New Media and Higher Ed

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As a geek, I take for granted the technology that I use on a daily basis. I read RSS feeds through FeedDemon several times during the day. I blog occasionally. I visit Wikipedia several times a week either to look up information or to make sure spammers aren’t screwing articles of interest to me. I also listen to a number of podcasts, such as Desiring God Radio and LostCasts. I use these technologies to stay abreast of the latest news, trends and technology out there that is important to me. Blogs, Podcasts, Wikis: these are all “tools” that would be extremely beneficial for use in Higher Education.

In preparing for my speech I learned a lot about new media technologies and their use in higher education and, frankly, I was surprised by what I learned.

Of the 35 colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia, only three had a publicly available (i.e. on the homepage, news or admissions page) RSS feed – Armstrong Atlantic University, University of West Georgia, and Darton College. Only two of the 35 schools had podcasts – Armstrong Atlantic University and Georgia College and State University.

Why aren’t schools taking advantage of these new technologies? Based on the feedback I received from workshop attendees it comes down to:

  • Cost
  • Server Capabilities/Restricitions
  • Technology Access
  • Knowledge/Implementation Limitations

The good news is – many are in the process of implementing some or all of these tools into public and private portions of their website. This is good news for students, faculty and alumni alike.

By utilizing technology that is out there, and gaining in popularity, they can avoid having to play catch up once the general public “adopts” them.

8 thoughts on “New Media and Higher Ed

  1. Hey Chris,
    Funny you should be talking about this as I was looking at your site for blog ideas. We are looking at Moveable Type to do student blogs. Any suggestions?

    I am trying to push podcasting right now as well. I think in higher ed, the probelm is that faculty are a little uncomfortable with new technologies or feel that they are overburdened as it is and can’t learn any thing new.

  2. PacerWorld Diaries @ USC Aiken… and I think that’s a fantastic start! I wish more schools were doing this sort of thing.

    MovableType is a great package to consider. They’ve got some educational pricing packages that are pretty affordable. I prefer WordPress myself, but MT was one of the blogging apps I was considering as I contemplated a move away from a home-brewed news system I developed and Blogger.

    I definitely agree that the main hurdle in higher education is staff (administration faculty).It’s the same way in the business world as well. People simply don’t have time to dedicate to blogs or wikis or podcasts, so they don’t do it. Or, they’re technophobic and refuse to do it.

  3. Hey Chris,
    Funny you should be talking about this as I was looking at your site for blog ideas. We are looking at Moveable Type to do student blogs. Any suggestions?

    I am trying to push podcasting right now as well. I think in higher ed, the probelm is that faculty are a little uncomfortable with new technologies or feel that they are overburdened as it is and can’t learn any thing new.

  4. Hey Jeff, good to hear from you again. It’s been a while. It’s funny to hear from you, because your name came up in a conversation I had with a co-worker (a USCA grad). He showed me the PacerWorld Diaries @ USC Aiken… and I think that’s a fantastic start! I wish more schools were doing this sort of thing.

    MovableType is a great package to consider. They’ve got some educational pricing packages that are pretty affordable. I prefer WordPress myself, but MT was one of the blogging apps I was considering as I contemplated a move away from a home-brewed news system I developed and Blogger.

    I definitely agree that the main hurdle in higher education is staff (administration & faculty).It’s the same way in the business world as well. People simply don’t have time to dedicate to blogs or wikis or podcasts, so they don’t do it. Or, they’re technophobic and refuse to do it.

  5. Hey Chris,
    Looked for your email and couldn’t find it, so sorry to “clog up your blog” with a personal message like this. Who is your co worker, I would be interested in his and your honest feedback on usca.edu, etc. It is really hard to get honest feedback here and to get some from an alum would be great.

    Thanks,
    Jeff

  6. Hey, it’s no problem. It’s not like I get overwhelmed with comments or anything ;) For future reference, my email address is chris AT powerserve DOT net or chris AT cdharrison DOT com.

    I’d be happy to do a mini-audit of the site, and let you know where you might be able to improve. I’ll mention it to Patrick Rodgers as well. (He’s the alum I mentioned.)

  7. Hey Chris,
    Looked for your email and couldn’t find it, so sorry to “clog up your blog” with a personal message like this. Who is your co worker, I would be interested in his and your honest feedback on usca.edu, etc. It is really hard to get honest feedback here and to get some from an alum would be great.

    Thanks,
    Jeff

  8. Hey, it’s no problem. It’s not like I get overwhelmed with comments or anything ;) For future reference, my email address is chris AT powerserve DOT net or chris AT cdharrison DOT com.

    I’d be happy to do a mini-audit of the site, and let you know where you might be able to improve. I’ll mention it to Patrick Rodgers as well. (He’s the alum I mentioned.)

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