Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Share It": The Meme of Academic Technology and the Community College

We are North Shore Community College.  Community is a central part of our identity.  We serve the communities in which we are located.  We are a community ourselves filled with staff, faculty, students, visitors and many others.  All definitions of community include sharing common elements among its participants.  At NSCC, one shared purpose for all of us is improved student outcomes; finding the most effective ways to help our students succeed in our classes, in their work, in their lives, and in their communities.

Individually, we find myriad ways of doing this in our classrooms.  We also find things that don't always work the way we had hoped.  But we often don't get the chance to share our successes and challenges.  This is why in Academic Technology, we're very interested in hearing from you and having you share with us what you are doing and how it's going.  When it comes to technology, we know our community uses all sorts of great tools, programs, and websites, which is why we really want to encourage everyone to share it.  With your department, with your division, with us, and everyone else.

This blog is an attempt to further amplify the potential for sharing for as we come into contact with different faculty across disciplines, we hope to learn and spread the word on what is working with our faculty and our students.  We highly encourage our readers to visit back here often and to continue the conversation with us about the ways learning and technology can be improved at NSCC.

I’m always reminded that unlike many resources in the material world, sharing ideas and knowledge does not work as a zero sum game.  The digital world is one in which sharing is not limited by the amount one has, but rather by the amount one is connected to.  The detriment of this is certainly to be found in realm of copyrighted material and consumer digital content, but in academia, the idea of sharing and providing access is increasingly popular.  The Open Courseware Consortium  illustrates the degree to which colleges of all sorts are sharing their material not just within their colleges and universities, but across the globe.  In this way, I believe that NSCC can enhance the quality of our education by pooling together our resources for the sake of our students.

While on the topic of sharing, I want to take this opportunity to mention three books that I will probably be talking about at further length in another post, but these three are key for thinking about how the new digital landscape facilitates sharing and what sharing can mean in education.  While they don’t directly focus on education, their ideas are useful in exposing us to the ways in which knowledge, learning, and skill might be differently acquired in these new environment.  So please check them out and of course, if you have thoughts about them or about this post, share them!

  1. Anderson, Chris. Free: The Future of a Radical Price. New York: Hyperion, 2009.
  2. Jarvis, Jeff. Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2011.
  3. Botsman, Rachel, and Roo Rogers. What's Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption. New York: Harper Business, 2010.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • What are some of the ways you facilitate sharing in your profession? 

  • Do you encourage your students to share resources (and not in the plagiarized paper sort of way)? 

  • What would that look like and what perceived benefits would you gain from it?