TCC08: Creating and Teaching a College-Level Undergraduate Course in Social Networking

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This is another liveblogged post from the TCC 2008 conference, presented by Robert Fulkerth, Ageno School of Business, Golden Gate University, San Francisco, CA.

  • Developed a course on social networking for business
  • Will teach with blogs and a wiki
  • Using the tools to teach the content–mostly avoiding the LMS
  • Use online library databases to research social networking

Past predictions about online communities assumed text because that was what was available. Now YouTube and multimedia are important.

May get invites from people you only vaguely remember–instructors may not remember every student they taught

(Provided a bunch of stats on social networking usage–I’m not taking notes on all that)

Many businesses consider time on social networking sites wasted, but not all

Wachovia is testing social networking for sharing information and developing community within the community

Businesses fear the lack of message control, but some hope that by creating a safe and pleasant environment internally that employees will talk internally rather than out in public


  • Social networking is driven by the desire of people to “demonstrate themselves”
  • Predicts a tiered structure will develop
  • Right now, this is “Tier 1”
    • Proprietary with some customization (like Facebook & MySpace)
    • Owned by major companies
    • Mass subscription with low/no barriers to entry
    • Free or low-cost, available to all online, use task-specific tools
  • Social networking sites will continue to be important, but they require active leadership
  • Ease of entry will allow more personalized websites

Tools Used:

  • Used to create the blog
  • Google Sites for the wiki
  • Myspace
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Plaxo–aggregating from multiple social sites
  • YouTube–lots of educational resources
  • iTunes University
  • Second Life

Future Trends

  • More for younger generations
  • More communities of practice
  • Move from passive to active participation (Isn’t that already happening? I don’t think that’s future, that’s now)
  • Lines between social networking and formal education will blur
  • Social networking sites will reflect changing roles in online engagement

In the chat, there was some good discussion about how sites like Facebook may not be the best for meeting new people, but rather for maintaining and improving existing relationships. Some good discussion about differences in social networking along racial and class lines and the opportunities for networking in the Hispanic community.

Read the other liveblogged posts from this conference.

Image: ‘My social network

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