June 28, 2010 Chat Topic: The reluctance to participate
I recently began working at a local university on one of their social media projects. One of the main challenges that the project team seems to face, and I doubt they're alone here, is encouraging participation.
It could be the culture at this particular school, or it could be that most educators and students are still getting used to the idea of using social media in a classroom setting, but this problem exists: it takes time and lots of encouragement for students to start contributing to blogs and wikis regularly, and for faculty to start communicating within (and outside of ) their departments using the available social media tools. It takes a teacher that really believes in using social media to guide both students and their peers.
Technology presents a gateway for educators to teach in creative, new ways, and students have the opportunity to speak up like never before. But for that to happen, both teachers and students need to buy in.
Among our Twitter chat participants, I don't think much convincing is needed when it comes to the efficacy/usefulness/potential of social media. But for many, many other faculty, staff, and students, some convincing is needed.
What are the reasons people are reluctant to engage? What's the best way to address this reluctance to participate?