley, program coordinator and instructional developer at the Centre for Teaching and Learning Services. “We captured these discussions on video so that they can be used to help inform Concordia's planning, policies and guidelines in terms of emerging technologies, social media platforms and learning in the 21st-century classroom.”

As a follow-up to her participation in the discussion, Communication Studies Diploma student Orli Kessel contributed a blog entry detailing her take on social media’s effect on our lives. Read it here.

Related links:
•  Concordia’s Centre for Teaching and Learning Services
•  "Living online has consequences" – NOW, January 19, 2012

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