Instructional Uses of Social/Digital Media at UTSC

Many instructors are looking for innovative strategies to help their students move beyond being consumers of social media, and toward becoming active contributors and creators of digital content. On Monday, March 3, the Centre for Teaching and Learning at UT Scarborough hosted a panel presentation by faculty members who shared insights and practical advice on engaging students through “Instructional Uses of Social and Digital Media.”  Here are some of the great ideas that were discussed at that event:

Leslie Chan teaches a course in International Development Studies that offers students opportunities to learn first hand how social media is used for networked communication and citizen activism. The course uses an open wiki space, where projects developed by students are shared from year to year. The site integrates a twitter feed and also allows expert guests from the instructor’s research network to answer questions from the class. The IDSB10H Knowledge for Communication and Development course integrates collaborative activities that support the role of the student as researcher, both contributing and reviewing joint project work.

IDS course screen shot

William Gough spoke about introduction of more active learning through use of social media in his course on Principles of Climatology that features an  EESB03 twitter feed for posting media news and gathering student observations related to current phenomena, such as the recent “frostquakes” in the Toronto area. The twitter stream is integrated within Blackboard and students are offered optional participation marks for various activities.

EES twitter feed screen shot

Dr. Gough also described his “snowcam,” a real time low-tech solution in the form of a camera that captures the depth of snow against a simple outdoor measuring stick.

Daniel Scott Tysdal spoke about his work teaching creative writing and digital publishing in ENGB38, The Graphic Novel. Students have the opportunity to explore how poetic traditions appear in non-traditional digital forms, for example taking the idea of the iPhone or Photoshop as a “new pen” or mining Twitter and Facebook for new materials and inspiration.  New apps such as Halftone are available for authoring digital materials by combining visual images and text in comic format. New techniques are introduced within his classroom as students are engaged in experiential learning, re-thinking conventional material and forms – or perhaps crowdsourcing ideas and content.  The instructor shared this example of his own work entitled: Halftone Rubbing Stone: The Untold Story of the Great Rock’s End.

Screenshot of Tysdal graphic poetry work
 An interesting and thought provoking session. Hats off to the CTL team for organizing and hosting the event!
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