Designing learning activities with social media

social media garden

Photo Credit: mkhmarketing via Compfight cc

Yesterday I delivered a staff development session called ‘Social Media for Learning and Teaching – Facebook and beyond’ as part of the Academic Practice Programme here at the university.  It was an enjoyable session and there was a lot of useful discussion from all of the participants.  One of the activities we did was to plan for where social media might fit across the academic calendar and I thought it might be useful to share that here.

5C Cycle of Social Media

5C Cycle of Social Media

Essentially, we were looking at the way in which social media could be used (retaining Course Resources (Blackboard) as the main learning hub) to enhance 5 key things, :

  • Community
  • Collaboration
  • Curation
  • Creativity
  • Careers

To help think about what activities might benefit from social media, I introduced a social media designer template which I developed based on Gilly Salmon’s e-tivity approach.  The social media designer template essentially gets colleagues to consider several key aspects – what is it that students are responding to, what is the purpose of what they’re doing (and how does it relate to learning outcomes) and what is the task they’ll be undertaking.  It then asks 6 further questions:

  1. When and how will you introduce it?
  2. Will is be assessed?
  3. Is it going to be open to the world or does it need to have access restricted?
  4. When will you brief students on copyright?
  5. What support will your students need?
  6. What support might you need?

I think the above additional elements are vital to think about when you’re designing social media into the curriculum in any way.  There are key skills of digital literacy which need to be thought about – for both staff and students – and being realistic about where it fits within a module, how you’re going to support and how comfortable you feel about providing that support needs to be considered as early as possible.  The benefits in terms of enhancing community, collaboration, creativity, curation and careers are there for the taking.

With a little bit of additional thought and design, there’s some rich learning just a click away!

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