Blogs, and for that matter Web 2.0 tools in general, are becoming the newest medium for communities to communicate and collaborate and my goal through the next six weeks will be to consider how other post-secondary programs are already utilizing these tools for promoting their programs and for enhancing student learning.
To consider how cooperative education (co-op) programs are benefiting from Web 2.0 I will not only see what my colleagues around the globe already have up and running but I will consider how we might utilize Web 2.0 to promote our program, communicate with our stakeholders, engage students in learning and development and also use these tools for personal and professional development.
I have been able to view many career education related blogs thus far and will choose my favorites to follow over the upcoming posts. To date, some of my findings of interest have been captured in the sidebar links in the right hand column of my blog and I have also begun to bookmark several others that are of interest. For example, you can see the 10 DO’s and 10 DON’T’s of interviews are two career advice links which are saved and examples such as these can foster future consideration on how we deliver and provide our career advice to our students.
I have also come across a couple of post-secondary co-op (also referred to as work integrated learning) programs that are utilizing blogs and other web 2.0 applications. Simon Fraser University in British Columbia http://www.sfu.ca/wil/has blogs for their work integrated learning (WIL) programs and has even created a facebook/online mascot, W-I-L, and a twitter feed to engage students. I am confident that I will learn more about SFU’s use of Web 2.0 by exploring what they have to offer online and I will consider the direction they are taking in several upcoming blogs.
The Australian Learning and Teaching Council Exchange http://www.altcexchange.edu.au/resources/alp/1201 is an exchange community who shares various work integrated learning resources and I have just found out about their collaborative work through my research for this blog while seeking blogs that are of interest to me. I have become one of the newest members of this exchange and I plan to learn more and blog about the exchange in future posts. Their site explains that “the Exchange is an online professional networking site which enables members to contribute, collaborate, and share knowledge about innovative teaching and learning practices in higher education with like-minded professionals” and with the work and resources already available on several education topics that are of interest to my work, I know that I will have lots to consider from their already active contributions on the exchange.
As noted by Tim O’Reilly, the transition to Web 2.0 is forming “a movement from the web being a static means of one-way, mass communication to an interactive, personal communication medium” (cited in Johnson, 2006, p. 24) and as I explore other post-secondary blogs I see that staff and students are already using these transformative technologies in formal and informal ways. Several questions are already forming for me and will guide my future considerations, such as how will we consider who should be the driver of the use of web 2.0 tools? Where, when and how might we use Web 2.0, i.e. in seminars, workshops, in open cyber-space, while students are on work placements, to recruit, to reflect, for assignments, as an option…? Can we engage students to lead the use of these new technologies or should the drive come from the academic program side?
I suspect that a collaborative effort which remains an in progress, living work and which is able to grow, develop, adapt, and change, will be effective. As long as we discover and formulate what essential guidelines will lead to ethical, respectful, purposeful, and meaningful communication then we can begin to seriously consider how we move forward to implementing these newest forms of technology for our program. I look forward to considering further how we might have students and staff communicating to guide the path into the future use of these technologies.
What must it have been like to transition to the use of electricity, the phone, the fax, email, cell phones, the world wide web…? Can you recall the time before your transition to a “new technology” and can you now imagine living without that technology? Considerations of new and upcoming technologies are not an option they are a must. Change is the only constant and the only constant is change (for actual, full quote see http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Heraclitus).
Welcome to our next transition, Web 2.0 here we come! ~:)
Johnson, D. (2006). Blogging and the media specialist. Learning and Leading with Technology, 33(6), 24-25.