Using Social Media to Improve Interactivity in Online Courses
Presented by Diane Wilcox, Randy Snow, and Allison Wood
Today’s students have been raised with Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Picasa, and other types of social media. In addition, many students regularly use iPhones, Blackberries, and Smart Phones to stay connected to their peers continuously. Since students are accustomed to using these technologies, why not incorporate them into interactive learning experiences in online courses? Research shows that the kind of interactivity, active learning, and community afforded through social media may contribute to student success in online courses. For this reason, we decided to give our current online courses a makeover to update them with new activities involving social media and web 2.0 activities. Our goal for this project was to use social media to create interactive, just-in-time learning experiences appropriate for our young peer-connected audience. We swapped out boring Blackboard discussion boards with the discussion section of our HRD Facebook page. We did this so that both current and former students could participate in lively, more spontaneous real-world discussions, thus enabling students to benefit from the posts of active practitioners. The proposed presentation will present some of the benefits and challenges we encountered in using these new media in our online summer courses.
Diane Wilcox is an Associate Professor and Program Coordinator for the Adult Education/Human Resource Development Program in the College of Education where she teaches Visual Communication, Instructional Technology, Research Methods, and Materials Development. Prior to joining JMU, Diane worked as an instructional design manager in the software industry. She earned her undergraduate degree in business at the College of William and Mary, and her graduate degrees in educational psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests include examining how different media and technologies may be used to improve student learning and attitudes about subject matter.
Randy Snow earned his BS Degree in Education from Eastern Mennonite University and Master of Science in Education (Human Resource Development) from James Madison University. Former K12 Educator and Coach for 5 years in the Rockingham County School system, working with at-risk youth in a state funded drop out prevention program. Worked in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing for 10 years in Supervision and Human Resource Development. Worked two years as a Human Resource Analyst for a Clinical Research Organization with emphasis on performance improvement and corrective and preventive action. Currently, I begin my 5th year instructing in the College of Education at James Madison University. I serve as an instructor and coordinator for the Human Resource Development Minor and instruct in the Adult Learning, Human Resource Development Masters Degree program. I recently co-authored a chapter with Dr. Michele Estes entitled; Adult Learning and Virtual World Simulation. The chapter can be found in Dr. Diane Wilcox and Pavel Zemliansky’s recently published book entitled; Design and Implementation of Educational Games; Theoretical and Practical Perspectives.