Tag Archives: Social Media

Managing the Flow of Information (or Not)

Information and advice about instructional design and technology is everywhere. And it’s being generated everyday, 24/7 – on websites, at conferences, in journals and magazines, in email newsletters, in social networking communities, and on blogs. Much of what I find sits in my Delicious bookmarks account – neatly tagged, but unread.

How do we manage the constant flow of information? And perhaps more importantly, how do we attend to it?

At the end of a recent keynote presentation titled Say it in Photos (which was apparently presented from bed), Alan Levine (@CogDog) was asked: how do you keep up with the stream of information? Alan’s answer was quick and to the point: you can’t. I think he even laughed a little bit when he said it. His advice was to focus on the things that “give you energy” and “empower the work you do.”

This advice is both permission to step off of the information treadmill and a challenge to identify those sources that can make a difference. There’s also a hint here that it’s personal. What energizes and empowers you may be different from what energizes and empowers me.

Read on…

What do you rely on for instructional design and technology news and information? What and/or who energizes your work?

Photo credit: stock.xchng

Build Your Instructional Design Network

One of the cool things about instructional design work is that you can find it in a lot of different places. We tend to look to education and workplace training offices first, but related work is found in universities, private organizations, government agencies, and non-profits. You can work online or in an office, and sometimes there is the opportunity to travel. Joining a community or network made up of other instructional design professionals can help reveal some of these opportunities.  This kind of group can also assist with exploration of the field and provide specific advice on work related questions. As a member of these groups you can also be the one to provide advice and answer questions based on your experiences. At its best, this networking involves sharing across the board.

Professional Organizations

There are a number of professional organizations that focus on instructional design and instructional technology in education and training. Membership usually comes with a fee (but there are a few that offer free options with limited services and/or discounts for full-time students).  Previous posts have listed some of these organizations and conferences – check out Professional Conferences – ID, IT, Distance Ed and Jobs in Instructional Design and Technology.

LinkedIn

Online communities can be good sources of networking. LinkedIn offers a Group feature. You can join groups that focus on your areas of interest. Since this is primarily a professional networking site, you’ll see job listings as well as information, resources, and advice. A few groups you might consider:

  • Instructional Systems Design Professionals – this group requires that you “be an instructional systems designer (ISD) or training specialist with at least 1 year experience; or have a degree in Instructional Design or a similar field.” Recent discussion topics include communities of practice, job leads, and conference updates.
  • Instructional Design and eLearning Professionals – focuses on online education and training. Recent discussions include a debate about the importance of instructional design certificates and degrees, storyboarding templates, and research and multimedia.
  • eLearning Guild – other associations have LinkedIn presence as well.  This group uses the space to advertise upcoming events and foster discussion and exchange of ideas. Recent discussions also include the future of the LMS and “must have” development tools.

Don’t limit yourself to groups or organizations with instructional design in the title. These are a great place to start, but then consider branching out – there are also groups focused on Project Management, Social Media… where is your niche? What do you want to learn more about? Where could you offer your expertise to others?  A recent post on Twitter suggested that the future of education will come from outside traditional education circles, suggesting the need to look beyond our own groups, conferences, etc.

[If you are already active in LinkedIn –  I’m interested in connecting with you out there! http://www.linkedin.com/in/melissavenable – use linkedin at design-doc dot com]

Twitter

A lot of education and training professionals are active on Twitter! They provide information, links to resources, and general observations about their experiences in instructional design and technology and the realities of getting the work done. Add these folks to your Twitter feed and join in the conversations. A few to get you started:

Share Your Networks

What networks are your favorites? Where are the good discussions and connections taking place? Who are your favorites on Twitter? Please consider sharing those places and people you recommend.

Image credit: ciro@tokyo, Flickr

A New Kind of Scholarship?

Professors, administrators, researchers, and graduate students are increasingly using social media to:

  • communicate with their students,
  • collaborate with peers, and
  • publish their work.

Blogging in particular seems like an effective delivery format. Some academics are using blogs as a way to establish expertise and authority outside of an association with a specific institution. Others are requiring students to establish their own blogs and craft posts as course assignments, adding comments to classmates’ posts to increase interaction with each other and with course content.

Blogs and Publishing

Through blogging a new kind of scholarship is emerging allowing academics to report on their research, recommend possible courses of action, and ask questions that spark discussion.

The time required to publish in the traditional ways, e.g. textbooks and peer reviewed academic journals, can be lengthy. This presents a problem, especially in fields that involve technology, education, and communication. Research study conclusions and recommendations can be obsolete before they are published in print. Blogging provides a venue to make this information available to the public in less time.

What concerns should academic bloggers have about using this kind of venue to foster the exchange of information? Copyright? Acceptance? A system of peer review to ensure rigor?

Academic Bloggers and Social Media Experts

Academic blogging is not for everyone; at least not yet. Those who are out there challenging the academic status quo in open forums may be those who already have tenure or those not on the tenure track.  And while many institutions may be encouraging the use of social media in coursework, they may not necessarily encourage the production of social media by those among their academic ranks.

How can social media experts and academics work together? Do you see a benefit in collaboration here? I gave a presentation on blogging at a recent educational technology conference and one of the attendees commented that it all “sounds like marketing”. Could a strategic, marketing-type approach be appropriate for these authors and their audiences?

Read on…

If you decide to cite a blog post in your next academic paper…

The latest (6th ed) APA Publication Manual includes instructions for citing blog posts, posted comments, and video blog posts. APA also maintains a blog called “APA Style”.

Photo Credit: timtom.ch, Flickr