The way we communicate has been transformed now that the internet allows us to collaborate, interact and participate with others through text and various multimedia that we ourselves can now produce using online tools. The web allows us to communicate in real time and of our choosing i.e. discussion forums, network and make friends in a much larger setting than is physically possible in any time and space. Using web tools like blogging, social networking and using open source tools we can choose to create and share information and build communites. Such activities do not always require high levels of technical knowledge and in fact these service providers have designed them principally that they are easy to use and set up so that they have mass appeal.
Utilising such spaces some HE institutions are investing and making use of various content enhancement tools and social media to reach out and engage their learners using video and audio. Common Craft have created a series of videos to help explain technology tools used on the internet.
At DMU we have:
- a dedicated multimedia streaming server that allows you as staff member to upload your videos and link these to your learning materials. We have staff using video for various learning activities, see here in our Staff Case Studies;
- social media features that are increasingly embedded in our virtual learning environment, Blackboard which allows you to create personal blogs, group and course blogs as well as wikis and podcasts;
- Campus Pack social media tools, which are integrated with Blackboard; and
- the DMU Commons, based on WordPress technology, which enables you or your students to create a blog or website to support your work. This site is created on the Commons, and had its beginnings in our Pathfinder Project (2005-2008).
From schools to colleges many teachers are exploring and are using such web services to engage with their learners. For example, see the JISC: Pedagogy in a Web 2.0 World – Student Experiences report.
The idea of developing Digital Literacy is now taking precedence and its viewed as crucial for lifelong learning. Some institutions are even including ‘Digital Literacy’ in their student charter.
Alongside the use of these services and technologies come some challenges. These include legal issues e.g. copyright, IPR, plagiarism and data security. See our documentation and policies section.