I started teaching about social media issues ten years ago because I was concerned that higher education was not dealing in a scholarly or scientific way with the issues that arise from the widespread use of social media — something that affects students, faculty, and the rest of the world within and outside our institutional settings at work, study, and personal life. It only made sense to use social media — forums, blogs, wikis, and social bookmarking — in our study of social media.
Through my face-to-face and online conversations with learners, I became aware of the student-centric, inquiry-based, peer-supported, openly networked pedagogy that is now called “connected learning.” As I turned more power and responsibility over to my students and encouraged them to help me redesign the syllabus, we all began to learn the power of what I now call “co-learning.”
In 1995, the first year of TCC, the web stumbled from an internet oddity into mainstream popularity. Now, a scant 20 years later, most students entering higher education have never lived in a world without the web; to them it is not even a technology.
The clues to projecting what a future web might be can be found in the present; there are already ways of using it beyond links and pages. By looking at current ideas and examples, by addressing the issues of assertion of our digital selves, web making, the Indie web movement, and a federated wiki, we can confidently glean a glimpse of what the web could be in another 20 years.
American Community Colleges stand as the open-door to higher education, with 1,132 institutions serving over 12 million students annually in a diverse array of degree, transfer, occupational, certificate, and continuing education programs. The current community college completion rate stands at 22%; it is 28% when tracked over 4 years (Community College Research Center, CCRC). Predictions are that using technology tools, strategic integration of technology services, effective use of data, and predictive analytics will close the gaps and support learner progression through the open doors of community colleges to degree, career, and academic goals.