This week we engaged in an online conversation with NUI Galway academic staff taking the #cel263 Learning Technologies module to share ideas about openness in higher education. We engaged in conversation via a Twitter chat and were joined online by several others interested in this topic, including participants in the #iCollab project.
In CT231 we have been exploring social media, digital identities and privacy, as have been the lecturers taking #cel263. We met online for a 30-minute Twitter chat during our CT231 class, to share ideas about the advantages and risks of openness in higher education, including the use of open social media tools for learning and teaching. Over the course of about half an hour, we discussed openness, collaboration, privacy, boundaries, using Facebook and Twitter, power dynamics in higher education, and more.
John Davitt has described Twitter as “a tool for anarchic learning and peer support”. While it is often challenging to follow ideas in the chaos of a lively Twitter chat, conversations often develop, threads emerge, and connections are made. In our chat, many of these become visible when the chat was reviewed and curated, as illustrated in the Storify above. Engaging in a Twitter chat while sitting in a room with others (as we did in our CT231 class), gave us an opportunity to discuss the Twitter chat before, during and after it took place. The post-chat discussion was especially valuable, with many in the room sharing honestly about their fears and reservations, as well as their expectations and learning.
Advantages and disadvantages were highlighted for both Blackboard (as representative of VLEs, or Virtual Learning Environments) and open tools like social media. Perhaps, in higher education, we are moving towards more hybrid learning environments, where the relative advantages of both VLEs and open tools can be used to create multi-faceted learning environments, where student voices play a greater role.
We will continue to explore these issues within our class. CT231 students will have opportunities to develop and reflect on these experiences and ideas throughout the module — much of this will be aggregated via the hashtags #ct231 (for our module) and #icollab (as part of the larger #iCollab project), and shared here in our course blog and later in the CT231 Student Showcase.