Monday, 11 March 2013

A4: Web 2.0 and Higher Education

Jason Adsit
University of Rochester, USA

The tools that fall under the broad heading 'Web 2.0' including social networking sites, blogs, microblogging sites, tagging sites, file-sharing sites, etc. have three key features. First, they allow end-users to be producers of information and not simply consumers of information (Anderson, 2007; Madden & Fox, 2006). Second, they provide new avenues for collaborating and exchanging information (Solomon & Schrum, 2007) by connecting users to file-sharing sites, data repositories, folksonomies/ontologies, and most importantly, to networks of people and agencies that share common interests (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). Third, they harness the collective intelligence of users - the 'wisdom of the crowd' (O'Reilly, 2005; Surowiecki, 2004) - to design and deliver software and Web-based applications that have the tendency to 'get better the more people use them' (Shuen, 2008).

As higher education moves from a curricular model that is based on an "assembly-line pedagogy" that emphasizes hierarchy, didactic teaching, individualized learning, and the "cult of efficiency" (Callahan, 1962) to a model that employs Web-based technologies to foster collaboration, information-exchange, and the social construction of knowledge, colleges and universities will need to adapt to a host of new challenges and issues - including the manner in which Web 2.0 tools are challenging and redefining our concepts of 'expertise,' intellectual property, and authorship; developing the capacity and skills for "e-leadership" (Avolio & Kahai, 2003); and implementing new pedagogies in the socially-networked classroom.

This session will focus on how Web 2.0 tools are (re)shaping higher education - and will provide participants with an interactive forum for exchanging ideas on the future of teaching and learning in digital environments.

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