CMNS 453 begins by reflecting on and discussing our own experiences with current social media.  What social media do we use? For what purposes? Which are the most relevant to our lives? Which seem to be on the ascendant? Which, if any, are on the descendant? What “next new things” seem on the horizon?

The focus of this course is to study and analyze social media in the 21st Century and consider which current technologies and applications, if any, contribute to Knowledge Age and knowledge society.

Are social media merely extending

ways of learning?  Ways

mechanical replication and repetition 

based onold paradigm ways of work an

of activities and RULES? Consumption,

without analysis or critique? 

Human development since the earliest days of humanity has been integrally linked with communication technologies. The most profound human technology was SPEECH, which signalled the1st  PARADIGM SHIFT of civilization, as Homo sapiens evolved in prehistory.  Human speech or discourse is the key to civilization development and advancement. Speech is also a major communication technology, as humans sought to share and express themselves, in order to survive and to thrive.  Comunicare, meaning to share, is the Latin root of community and communication, and may be the essence of human-ness.

The 2nd Paradigm shift is that of the invention of writing, of literacy and numeracy whereby sharing and human development evolve to more permanent forms of communication, that can be engraved and archived for future discussions, exchange and interactions. This also signals the beginning of history, the recording of human activity.

The 3rd Paradigm, brought on by the invention of the Printing Press, expanded access to thoughts and ideas that had been archived by writing, but had previously—for thousands of years—been available to a very privileged few. Printing enabled the exchange of ideas and information to thousands and eventually millions, who by becoming literate could now access what had hitherto been controlled by a select few theocrats and aristocrats.

The 4th Paradigm shift refers to the invention of the Internet, as information exchange and human communication and collaboration become global.

The Origins of Online (Internet-based) Social Media

Network communication such as email (invented in 1971) and computer conferencing (1972) represent the beginning of online social networks that emerged with the invention of networked computing (1969), the Internet (1989), and the web (1993).   The term “network” was initially and primarily viewed as a technological concept: linking computer hardware to hardware geographically, in order to distribute and share software such as data files. Networking was viewed a sharing data, not sharing ideas or communication. However, the social imperative of human communication became and remains the driver and game changer of the Internet (Harasim, 2012). The Internet introduced the opportunity for unprecedented HUMAN COLLABORATION globally, and is the game changer that has enabled the Knowledge Age or the Knowledge Society.

The 1970s marked the dawn of online communication, with the invention of and experimentation with a primitive form of personal communication called electronic mail (email) and group conferencing (also called forums).  The phenomenon of online communication and social media was extraordinarily amazing to the few involved, and extraordinarily alien to everyone else in the rest of the world.  Indeed the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s would be devoted not only to major leaps of technological improvements, accessibility and applications, but to introducing the world to what was then viewed as a very weird and suspicious concept: online communication. The invention and social introduction of telephone communication 100 years ago was also initially marked by social rejection and suspicion: today’s term “phony” reflects the notion that communication by telephone was not trustworthy.

The 1980s may be characterized by the early adoption of new media by society, beyond the engineers and scientists who envisioned and developed it. While the 1970s did generate some of the first experiments in social/group communication, these gained traction and definition in the 1980s, especially with the adoption of online media such as email and forums by educational groups who began to shape these technologies which were originally intended as data networks into social media. In 1989, the introduction of the Internet made online communication accessible to the public.

The 1990s witnessed increased adoption of new media by society with the public introduction of the World Wide Web, which greatly increased global online communication and social media through ease of access and use of graphics.

The 2000s: Economic downturns with technology in the late 1990s were reversed as Reilly et al created a PR sensation that he termed: Web 2.0, to rally commercial and public interest in the Web. Innovations such as social networks (FaceBook, 2004), blogs (1999), and user-generated content sites such as wikis, Flickr, YouTube, and Twitter (2006) represent what has come to be termed as Web 2.0 (the social or collaborative web).

Twitter has 140 million accounts, Facebook has 901 million users and Tumblr has 53 million blogs. There are currently 100 million Google+ users.  That makes it, currently, about the same size as LinkedIn.  StumbleUpon is not yet a mainstream social network with 25 million users


  • FILL IN THE FORM ON P. 16 (Hand in Week 2)
  • Do the readings (Harasim, L. (2012) Chapters 1 & 2.
  • Focus on understanding the following Key Concepts and Terms
    • What is a theory? Why is it important?
    • What is a Theory of Knowledge and the Knowledge Society?
    • What is knowledge building and how might it occur: in Education? Socially?
    • Role of CMNS in the knowledge Society?History of CMNS Paradigm shifts

Name:                                                                                               CMNS453     May 2012


Rate from 1 to 5 where 1 is the least important and 5 most important by column.


Media Most Important Personally Most Important Socially Most Important Educationally
 Other (Specify)      
 Other (Specify)       
 Other (Specify)       



Overview of Terms and concepts to be covered:

What is the Knowledge Age? What is knowledge Building?

Theory of Knowledge, CMNS + OCL (Harasim, 2012)

History: 4 Major CMNS Paradigms (Harasim, 2012)

Review Key Terms (Knowledge Building, Knowledge Age, Social Media, Online Discourse, Online Collaborative Learning, Moderating, etc.) (Harasim, 2012)


Define each technology:

  • What are the attributes?
  • How might these attributes and technologies contribute (or not) to KB?
  • In what way?
  • And how well??

The Knowledge Age:

The invention of computer networking and the concomitant emphasis on collaboration and knowledge building distinguishes the 21st century ‘Knowledge Age’. Whereas the 20th century work and education ethos and theories were related to mechanical, rote adoption of rules, the 21st century is a period that builds on invention and innovation of ideas, on problem solving rather than mechanical or computational applications of the time. To a significant degree, 20th century learning approaches were based on ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ answers, emphasizing student repetition and replication of the course content. Educational reform in the latter part of the 20th century shifted the emphasis from passive didactic learning approaches towards active learning techniques. The major drivers for educational transformation, however, were yet to come as computer networking, the Internet and the Web were just being invented.

The invention and widespread adoption of the Internet introduced a paradigmatic shift—a major socio-economic leap in human development, with profound implications for learning. The Internet revolution is the fourth and most recent shift in human development and is the basis for the 21st century Knowledge Age. The Knowledge Age introduces new and unprecedented learning needs and opportunities that will impact how we view and practice learning. The growth of the Internet has been exponential (becoming increasingly rapid) rather than incremental, and has accelerated the speed and value of knowledge creation today. These changes have set the stage for a new theory of learning that can take into account the ubiquity of the Internet and the societal shift towards collaborative learning emphasizing the building, rather than transmission, of knowledge.

Knowledge has become the principal component of today’s economy, both as a process and as a product. To create knowledge, people need free exchange of information and ideas, free access to accumulated knowledge bases, and opportunities for communication and collaboration. The Internet has provided this access, not just to a select few but worldwide. Together with the transformation of work through the digitalization of labor, the Internet has given rise to a new economy, one based on knowledge work, and has created the need for a society able to understand and create knowledge. Knowledge products are inventions created to solve a problem, whether in the form of a new tool, a new process, or an innovation of an existing technique. The implications for education and for learning are profound and as yet unmapped; they are not, however, unknown or untraveled. As Chapter Six will examine, the use of the Internet for collaborative knowledge creation is the basis of the Knowledge Age and a new theory of learning with relevant pedagogies and technologies must respond to this new reality. There is as well a significant body of field research to ground new theoretical frameworks.

Scardamalia and Bereiter (2006) write that: “Ours is a knowledge-creating civilization…. Sustained knowledge advancement is seen as essential for social progress of all kinds and forthe solution of societal problems. From this standpoint the fundamental task of education is to enculturate youth into this knowledge-creating civilization and to help them find a place in it” (p. 98). In addition to the focus on youth, it is equally urgent to emphasize education of adults, professional development, and lifelong learning as part of 21st century educational change. New theories and pedagogies of learning are required for all learners in the Knowledge Age. Twentieth century models, even constructivist learning theory, have moreover been found inadequate in addressing the importance of conceptual change and knowledge building. Active learning as it is defined and practiced falls short in addressing social issues and real problems.  The motivation of interest-centered learning can become ad hoc and self-centered or limited.  Scardamalia and Bereiter (2006) note: “In light of this challenge, traditional educational practice—with its emphasis on knowledge transmission—as well as the newer constructivist methods both appear to be limited in scope if not entirely missing the point” (p. 98).

The Knowledge Age both requires and enables knowledge advancement, as a process and a product at a global level. Socio-economic transformations today emphasize processes of innovation over repetition, collaboration over individualistic approaches, and knowledge creation over information transmission in how we work and, concomitantly, in how we learn.

Knowledge products can be characterized as inventions and innovations: new ideas, solutions, tools and technologies, as well as new applications of these inventions; new ways of doing things as well as doing new things. The current generation of youth has grown up collaborating using online technologies. Tapscott and Williams, authors of the 2006 book Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, note that the current generation is larger than the baby boom generation and “through sheer demographic muscle they will dominate the twenty-first century” (p. 46). What the authors call the Net Generation, born since the 1980s, numbers over two billion people. Moreover, the Net Gen is a collaboration generation.


“Carl Bereiter and I introduced the concept of “knowledge building” into the educational literature in the 1980’s to bridge the gap between innovation as carried on in the larger knowledge society and similar work that can be carried on in education.  Knowledge building is activity focused on the generation of new knowledge and the continual improvement of ideas. Knowledge builders do more than learn–they produce ideas that have a life beyond their own minds, beyond personal notebooks, and beyond short-lived discussions. Knowledge building requires that ideas be revisited, revised, linked to other ideas, raised to higher status, reframed in light of new findings, and evolve into new forms. The overarching goal is to transform education by shifting emphasis from staying abreast of information to contributing to the development of new cultural artifacts; from individual learning and achievement to the building of knowledge that has social value; from focus on tasks and activities to a focus on continually improving ideas; from a focus on set course outlines to systems of emergence and self organization; and from a predominantly facilitator-directed discourse to distributed knowledge building discourses” (Scardamalia, 2002). Cited in Harasim, 2012.


  • Review the readings (Harasim, L. (2012) Chapters 1 & 2.
  • Do the readings (Harasim, L. (2012) Chapter 6.
  • Focus on understanding the Key Concepts and Terms: What constitutes social media?
  • What are major DISCOURSE applications:
  • Which social media reflect Figure A? (many-to-many communication)?
  • Which social media reflect Figure B? (1-many communication)?

Class Assignment: Please update the table below. WHEN DID Online Social Media EMERGE AND WHAT IS THEIR LEVEL OF ADOPTION, WORLDWIDE? What are their function?

Social Media Date Invented # of Users


Strongest in…
Email 1971 1.9 billion Exchanging digital messages Asia
Forums 1972 634 million Online conversation in the form of posted messages China, Japan, US
Blogs Blogger: 1999WordPress: 2003Tumblr: 2007 Blogger: undisclosed milsWordPress: 2 mil+Tumblr: 3 mil + Online diary, commentary US, China, Iran
Twitter 2006 162 million Microblogging & RSS Updates US, Brazil, UK
Facebook 2004 901 million General / Social interaction US, Indonesia, UK
Youtube 2005 800 million Video sharing Asia
Google + 2011 90 million Social networking US, India
2nd Life 2003 21.3 million ? Virtual life North America
Wikis 1995 476 million + Allows creation & editing of interlinked web pages via web browser Asia





Week 3: Review of Weeks 1 & 2

The Knowledge Age

The late 20th century was a period of major social, economic and political changes. It was also a time in which there were big changes in knowledge – in how people see knowledge and how they use it. This period is now widely known as the beginning of the Knowledge Age – to distinguish it from the Industrial Age.

The Knowledge Age is a new, advanced form of capitalism in which knowledge and ideas are the main source of economic growth (more important than land, labour, money, or other ‘tangible resources). New patterns of work and new business practices have developed, and, as a result, new kinds of workers, with new and different skills, are required.

As well as this (and this is very important for education), knowledge’s meaning is changing. Knowledge is no longer being thought of as ‘stuff’ that is developed (and stored) in the minds of experts, represented in books, and classified into disciplines. Instead, it is now thought of as being like a form of energy, as a system of networks and flows – something that does things, or makes things happen. Knowledge Age knowledge is defined—and valued—not for what it is, but for what it can do. It is produced, not by individual experts, but by ‘collectivising intelligence’ – that is, groups of people with complementary expertise who collaborate for specific purposes. These changes have major implications for our education system.

How did all this come about? Why does it matter?

Very briefly: in agrarian or pre-industrial times, most people mainly needed ‘know-how’ kinds of knowledge. They learned this knowledge by participating in the everyday life and work of their community. Most people had no formal education.

In Industrial Age (20th century) societies, on the other hand, people needed different, more abstract – or ‘know what’ – kinds of knowledge. Schools were set up to deliver this kind of knowledge to the young, and mass education began. In Industrial Age schools, trained professionals package “know what’ knowledge into a logical, controlled, cumulative sequence. Students are organized into age-related cohorts who receive this knowledge all together, in the same order, at the same pace. Industrial Age schools also teach social and citizenship skills. Students are disciplined to follow the rules and respect the authority of certain bodies of knowledge, and to follow the rules and respect authority in the society they live in. The schooling system is managed by a bureaucracy, set up to ensure the efficient and standardized functioning of all parts of the system. The efficiency of the system takes precedence over the needs of individual students. This one-size-fits-all system works reasonably well as a way of sorting people into the different kinds of worker-citizens needed by Industrial Age societies: however, it produces a great deal of ‘wastage’.

Post-Industrial – or Knowledge – Age (21st century) people also need ‘know what’ kinds of knowledge. However they need more than this. They need to be able to do things with this knowledge, to use it to create new knowledge. The ‘know-what’ kind of knowledge is still important, but not as an end in itself. Rather, it is a resource, something to learn (or think) with. In the Knowledge Age, change, not stability, is a given.

Knowledge Age worker-citizens need to be able to locate, assess, and represent new information quickly. They need to be able to communicate this to others, and to be able to work productively in collaborations with others. They need to be adaptable, creative and innovative, and to be able to understand things at a ‘systems’ or big picture’ level. Most importantly, they need to be to think and learn for themselves, sometimes with the help of external authorities and/or systems of rules, but more often, without this help.

Because ‘know what’ and ‘know how’ kinds of knowledge have only a short shelf life, it is no longer viable to ask schools to ‘fill up’ students with all the knowledge they need beyond school. Nor is it viable to teach students any particular ‘one best way’ of knowing – or doing – things. Instead they need to teach students how to work out for themselves what to do.

Today’s schools are organized to produce Industrial Age worker-citizens. If schools are to prepare young people for successful lives in the 21st century, they need to do things differently. 21st century schools need to develop different skills and dispositions from those that were required in the 20th century.

This can’t be done simply by adding these ‘new’ skills and dispositions to the existing curriculum. Doing this would just add more to the already impossible workload of teachers, and it would not work to build a 21st century system. A new mindset is required, one that can take account of the new meaning of knowledge and the new contexts and purposes for learning this knowledge.

‘21st century learning’ is a shorthand term that draws together some of the ingredients of this new mindset. Read more about 21st century learning.

Click here for other sources/more information on all this. (Link to PowerPoint with commentary, and NZCER Press description of the Catching the Knowledge Wave book)

The changes outlined on this page are primarily economic and work-related. Education is, of course, about much more than simply preparing people for work. It has other important goals: for example, developing social and citizenship skills, providing equal opportunity, and building social cohesion. Expressed this way, these are 20th century goals. What might these goals look like in the 21st century context?

The shift to 21st century Knowledge Society involves much more than economic changes– major social and political changes are also happening.  However, society is not adopting these changes and innovations together in the same way.

First of all, as Carl Rogers’ Theory of Adoption of Innovation (above graphic) suggests, there is a time difference or lag in the adoption of innovation.  Until a few hundred years ago, the adoption of innovation was v—e—r—y  slow.  Largely because innovations were few, and were generally discouraged by the aristocracy and dominant religions.

However, the invention of the printing press and the paradigmatic changes associated with that invention and the rise of Scientific method launched a huge dynamic of economic, social, and technological change. This is the 3rd Paradigmatic Shift and gave rise to the manufacturing/industrial era.

Four hundred years later, humanity experienced the 4th Paradigmatic Shift, invention of the computer and networked computing/communication: the Internet. Consider for example, the rate of adoption of email, occurring over a period of 40 years. Facebook is only 7 yrs old; Pinterest is less than 1 yr old.  The adoption rate is zooming.

Nonetheless, society (whether local, national or global) is NOT united in how they view this change and the role of Social Media.

  • Adoption of Innovation Curve
  • Perspectives: EcstaticPromotion vs. Uncritical Adoptervs. Pragmatic Uservs Critical vs. skeptical vs. cynical

There is a significant divide regardingthe value of social media innovation.

Divided Social Opinion:  Adopters vs. Doubters vs. Critical  Adopters

The court of public opinion and judgments on the role of the Internet and social media is starkly divided.  Books on social media can be viewed as falling into at least 3 categories on the question of: Does Social Media Make Us Smarter or Dumber as a Society?

Divided Social Opinion:  Adopters vs. Doubters vs. Critical  Adopters

The court of public opinion and judgments on the role of the Internet and social media is starkly divided.  Books on social media can be viewed as falling into at least 3 categories on the question of: Does Social Media Make Us Smarter or Dumber as a Society?

1. Make us Smarter:

a. Clay Shirky

2. Make us Dumber:

a. Mark Bauerlein’s “The Dumbest Generation: Don’t trust anyone under 30”


3. Given good social and technical design, makes us better knowledge builders, communal members and productive participants in a global society.

a. Linda Harasim, 2012. Learning Theory and

b. Carl Bereiter

c. J.S. Brown


For a flavor of the naysayers or dystopians, below is a selection of reviewer comments from Amazon about Mark Bauerlein’s The Dumbest Generation: Don’t trust anyone under 30. The commentators are Canadian.

4.0 out of 5 stars To:  The Dumbest Generation – Wake up!!! July 16 2009

By E. Lalonde (Ottawa) – See all my reviews

This review is from: The Dumbest Generation (Paperback)
Mark Bauerlein’s “The Dumbest Generation” or “Don’t trust anyone under 30” is well-researched and well presented book about how the digital revolution has, contrary to widely-held beliefs, made the Digital Generation less ambitious, bright and intelligent. The author is perhaps on to something when he says that The Digital Generation; referred to with various alternative names such as the digital natives, the Rising Generation, Generation X and Twixters are largely self-absorbed, illiterate and uncultured.

Much of the book centers on how the new generation has rejected reading whole-heartedly for other activities such as social networking, video games and creating personalized works of art. While the author recognizes that video games may improve hand-eye coordination, they do nothing to further one’s reading skills or to learn mathematical formulas, nor learn the works of the Great Masters. He recognizes that there is a slew of literature on the internet, but how most people scan websites in an “F” fashion and don’t really read the content and if there is content worth reading, it is written at a sixth or eighth grade level. His exhaustive research is clearly visible as he presents literally hundreds of other works on both sides of the argument. The Dumbest Generation is also betrayed by their mentors, who are teachers, guidance counselors and educators who teach them to be all they can be without the challenges, intellectual rigor andeffort that comes with self discovery.

Still though, there are some criticisms. Like all authors pitching a certain message, the arguments can occasionally be a bit drawn-out and redundant. The author also seems quite pessimistic, and offers virtually no personal opinions on how to change things. For some arguments, other factors, such as the increase in the price of real estate and difficulty of saving for a down payment, might be factors for Twixters leaving the house later (p.170), rather than a change in generational world views.

In spite of its shortfalls, Bauerlein’s book is well worth the read and offers some ideas as to why the young people of today seem to be lacking a certain Je ne sais quoi in terms of their sense de vivre. If you don’t understand the terms in the last sentence, then you are, as the author would state, part of the “Dumbest Generation”.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

4.0 out of 5 stars  A Good Rant On An Important Topic, Jan 25 2010

By grapemanca (Vancouver, BC, Canada) – See all my reviews

This review is from: The Dumbest Generation (Paperback)

The Dumbest Generation’s central thesis is that the relatively new “Web 2.0” social technologies are creating an illiterate youth culture obsessed by triviality, pop culture and adolescent social life. It is an enjoyable pro-reading, anti-technology jeremiad in the tradition of Neil Postman (to whom Bauerlein pays homage), but it’s not without its limitations.

Drawing on research from a number of government sources and reputable cultural institutions, Bauerlein’s arguments can be both persuasive and problematic. For example, one of the best empirical studies he relies upon is a large-scale reading survey from the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts that measured leisure reading rates in 1982, 1992 and 2002. The rate (based on reading a single book outside of school or work) shows a precipitous drop of 17% in 18-24 year-olds (from 59.8% to 42.8%) between 1982 and 2002. This is certainly troubling, but Bauerlain glosses over the fact that leisure reading for 25-34 year-olds also declined (from 62.1% to 47.7%), as it did for 35-44 year-olds (from 59.7% to 46.6%). Moreover, this decline in leisure reading occurred BEFORE the wholesale adoption of the social computing technologies that Bauerlein believes is at the core of today’s “dumbest generation”. [Speaking of out-of-date, one of the newest and biggest social networking fads, Facebook, is barely mentioned, whereas another service that has already receded, MySpace, features prominently in Bauerlein’s analysis.]

Therefore, it appears to me that he is identifying a larger problem, one to which modern technology may contribute, but which is nevertheless deeper and longer-standing than Bauerlein contends. And since much of his empirical data is out-of-date in terms of relatively recent social technologies, he needs to rely on anecdotes and reasoning rather than statistics. On this level, I think Bauerlein actually succeeds. His discussions of reading versus screen time, adult vs. youth culture, and cultural literacy vs. pop literacy certainly ring true (though, again, I think larger forces are at work). As a long-time educator, I have to admit that his discussion of a growing anti-intellectualism certainly mirrors my own experience. I also think Bauerlein is absolutely correct that educators (esp. education researchers) share some of the blame as they jump on the technology bandwagon. Educators rarely seem to ask if adolescent enthusiasm necessarily leads to pedagogically desirable results.

Perhaps in time Bauerlein’s contentions can be supported by more up-to-date, empirical evidence. In the meantime, his arguments are provocative and timely – as long as one casts a wary eye.

3.0 out of 5 stars Complex problems NEVER have simplistic answers. Jan 22 2011

Ronald W. Maron “pilgrim” (Nova Scotia) – See all my reviews

This review is from: The Dumbest Generation (Paperback)

While I do agree that some of the factors that has led to the malaise of the present generation are both the over-saturation of teenage social networking and the lack of singular focus by some of our educators, to state that these are the only factors is highly simplistic. The other influences on US society, as a whole, are:

#1. Narcissism- The child-centered rearing practices of the past decades has led to a generation of young adults who have seldom heard the word “NO.” and, instead, have been inundated with “Good Job!” or “You’re Special!”. The increase in rates of narcissism among our younger generation has sky-rocketed. While the author on page 192 briefly mentions this topic he, obviously, does not view it as being one of the driving factors behind this malaise. Our newly cloned narcissists feel that they are talented and smart no matter what the data may show, feel entitled to only the best that life can offer and rebel against anyone who stands, as an authority figure, against their grandiose delusions. The social networking that the author does define only reinforces this irrational behavior through the posting of personal web pages and hour-by-hour updates on Facebook. It’s all about the “me”.

#2. General US ‘laziness’- Since the passing of the Great Depression and WWII, a great number of US citizens have taken our democratic life style for granted. Outside of a healthy uprising against the establishment in the late 60s and early 70s little, if any, progress has been made in the area of civil and human rights. We have almost developed an attitude of ‘I’ve got mine, so you are on your own.’ that was alien to life at an earlier era. The youth of today, have simply taken our model of selfishness to a slightly greater height.

#3. Change of the family makeup- We are no longer a family of four where the husband works and the wife raises the children. Due to shrinking economic opportunities most families have two wage earners who arrive at home late at night and don’t have the energy or time to spend with their children. This is not to fault the system we are in, it is merely meant to point out the differences from the times that the author seems to idolize. Today’s parents too easily send their children to their bedrooms where they are surrounded with audio-visual stimulations instead of going for a picnic in the park or toss the ball around the back yard. The day can only be divided so many ways and can never be lengthened no matter how good the intentions.

#4. IQs are genetically formed- The number of high vs. low IQ students has not changed from past times. IQs are genetically determined and not fully a product of the environment they are thrust into. Granted, what they are learning may be quite different from what was learned decades past, but it is unfair to label this generation as being the ‘dumbest’.

#5. Older generation has not kept up- To many of the older citizens, technology remains, at best, a mystery. Being so they allow the under twenty year olds to use this technology unaided and unsupervised. All of us owe it to the next generation to more fully understand the new technology such that we can more fully realize that most of what our children are doing on the internet has little to do with learning and a lot to do with simply ‘wasting time and hanging-out’.

As I said previously, I too agree with the two factors that the author brings out in this text. I did not, however, appreciate his redundancy in the repetition of the same premises over and over again. It was more like going to a fundamental religious service that was poorly prepared than it was reading a well argued and thought provoking text. Lastly, his last chapter seems less like it belongs in a book with the title of “The Dumbest Generation” than it does in a book of essays on democracy. Yes, I, too, realize that we, as a country, are slipping into some dangerous habits. What we need are some ideas of how to stop the fall and not some Madison-like oratory that solves little or nothing at this point. Mr. Baurlein your ideas for this dilemma are found wanting.


Figure X: Phases 1-3 reflect the processes of Online Collaboration in conceptual learning; Phase 4 involves the social application of the learning to solve a real-world problem.

Figure Y: This figure reflects the role of the Instructor, who represents the Knowledge Community and intervenes on behalf of the Knowledge Community to introduce students to the analytical terms of the discipline and their application in resolving real problems.  In the case of CMNS453 and other formal courses, the moderator(s) take on the role of facilitating discussion on key issues related to the course and the field.  The instructor/moderator draws on the experiences of the learners, informed by the readings and other inputs to lead the discussion of a question or problem from IG to IO and then IC.  In some cases, the discourse leads to real-world applications and co-production of a paper, a policy, an action or other products and outputs.

Advantages/Disadvantages of Social Media Attributes for a KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY

  1. Place-independent Discourse
  2. Time-independent Discourse
  3. Many-to-many Discourse
  4. Text-based Discourse
  5. Internet-mediated Discourse


Develop a Matrix with the Attributes along the top, and various Social Media along the side to help consider the potential of a media for OCL and KB.

Week 5 Hands-On GEN &Online Seminars

This week you will:

  • Learn and Practice Basic Skills and Activities of computer conferencing (VGroups), Learn to Navigate the GEN Campus & Use the Tools and Features
  • Learn about and engage in Online Group Discussions using VGroups (in GEN)
  • Use the GEN user id provided by Prof. Harasim to access and engage in online seminars:

Part 1:  Hands-On Basic GEN Skills and Activities

GEN is an online educational environment similar in many ways to a physical environment or campus. There are different buildings or spaces where users can conduct various activities or access various resources. You navigate by clicking on the various buildings and/or the icons in the top right of your screen.

Experiment with and ensure skill in each of the following activities (check as completed):

Navigate the GEN Campus

[  ]        Go to the GEN Campus

[  ]        Select (Click on) the Conferences Building, which is where you will find 453

S2012 conferences, in which you will participate.


[  ]        Read msgs in each of the four subconferences in the 453  F2012 space: click on subconferences “Self Intros”, “Our Objectives” and “Café 453” and “Great Debate”;

[  ]        Change conferences (move from one to another in 453 S2012)

[  ]        Add a New Message in each subconference “Self Intros”, “Our Objectives” and “Café 453” and “Great Debate”

[  ]        Reply to Messages in each of these 4 Conference

[  ]        Move from one Message to Another [Show headers]

[  ]        Use Full Message View to read all messages (This is a very important feature)

[  ]        Sort and view your messages by Date, then by Author, and by Thread.

[  ]        Try  sorting by each of the various views in the different conferences.

[  ]        Post a message to the “Great Debate”  in response to the question posed.

[  ]        List participants in the “CMNS453 S2012” course

[  ]        Create a pen name

[  ]        Post a message in the Café with a pen name and then revert to your original


[  ]        Navigate around the other spaces (using the Icons)

[  ]        Write messages to “ Our Objectives” and “Great Debate” during the week.

CMNS 453 VGROUPS Technical Instructions

SECTION 1: Embedding Webpage In Message Using IFrame [HTML]

This section provides instructions on how to embed your seminar’s webpage into a message in GEN VGroups.  This is quite easy using a single line of HTML.  All you need is the URL of the webpage you are planning to embed into your message.  An example of the final product would look like this:

As can be seen, the GEN VGroups message contains the embedded seminar website.  The steps for achieving this are as follows:

  • Select ‘Add New Message’ and click the ‘Do’ button, at the top of your conference.
  • Enter a subject, keyword(s), and select ‘HTML’ as the Message Type in the dropdown.
  • In the text area, enter the following:


In the example of the final product shown above, the URL was  This would render the following code:

  • Next, press the Preview button to ensure that the website is displaying how you hoped it would.  If you did not want the iFrame to span the whole post, you could change the height from 100% to a smaller percentage or select the exact number of pixels you wanted to span over (i.e. height=“400px”).
  • When you are satisfied, press the ‘Add’ button to publish your message with the embedded website of your choice!

SECTION 2:  Embedding an Image In a Message [HTML]

This section will provide instructions on how to embed a photo into a message in GEN VGroups.  Like the process in Section 1, this takes a single line of HTML and all you will need is the URL of the photo you are planning to embed into your message.  An example of the final product would look like this:

        Embedded Photo of Inspector Gadget

Similar to the steps listed in the previous section, the steps for embedding a photo into a post would be to:

  • Select ‘Add New Message’ and click the ‘Do’ button, at the top of your conference.
  • Enter a subject, keyword(s), and select ‘HTML’ as the Message Type in the dropdown.
  • In the text area, enter the following:

<img src=”URL of image goes here” alt=”Inspector Gadget Image” />

In the example of the final product shown above the photo’s URL was  Thus, we would get:

<img src=”” alt=”Inspector Gadget Image” />

  • Next, press the Preview button to ensure that the website is displaying how you hoped it would.  Always make sure that your photo’s file path (URL) is in fact a JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG or some other photo format.  You can resize the image by adding width and height tags.  For example, if you wanted the image to have a height of 400px and a width of 325px, you would get the following code:

<img src=”; alt=”Inspector Gadget Image” height=”400px” width=”325px” />

  • When you are satisfied, press the ‘Add’ button to publish your message with the embedded website of your choice!


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