The Social Student – Share Ideas

Want a shocker? Well, I plan on posting my students’ presentations on YouTube—with student permissions, of course. Online for the public eye—creating open and transparent knowledge—knowledge educators tend to stuff inside the catacombs (translate: garbage bins) of ivory towers.

As an aside, I’m not an AU instructor; I instruct at a small community college. But I’m an AU student, and thanks to AU (and The Voice), I’ve moved into a teaching career.

I’m also a risk-taker: I’m teaching at the college what I’m taking at AU. I keep hush my disabilities. And I often fall fifty-feet-bruised, but keep climbing. Why? Because hardship makes success sweeter.

At the other extreme, the effort behind falling fully to failure is bittersweet. Yet, bittersweet squares make for fine chocolate mousses.

Let’s return to the ivory tower. A well-loved professor of mine ranted about the ivory tower’s inequality. He indoctrinated me. So, my classroom will take on the best of open education (and open software): the freedom to share, guide, adapt, and build. Why stash and shred when you can share student work?

When I was in graduate school, a supervisor of mine didn’t disclose names of articles I needed. Instead of fast-tracking my learning, she sent me on wild chases. Why? Well, in the ivory tower, knowledge is cryptic, elitist?not readily shared. That same professor taught another class I took. She stored stacks of pre-readings in the library reserves, and required her students to cite a one-sentence quote hidden within the piles.

After seven-hours of feeding coins into a photocopier, I finally located the quote. Yet, instead of spending time mastering Foucault, I unjammed photocopiers. And I pitied the students who failed to feed coins for the timeframe of a cross-Canada flight. They got B’s.

But, then, the professor did something spectacular. She gave me a template to guide my draft of a SSHRC scholarship application. No secrets. No ivory tower. This template helped me master the art of fundraising. I secured over twenty thousand in scholarship money. Plus, the professor shared templates with even more students. Submission quality spiked, the department boasted success, and, yes, sometimes students ate steak.

We grow when we have models to work from, whether they be papers, people, or presentations. And everyone has something to share. Surely, most gain from a seasoned mentor. And we all love the coaches who make us champs. We should set precedents, whether we’re instructors, students?or both.

So, I plan on posting my students’ videos on YouTube. We are no longer universities where tethered hands, ripe with paper cuts, climb ladders to scour the annals of philosophy. Info is now instant, social, and open.

But is it better?

In future articles, I will touch on traditional alternatives to social media in education. My 80-some year-old landlord often said, ‘Times have gotten worse,’ and my 92-year-old grandmother still says the same. But, neither had Facebook.