This coming Friday, I will be in Boston to attend the Northeastern College of Professional Studies 2018 Faculty Development Conference. I have been teaching at Northeastern for 3 years, and enjoy both the classes and the progressive approach to education that is Northeastern. Given that I live 560 miles south of the campus, I usually am unable to attend this annual event, but this year, I received a travel grant to present.
I am teaming with two of my former Northeastern graduate students, Dr. Alexa Carlson and Dr. Stephanie Sibicky. Northeastern University is committed to life-long learning, as their Academic Plan 2025 demonstrates, and Alexa and Stephanie are good role models, adding a Masters of Education in eLearning and Instructional Design to their Doctor of Pharmacy degrees. They took three of my classes, and others in the School of Pharmacy are now following their lead.
Our presentation deals with Facebook…about which I have been blogging about this past year. Alexa and Stephanie took two of my classes in which I used a closed Facebook Group, and liked the process so much that they incorporated it into their clinical teaching. Of course, in the past year, I quit using Facebook after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but they have continued to use it, finding value in the connections that other platforms do not provide. So we thought a presentation on our collective use and the pros and cons might be of interest. As I noted in my last post quoting from Siva Vaidhyanathan’s new book, Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy, “Basically, there are two things wrong with Facebook: how it works and how people use it.” There is not much we can do about the first…but we can address the second. That means understanding both the affordances and the potential conflicts such use might create, and educating our students accordingly.
So, check out our slides! I honestly am still debating whether to restart it’s use in my own classes…but definitely see the the value that it brings to online networked learning. Is Facebook any more evil than Google or Twitter? They all are ultimately ad-based platforms…and we are more products than users. If anything, the future has more connections…not fewer. So let us know what you think…this is still open to debate!