Integrating Social Media into Online Education –

From a short article by John Orlando, PhD, from “Faculty Focus” newsletter (I added the boldface.)

But few colleges have a social media strategy. The assumption is still that all content must be housed within the LMS. Systems such as Blackboard are adding social media modules like blogs and wikis, but moving them into the locked-down LMS removes the very openness which gives these media value. The better approach is to understand that the LMS is just one tool among many for delivering online learning, and just like a carpenter, use the tool that best suits the job.

Here are some ways to incorporate social media into your course:

  • Faculty members who want to create a hybrid course should use social media systems such as blogs or wikis rather than an LMS. An LMS is good for a fully online course, but requires needless administrative time for a hybrid course.
  • Many faculty are teaching fully online courses though a combination of social media and LMS systems. … At Norwich University, I’ve added blogs, wikis and webinars outside of our LMS to provide students with an opportunity to explore issues within the profession that interests them.
  • Schools are starting to attach social media “shells” to their LMS. … [provide]  students with a “personal learning space” where they can create a blog, share sites, and collaborate in a variety of ways with like-minded students. It also allows clubs and departments to create Facebook-like sites to share information.
  • Schools are changing to an LMS built on social media principles, such as Drupal. An open source platform, Drupal gives faculty the flexibility to make student blogs the homepage of their course, rather than administrative functions, encouraging collaboration. Better yet, any part of a course can be made public so that students can engage in conversations with other students, faculty, or professionals in the field.

Education is changing, and social media is presenting a world of opportunity to improve learning outcomes.

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