Contracted by the Business and Leadership Programs at the University of Saskatchewan, I designed, developed, and facilitated a week long, blended delivery workshop on the use of Social Media tools. The focus was on personal professional development and how to find function within a sea of available tools and networks.
The delivery included two days of face-to-face workshops that took place over two Saturdays, and six days in between of online work. The face-to-face sessions took place in a computer lab at the University and were blended with the online activities based around a Class Wiki and personal Blogs. Participants each had their own workstation within the lab and were expected to have basic computer literacy skills to be successful. Participants were given a printed Course Guide one week prior to the workshop, but were not instructed to do any pre-work other than obtaining an email address that could be accessed from a public computer.
A short introductory presentation with audience interactions and activities began day one.
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By noon on the first day participants were contributing to the Class Wiki and building their own Blogs as part of the integrated activities they would be doing online over the next week. Students learned about the tools by using the tools and began to see how networking, collaborating and sharing through web 2.0 tools could be purposeful and constructive in their professional lives.
Over the next week students were tasked with an online assignment. The work included reviewing several web 2.0 tools of their own choosing. They were asked to research and choose tools that they thought would be useful to them personally or professionally and to try them out for a week. They were then asked to add those resources to a collaborative wiki page and to review the tools on their own blogs. They were also asked to read each other’s blog posts, comment on the reviews, and ask questions creating a learning community. This online portion of this blended course gave them opportunity to master skills they had learned at the first face-to-face session and also served as preparation for the second session.
The second face-to-face session began with a discussion about the online activities they had been taking part in for the past week. We looked at the Class Wiki and had people talk about some of the tools they had discovered. Students were then given some time to explore tools that were discovered and to discuss with their peers the advantages and disadvantages of many types of tools and innovative ways they had found function for their own lives.
Before lunch I presented an introduction to some material to be covered in the afternoon around the concepts of filtering using RSS feeds, mash-ups, and embedding widgets.
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In the afternoon students were given time to work on concepts discussed in the morning and we ended with an overview of the possible future of web 3.0 tools and the horizon of social media as a whole.
The course was evaluated using a U of S survey tool and received positive feedback. Many students have continued to use the blogs and tools they created within the course. The wiki that was used for both deliveries of this course thus far continues to be a resource of social media tools for the students and others as an open resource.