Today I attended a JISC Netskills (@netskills) webinar Supporting Researcher Engagement With Social Tools presented by Alan Cann. Although I work with and have the privilege of teaching alongside Alan, it is always interesting to hear him talk. This talk was a follow-on from @daveowhite talk The Rhetoric of Openness.
Alan started the talk referring to the RIN project ‘If you build it, will they come? How researchers perceive and use web 2.0‘, which looked at the extent of adoption of different web 2.0 tools in different subject ﬁelds and disciplines. He implied the simple answer to the question is No! Therefore he co-authored a response: Social media: A guide for researchers.
Social media: A guide for researchers
The guide has a number of case studies of how different researchers use social media.
The talk went on to look how to start engaging in Social Media and the different roles people take within Social Media or as @daveowhite calls it Visitors and Residents. This raised questions over the effect social media can have on work/life balance. Alan suggesting this has become worse for him since owning an iPad. The way I see it is social media has made work more enjoyable, making it more of a hobby and hence blurring the boundaries. Not sure this is a good thing?
However as a contradiction one of the participants asked about the expectations of the presence of a university within social media. With the owner of the university’s account clocking-off at 5pm, but is there an expectation to answer question at 9pm in the evening. I have blogged at length about the University of Leicester Student Development Service’s presence in social media, however this is never an issue we have encountered, I believe student except the service is only open 9-5, and therefore replying the next day are acceptable.
Alan talked about the “Galaxy of social media” he uses: twitter, LinkedIn, friendfeed, facebook and blogs. But iterated it is not about the platforms or the tools, its about how you engage and the pedagogical benefits. This is the challenge that Learning Technologist, like myself face. Alan called this Technodeterminism, not to advocate tools, but finding solutions to pedagogical challenges.
Here are some blog posts from other participants:
Alan also suggest some key books to read:
- Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder, David Weinberger (2008)
- Here Comes Everybody: How Change Happens when People Come Together, Clay Shirky (2008)
- The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few, James Surowieki (2005)