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EDU588: Week 4 – Discussion 1

April 12, 2021
Brenda I. Belcher

Week 4 – Discussion 1

Your initial discussion thread is due on Day 3 (Thursday) and you have until Day 7 (Monday) to respond to your classmates. Your grade will reflect both the quality of your initial post and the depth of your responses. Refer to the Discussion Forum Grading Rubric under the Settings icon above for guidance on how your discussion will be evaluated.

Debate: Using Social Media in Student Services [WLO: 1] [CLO: 2]

Prior to beginning work on this discussion, read Chapter 20 in the course textbook and the article Serious Social Media: On the Use of Social Media for Improving Students’ Adjustment to College (Links to an external site.).

The use of social media can be a controversial topic in the realm of education and in student services specifically. It would seem reasonable that the authors of Chapter 20 in your textbook assume a benign position with regard to the pros versus cons on the use of various communication technologies. They describe a broad debate between technology critics (who “bombard” us with frightful images of the Internet) and technology optimists (who refute most concerns regarding the hazards of the Internet with scientific evidence), and come down strongly on the latter pro-technology side.

Although it may be tempting to enter into a technology up-or-down debate, such a stark opposition is arguably not compatible with the complexity of the issue. Moreover, a technology yes-or-no argument is arguably meaningless in a world in which networked technologies of information and communication are ubiquitous. To the question of whether we should discuss social media in the context of student services, the authors reply, “This question is nearing uselessness with the uptake of technology among the population, especially among the younger population” (Schuh, Jones, & Torres, 2017, p. 346).

For this discussion, then, you move forward to a debate on how the virtues and vices associated with social media and other networked communication technologies can best be navigated to inform your decisions on how such media can best be put to use and what practices should be avoided or subjected to specific controls. To begin, select one social media-based practice cited by the authors of your textbook in Chapter 10.

As a mechanism to facilitate debate, begin your initial post by identifying yourself as falling into one of the following four categories with respect to the pros-versus-cons sides on the use of social media in student services:

  • Technology Advocate

The example demonstrates the strong, positive usefulness of social media technologies; you tend to favor the rapid and widespread adoption in student services.

  • Centrist

The example demonstrates the complexity of evaluating social media technologies, which may have significant benefits yet do significant harm; you tend to favor evaluating each application of social media in student services on its individual merits.

  • Technology Critic

The hazards associated with social media often or mostly outweigh the possible benefits. The use of these technologies by student services should be restrained and subjected to strict controls, and some technologies should be avoided altogether.

  • Not Sure

I am strongly conflicted about these technological questions or just cannot decide what my position is on the broader questions.

If none, or more than one, fits your position on the issues, select the category that comes closest. As you will read in the Guided Response, this categorization will be used to facilitate debate and serve as a learning exercise and opportunity to critically examine opinions and positions. It is not intended to label or constrain your thinking or define your identity.

In the main body of your initial post, address each of the following items with respect to the practice you selected:

  • Identify the practice, citing its mention in Chapter 10 and summarizing that content.
  • Summarize the most compelling technology-critical argument you are able to articulate or find in the literature as to why this practice might be harmful and/or best avoided. Keep in mind that this may or may not be your position, and that you will have the opportunity to evaluate it critically.
  • Evaluate your chosen technology-critical argument versus a pro-technology position that finds the practice is beneficial and should be adopted. Are desirable outcomes certain or likely? Are harmful outcomes certain or likely?
  • Describe your position on whether the practice should be adopted and, if so, how.

Guided Response: Respond to at least two of your peers who have categorized their broad position on the social -media-in–student services question differently than you have. Present an argument to convince them to adopt a position more like yours and/or acknowledge if their argument has already changed your position.

In spite of selecting different categories, you and your peers may agree on any number of points. In all cases, maintain professionalism regardless of your position and consider this an exercise in disagreeing—and agreeing—respectfully.

Though two replies are the basic expectation, for deeper engagement and application of the material, you are encouraged to provide responses to any comments or questions others have given to you (including your instructor) before Day 7. This ongoing engagement in the discussion will deepen the conversation while providing opportunities to demonstrate your content expertise, critical thinking, and real-world experiences with this topic. In addition to offering comments, encourage further conversation by questioning your peers about their responses.

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