Social media in higher education is very hot topic at the moment. In an attempt to jump on the band wagaon, this semester I am running The Tungle Experiment. The Tungle Experiment is an opportunity for me to find creative ways to incorporate social media and new media technologies in ways that make my life — as an educator — easier, as well as ways that enrich the educational experience. I offer my role as an advisor as an example of how new media technologies may do this. Here are the nuts and bolts of The Tungle Experiment
At my institution, the advisor meets with students individually to help them determine their educational path. Every student must meet with their advisor at least twice for fall and spring registration. Each student submits a hardcopy form, signed by their advisor to the Office of the Registrar to select their course schedule. (I know you are asking yourself how is this still possible in 2010, but it is). Faculty members have anywhere from 5 to 25 advisees.
In my hope of making the scheduling of appointments a less painful process for everyone, I’m running what I call: The Tungle Experiment. Using this online appointment scheduling system, my goal is to not only take advantage of new media to make my life easier, but to cut down on the number of student email meeting requests. Using Tungle, I have identified the days and times of my office hours (and for my advisees additional times as well.) Students select two or three times that work with their schedule, identify themselves by name and email, as well as the purpose of our meeting. Tungle sends an email to me, I then confirm the appointment time and day. Tungle then send a confirmation email to the student. Sounds too good to be true — right?
Think of the benefits:
Responsiblity Shifts to Student
Importantly, students are responsible for taking the initiative to meet with their professor and to schedule the appointment. As your advisor or classroom professor, I don’t feel compelled to hunt you down to schedule a meeting and discuss your academic future, but that is often the expectation of students. My hope with the Tungle Experiment is that students will feel more at ease with the technology and fewer emails to make these necessary meetings happen.
Free Up Time
We all know you can sit, returning emails for hours – and sometimes that is a necessary evil. But what if you had the ability to cut your email workload by five messages a day? Wouldn’t you take it? I know I would. My hope is that the Tungle Experiment makes my life as an instructor easier in the sense that I can spend my time outside the class doing more important things than exchanging emails with a very busy student only to find we can’t come up with a time to meet. How frustrating is that.
I have hope for the Tungle Experiment. I will keep you posted as I continue developing innovative and creative ways to use social media in the traditional educational setting.