Oliver Knill

Academic Uses of Social Media

The conference: The mini conference took place on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. It was co-sponsored by Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and Harvard Office of News and Public Affairs, at Oberon Meeting Room, 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge. Program, Webcast

Nancy Koehn
Business

Harry Lewis
Computer Science

Greg Mankiw
Economics

Michael Sandel
Government
11:45Judy Singer, EducationWelcome
12:00John Palfrey, LawIntroduction
12:10Danah Boyd, MicrosoftCulture of Connectivity
13:00Faculty Panel: (list left)Academic Uses of Social Media
14:00Perry Hewitt,Communications:Social Media at Harvard
A few bits from the conference: (paraphrased pretty freely by myself. Far from verbatim): Two questions did not come up to which I would love to hear an answer to:
To summarize the conference: we have no clue how social media will influence higher education in the future. It is clear however that it already has a major impact on higher education; more "rapid fire" experimentation and "opening up" is needed to find out what works and what does not work.

Who was the best of the 4 panelists? For me, Nancy Koehn from the business school impressed most. While the other three reported on blogging, television and facebook experiments and reported extremely valuable experiences, Koehn made clear that much of it is also business and the new developments could have enormous impact on higher education, that experimentation is needed. Danah Boyd showed with her research how the landscape has changed. Questions from the public made clear that also a healthy portion of caution is needed. Opening up information does not mean that the classroom should not be kept a safe place, where ideas can be bounced without that a third party has access to it and makes it to gold. A side track discussion about copyright, the role of libraries and open access models for journals would merit a separate conference.

Oliver Knill, Department of Mathematics, Harvard University, One Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. SciCenter 432 Tel: (617) 495 5549, Email: knill@math.harvard.edu. twitter. Spring 2013 office hours: Tuesday/Thursday 4-5 by Appointment, before and after classes.