As discussed in High Tech Higher Ed, students are demanding technology in the classroom. Though why should the buck stop there? Technology is looking to take over the entire campus.
Some colleges are starting to pick up on this trend. Ten years ago, Forbes considered tech savvy campus to have campus wide data networks, wireless options available to students, remote access to e-mail, online course options, online registration options, and online administrative functions.
In 2016, these are required functions for all higher education institutions, though students are still demanding more. They are wanting to connect with their peers before arriving on campus for the first time. They want instant wireless access across campus so they are able to stay connected while on the go. They are demanding more technologically savvy advances both in and outside of the classroom.
The possibilities are truly endless. Google Hangouts can be created for educators to provide feedback on proposed new lecture topics, team captains can tweet the team about upcoming practice times, and students can write group assignments with Google Docs.
Many students also become involved in extracurricular, clubs, or assistantships while earning their degree. Paccone (2016) discusses the advantages of having students blog inside the classroom. Paccone encourages one of the best reasons for having students create a blog is the instant access to their peers writing and ability to engage in online conversations with one another. It is time institutions take the strengths of online communities, and bring them into all aspects of higher education.
One area of higher education where connected campuses come into play, is the field of Residence Life. Resident Assistants are typically only connected to one another during the first week of the academic year during their summer training sessions. After which, they go their separate ways missing out on collaboration efforts throughout the year.
While efforts are made early on to make connections by liking Facebook pages or following each other on Twitter, these relationships are lost throughout the madness the academic year brings.
Directors should take the opportunity to create a mandatory blog for all Resident Assistants to join during their training week. Resident Assistants will be required to post their upcoming programs on this website for Directors to track their community building performance. Since Resident Assistants will already be required to utilize the blog, an open forum can also be created, linking Resident Assistants across campus to one another.
As the year goes on, students can post their programming, bulletin board, and community involvement ideas, gathering feedback from their peers. By sharing their thoughts, they are also more likely to get other communities involved in their programs, increasing attendance, and spreading their message even further than their hallway of 50 residents, insuring Resident Assistants and their communities will be connected with events throughout campus all year long.
What other groups on campus could benefit from a shared blog? Are you currently practicing blogging in your extracurricular community? If so, what feedback are you receiving from your students regarding being instantly connected to one another?
Meyers Fliegler, C. (2013, November). Park this way: Colleges find high-tech solutions. University Business.
Noer, M., & Ewalt, D. (2006, January 20). America’s Most Connected Campuses. Forbes.
Paccone, P. (2016, May 28). Three Great Ways for Teachers to Get Their Students to Blog. Retrieved August 12, 2016, fromhttp://www.edutopia.org/discussion/three-great-ways-teachers-get-their-students-blog
Rhey, E. (2006, December 20). Top 20 Wired Colleges. PC Mag.
Swartz, R. (2015, July 20). Five Questions to Ask When Integrating Educational Technology – Online Education Blog of Touro College. Retrieved August 12, 2016, from http://blogs.onlineeducation.touro.edu/five-questions-ask-integrating-education-technology/