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Our Students Rock

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Just a quick note, but Donna, a student in our CI597: Disruptive Technologies course just did a search about Wenger and Communities of Practice and our course Pligg site came up #2 in Google.  Pretty amazing that our students' stuff is getting out there like that.  Take a look.

Who’s an expert?

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For academics expertise is something we have to care about. It is the coin of the realm. I have been thinking a lot about what expertise means in the days of social software and peer rating systems. What does expertise at a university look like if the classroom has students taking notes together in a shared system (e.g. Notemesh) and the lectures are available via enhanced podcast? Do classes start to look more like blogs with podcasts? Do we develop a system of courses that are culled like Technorati or Digg culls other blogs? Will faculty be evaluated on the number of Diggs their course gets rather than the SRTEs (Student Rating of Teaching Effectiveness)? Right now our expertise system (at least in academia) relies on credentials. To be a faculty member you must, for the most part, have a PhD or similarly highest degree in field. Expertise in the social software universe is based on popularity, and presumably usefulness and interest of the information your share along with how regular you are with sharing it -- blogs (like mine) with very erratic or infrequent posts have much less impact in the blogosphere. Will we see faculty hired based on their blogs and podcasts? On the faculty fear end of the spectrum -- will faculty whose classes have few diggs loose their jobs? One of the original fears about video and audio of lectures is that you would only need the one expert in Chemistry that does a great job to replace all the Chemistry faculty in the country. I don't believe that teaching can be replaced in this way, but it may force a change in the model of teaching. For another day: the question of how all these issues with expertise play out in terms of the research part of a faculty members job.

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