Monday, February 21, 2011

My social media education policy

Acoustic chamber There's an interesting article in The Economist (How firms should fight rumours, 10 February 2011) which discusses the work of Rucker, Dubois and Tormala, and which suggests that formally denying a rumour is more likely to perpetuate than to stifle it, so the best policy in the face of misinformation may be to remain silent rather than to enagage.

I've been thinking about this recently, since Aleks Krotoski's talk at The Digital Researcher 2011 in which she touched on the social media echo chamber, and closer to home, in watching dissent spread as students get themselves worked up on social networks.

So far, my reluctant social media policy has been to enforce use of social tools though assessment. I have done this with a range of social tools over the last few years. Done well, you can expect 10% long term take up rate (some months post-assessment), as opposed to essentially zero without any compulsion to engage. 

But should I continue to push this approach?  Would it be better instead to offer my time to a minority coalition of the willing?  I've never managed to build a convincing extra credit model within our assessment schemes, but delayed gratification remains a tough sell in education.

These decisions are crucial in the ongoing struggle against over-assessment, but I remain uncertain of the best course to follow.



  1. My personal strategy is to try and model how I use these tools. If students are interested they can ask me and take them up. Will be interested to see what others suggest.

  2. What sort of take up rate do you anticipate?

  3. I'm not measuring so I couldn't say- but I guess less than 10%. Maybe I should try harder...