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Coming this fall

Social Media prototype teaching module

By Jaye Cole
On April 19, 2011

Forrest Foster is on a mission to introduce a new perspective on learning to the students and professors of Winston-Salem State.

Social Media, a prototype instruction module that he hopes to officially introduce to the campus in the fall, offers a bevy of online resources that would facilitate learning for students and teachers alike.

Foster is the Access Services and Information Commons Coordinator at the C.E. O'Kelly Library and a Rochester native.

The Social Media project consists of ‘second-generation' applications that are similar to Powerpoint and comparable utilities. Originally, Web 1.0 was the operating system that powered the Internet and its applications.

Now, most websites utilize Web 2.0 and some even operate using components of Web 3.0. This change in technology allows end users to become more interactive.

"When we first started out with the Internet, it was just a static page. You couldn't do anything on it or to it, you could just see it, which was something new. And then Web 2.0 came along and now you can interact and chat live with features and apps," Foster said.

"It has really changed the way we communicate."

According to Foster, students and professors need to stay informed and remain current with the trends in technology. Rather than sitting in a class and regurgitating what is written on a board, Foster said.

Social Media provides an alternative way to present information. Now, instead of writing things out, online applications such as Xtranormal and Go Anime allow its users to not only type in the text that it would like others to hear, but it also features a graphics portion that brings new dimension to the visual arena.

Foster said that it would allow students to be more proactive in their learning.

Patricia Commander, a WSSU alum and a health sciences librarian at O'Kelly, has also experienced the benefits of Social Media.

"It has been able to make library instruction more fun for me as well as the students that are participating with the different classes that I would perform," Commander said.

Students may also find this new way of learning more par for the course in terms of their daily activities.

Myiesha Speight, a freshman English major from Upper Marlboro, Md., says she feels more comfortable with interactive learning.

"Students learn better if they can relate to what they're learning to," Speight said.

Foster and Commander both agree that with recent introduction of the Liberal Learning Seminars, it is now more pertinent to understand how to present information in a different way.

"The thing that I like most about the Social Media is it allows the professors and the librarians to liven up the sessions because you're not presenting information the same way," Commander said.

"With these new requirements, even if it is more challenging, they still will be able to use Web 2.0 and the Social Media to liven up the classroom."

The ability to present information from either side of the fence — professor or student — in a multimedia facet is a push toward the utilization of Web 2.0, a technology Foster said is a sign of the times.

"With the new Liberal Learning series, there has come a change in the curriculum. But it can't just be one change, everybody has to change with it," Foster said.

"Faculty really has to change their paradigm to make it work. If they keep doing what they've always done, things will remain the same."

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