Social Media Ethics and Law

social media law

I’m working on a presentation titled “Social Media Ethics and Law.”  It’s also a course that I’m building to teach next year.

Social media is redefining the relationships between organizations and their audiences, and it introduces new ethical, privacy and legal issues. The audience for my presentation is schools, mostly higher education, but it is an area lacking for many organizations, employees and individual users. We need to have a better understanding of the ethics, and also the law, as it applies in these new contexts.

To use a clichéd disclaimer, I am not a lawyer. And my focus is more on ethics, but at some point ethics bumps up against law. Pre-existing media law about copyright and fair use was not written with social media in mind, so changes and interpretations are necessary.

Technological advances blur the lines of what is or is not allowed to be published and shared and issues of accuracy, privacy and trust. Many people feel that the Millennial and Generation Z individuals in particular have grown up with a copy/paste, download-it-for-free ethos that can easily lead to legal violations online.

If you have any thoughts on this topic, I’d like to hear from you. Comment here or use my Contact page.



My presentation will be at the NJEDge.Net Annual Conference in November 2016.

Making Learning Visible to Increase Student Engagement

I gave a presentation on “Making Learning Visible to Increase Student Engagement” at the NJEDge Faculty Showcase this year.  I was partly inspired by the educational research from the Project Zero group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. I talked about using a public forum in both undergraduate and graduate online and face-to-face classes (at NJIT and at Montclair State University) and having students publicly reflect on their learning experiences.

Requiring students to document their work in a class forum immediately changes student ownership of their work. This type of documentation makes learning visible, rather than the private 1:1 relationship that assessment and evaluation often has between a student and instructor.  I explained the documentation and process reflection methodology and showed student examples. This practice borrows on earlier use of and the pedagogy of portfolios.

The Making Learning Visible (MLV) Project was based on collaborative research between Project Zero researchers and educators from the Municipal Preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. MLV investigated how best to understand, document, and support individual and group learning for children and adults. I read about it in Making Thinking Visible and Visible Learners. The five key principles are that learning is purposeful, social, emotional, empowering, and representational.

In particular, the aspect of learning and teaching in MLV that I identify most strongly with is the role of observation and documentation in deepening and extending learning.

Documentation involves one or more specific questions that guide the process, often with an epistemological focus (questions on learning).

Documentation also involves collectively analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating individual and group observations. Serendipitously, the keynote speaker at the Showcase was Etienne Wenger-Trayner who is a leader in the field of social learning theory, and coined the term “communities of practice,” and their application to organizations.

This process is strengthened by multiple perspectives and so it is necessary to make the learning visible. It becomes public when it is shared with other learners, parents, teachers or the public.

Prompting reflective thinking during learning helps learners develop strategies to apply new knowledge to the complex situations in their day-to-day activities. Reflective thinking helps learners attach new knowledge to prior understanding, and also understand their own thinking and learning strategies.

I find that this practice is also very beneficial to me as an instructor in grading student work as it reveals the hidden process that cannot be seen in only grading a final product.

Ultimately, I have found that this is another way to promote student engagement. Teachers in K-12 have known intuitively that displaying student work lets students know that their work is valued and that the classroom space is shared.

Who Are “The Disconnected”?

disconnected_copper.serendipityThumbI’ve been thinking lately about a group of people I call “The Disconnected.” They include some sub-groups, such as the “cord-cutters.” Cord cutting, in a telecommunications context, is the practice of stopping your cable or satellite television service or getting rid of a landline phone. When it comes to cable and satellite services and phone carriers, cord cutters drop them in favor of less expensive options (individual channels like HBO Go, packages like Hulu or TV and video on the Net) and just owning a cell phone or using VoIP (voice over IP).

The main goal of cord cutting seems to be saving money. But there is also a lot dissatisfaction with what is offered on traditional TV services.

This is a broader trend in technology us, but because I am also interested in education, I am wondering if there is some overlap here.

The disconnected aren’t only disconnected from TV and phone lines. They are a group that rents and leases and don’t want to own. They don’t want to own a car or shelves of CDs or physical books and magazines. They are building a sharing economy.

They comprise about 25% of Americans, and according to Forrester Research that number will double in the next ten years.

I bet you are thinking that these are the Millennials. Yes, Millennials are certainly a good number of “The Disconnected,” but the age group is widening up and down.

The disconnected encompass the potential students in our undergraduate and graduate programs. The younger age group is being labeled the “cord nevers” because they have never been connected to these traditional forms of media consumption and services and have no plan to ever be connected to them.

Forrester Research reports that “By 2025, 50% of all TV viewers under age 32 will not pay for TV as we understand it today.”

Will cord-nevers and cord cutters also have a different attitude towards college? I think so.

MOOCs, alternative degrees, self-determined learning and other movements are already ways of cutting cords to traditional education.

I am preparing this topic for a keynote at the Rutgers Online Learning Conference in January 2016, and I would love to hear your comments.

 

first posted at Serendipity35