Of the four presentations that I have to do today, tomorrow, and Friday, there is one that I am really developing from the ground up and need to think through quite a bit. In thinking about how Mobile Social Software and other read/write web tools are impacting youth, this question will become increasingly important as time goes on.
So, I will be meeting on Friday with some academic advisers to help them think through how newer technologies can help them do their work. I have been asked to think about how messenging, blogging, podcasting, and social networking could contribute to better relationships between advisers and students. I think that I will start with Educause’s 7 Things article about Facebook, and then move in to a broader discussion about how and why we, as adults, use technology to communicate. Then, we can start thinking about what students might want/expect of us.
In preparation for this meeting, the advisers generated a “top ten” list of questions that students typically ask them in order to help frame the discussion during our meeting:
- What do I still need to graduate? When can I graduate?
- Are my University requirements done?
- What’s a cognate and what should I do for a cognate?
- What Study Abroad programs can I go on? How will the credits work in my degree?
- What kind of careers/jobs can I get with this major?
- How can I find and sign up for an internship?
- How long will it take me to graduate if I change my major to ___________?
- I want to take classes near home this summer. How can I do that?
- A class I want/need is full. How can I get an override?
- Do I have to do the foreign language? How can I get it waived?
So, I am trying to think about how all the technologies listed above — and others that aren’t like RSS, Google Calendar, and wikis — could help contribute to helping these students. I am also wondering if these are very Web 1.0 questions. That is, most of these seem like they could be posted as a FAQ on a static web page or, if they wanted to add some interactivity, on a wiki. Thus, I am interested in the deeper questions that these questions are getting at and I am curious to think about how some read/write web tools might help develop better relationships between advisers and students.
As I end this rambling post, here are some things that I am thinking about:
- Getting everyone signed up for Facebook and learning the basic functions of it
- Getting everyone signed up for Bloglines or Google Reader
- Creating a Google Calendar that they can subscribe to
- Using Skype to carry on a conversation with voice and/or chat
What else makes sense here? What other things might an adviser, or a teacher, need to be fluent with in order to stay connected with their students, answer questions in a timely manner, and develop stronger relationships? Thanks in advance for your ideas.