At a time when social media has revolutionized the way we engage in learning—when learning often occurs through virtual communities and online engagement—our post-secondary institutions, those institutions best positioned to curate learning for societal good, have allowed private companies, like Facebook and Twitter, to control the learning space. Social media sites are educational spaces–ones which, if one considers movements like Black Lives Matter and Me Too, have the potential to shift perspectives and impact change in the world. Currently, progressive educators integrate social media into their classes. However, a greater shift is needed where, rather than the informal learning of social media being integrated into formal classroom learning, the reverse would happen. Universities should become spaces for informal learning through community, with formal classroom learning integrated into that. In a digitally permeated society, “the class” as the foundational building block of learning is an outdated notion, and being purveyors of classes and programs should not remain the university’s core identity. This paper proposes a vision for the university in which, in their daily lives, students would feel compelled to log on not to a commercial social media site, but to a university community where they are having the conversations they find the most compelling, and connecting with people they feel bonded to.
Associate Professor, Faculty of Management, Royal Roads University, Canada
Informal Learning; Virtual Learning; University of the Future
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