Jeff Young from the Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog recounted a new study from Ohio State in which the performance of students was assessed using their use of Facebook as a determining factor. There are many raised eyebrows surrounding this topic, but the data so far is inconclusive and not accurate enough to draw true correlations between use and performance. Frankly, I would wager that there are more factors than just Facebook for poor performance. What if one student didn’t use Facebook but constantly texted their friends in class, played Warcraft until 3a.m. and then spent most of the other times watching old Kung Fu movies without cracking a book? I would wager that performance would rate rather low. Then again what if there was another student which had a similar behavior pattern but used Facebook to organize get togethers with their friends, shared assignments online, and contacted their librarian for help via Facebook. They may still perform poorly, but it wasn’t their use of Facebook that brought them down.
I would be curious to run a study in which the students are assigned a level of social networking proficiency. From that we could try to rate whether their networking seemed to add or detract from a normalized pattern of studious behavior.
Michael from Tame the Web posted his thoughts on the new Starbucks user driven idea site. Basically users can share their ideas for more effective services and products, vote on other people’s ideas, and see the results made by the company. This is done in one site, and seems to have a general turn around time of 1 week or less.
For those of us who have seen good ideas in libraries get swamped under the mountains of bureaucratic posturing, all to often found in libraries, wouldn’t it be nice to utilize a system such as this to gather external, expedient information? The ability for the user to be a part of their own environment gathers their trust in the library and can then lead to a stronger connection for future needs. Though there is a growing concern for students having too much sway in their educational practices, I think implementing something like this could transform many stagnant areas of library services. (But not all, as I would hate to leave things such as collection development and circulation policies hinging primarily on student feedback alone.)
I may be putting this on my plate soon, as this is a form of assessment and planning. We shall see.
Thanks to Cliff for sharing this with me. The group over at CommonCraft have done it once again with their original and informative manner of explaining concepts. (You may remember them from their other popular video, “RSS in Plain English.”)
I may have seen a library who tried to mimic this style of presentation for some of their library instruction videos. Making the message simple doesn’t have to be tied to this form, as making your point in a clear and understandable way is the key to effective communication. Metaphors and allegories work too.
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