Using Social Networking Technology to Facilitate Global Collaboration

December 3, 2013 | Academics, Technology

Students using a Mediascape in the Information Commons to complete a project.

Students using a Mediascape in the Information Commons to complete a project.

Learning communities, reflection, ePortfolios and collaboration are central to Guttman Community College’s educational model. By leveraging Guttman’s high tech environment, an authentic learning experience in global collaboration was recently conducted to enhance student learning outcomes in Instructor Katie Wilson’s Sociology class.

The Information Commons utilizes Mediascape technology that integrates furniture and technology to allow students to access and share digital information equally, quickly and seamlessly. Mediascape technology has been central to the collaborative nature of Guttman’s activity-based, student-centered model. The Mediascapes have only been used for students to collaborate with other members of their learning communities, not globally.

Recently, the College ran a pilot for a more comprehensive project scheduled for City Seminar I in the fall that involved Guttman students interacting with students in Slovenia. The goal was to “meet” students from around the world and to learn about their lives. Overall, the students enjoyed the collaborative project. “They loved the activity and would like to do more cross-cultural communication in the future,” noted Verlene Herrington, Associate Professor, Chief Librarian and Director of Academic Technology.

After exploring various social networking platforms, a free cloud-based collaboration tool, Course Networking (CN) developed by IUPUI, was selected for use with the Mediascapes.  One of the purposes of this collaborative activity among faculty, IT and the Information Commons was to set up a living social laboratory focusing on introducing students to the systematic study of the social lives of people, groups and societies. Research shows that preparing students to become global citizens with intercultural communication skills and sensitivity to cultural differences is an important college goal.


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