Author Biography: Ann Gaudino, Ed.D. is an Assistant Professor of Education at West Liberty University.

She currently teaches graduate courses in education and education leadership and has also taught undergraduate courses in professional education, served as department chair, coordinator of clinical practice, and director of professional development schools. Dr. Gaudino is the founder and editor for the Excellence in Education Journal. Activity Summary
This 100% asynchronous online graduate course utilized the 2011 Global Education Conference ( sessions as the course text and rSmart Sakai CLE Version 2.6 ( as an electronic, collaborative learning environment. The goal of the course was to identify and study current trends and issues in education. Students accessed lessons on Sakai, listened to and watched recorded presentations on the website of the 2011 Global Education Conference, then utilized Sakai again for discussion forums and written assignments. Conference session lessons included: Global Ethics by Howard Gardner, Global Competence by Ed Graggert, Thee Cups of Fictions: Why Schools Won’t Save the World and What We Can Do About It by Carol Black, Educating Girls by Tara Abrahams, Education in Finland by Jarmo Viteli, and Perspectives on Education System in Finland: Leading the Change by Ann Gaudino. Class or subject area: University graduate course in Education Grade level(s): University Specific learning objectives: • Utilize a 100% asynchronous online format course to identify, discuss, and analyze trends and issues in education at local, national, and international levels. • Utilize recorded sessions from the 2011 Global Education Conference (www.globaleducation.ning. com) as a text for the course. • Utilize rSmart Sakai CLE Version 2.6. for electronic collaboration and as a social learning environment. • Identify key issues in education trends at the local, national, and international levels and provide a summary of the key points and synthesis, analysis and reflection on the implications of the trend in education. • Recognize and analyze social, political, and economic precedents and antecedents of the trends and issues.

Anniversary Book Project


Utilizing Social Media in an Online Course in Education
By: Ann Gaudino Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC-ND Author contact:

This paper discusses how social media were used in EDUC 520 Trends and Issues in Education, a graduate course in College of Education at West Liberty University, West Virginia, U.S.A. The course utilized: a 100% asynchronous online format; rSmart Sakai CLE Version 2.6. ( for electronic collaboration and as a social learning environment; and recorded sessions from the 2011 Global Education Conference ( as a course text. West Liberty, West Virginia is a rural area in the northern panhandle of West Virginia. Students in the course ranged in age from mid-twenties to mid-fifties. Some were employed full time as K-12 teachers, while others were university instructors, social workers, journalists, and an international student from Nigeria with a background in biochemistry. Most had little prior exposure to global ideas in education. All students were enrolled part-time in the Master of Education degree program and their interests and career goals were each quite unique. Because of these features, this paper is of interest to a variety of readers. This course illustrates the use of social media in teaching, electronic collaborative software, and recorded, online sessions of the Global Education Conference as a text. Furthermore, it illustrates how these aspects of social media can be utilized to improve opportunities for learning in a rural area and to increase global perspective. While this particular course was a graduate level course, the use of these social media in teaching this course is applicable at high school, undergraduate, and graduate level courses. Defining the Social Media Used in this Course This course was a 100% asynchronous online course. It required no face to face meetings or online meetings at a specific time or location and students were able to access information about the course and assignments through the Sakai system. rSmart Sakai CLE Version 2.6 ( is an electronic collaboration and learning environment featuring sites for individual courses that can be accessed by the instructor and students in the course. For this course, students interacted on Sakai by reading announcements, accessing the syllabus and lessons, blogging to introduce themselves, responding to forum prompts, submitting and receiving papers and grades, and sending emails to one another and the instructor. The instructor utilized Sakai to post announcements, the course syllabus, lessons, blog, forums, assignments, grades and to email students. More information about rSmart Sakai can be located on the website Recorded sessions from the 2011 Global Education Conference ( were used as a course text. The Global Education Conference is a collaborative, world-wide community initiative involving students, educators, and organizations at all levels. It is designed to significantly increase opportunities for building education-related connections around the globe while supporting cultural awareness and recognition of diversity (Global Education Conference, 2011). Sessions typically included the presenter speaking live with a slide show presentation and attendees posting questions and comments during the session in a blog format. Some sessions included live streaming video of the presenter as well as video clips, voting polls, and an opportunity for attendees to identify their location. To access the sessions for the 2011 Global Education Conference, go to www.globaleducation.ning. com. From this homepage, click on QUICK LINKS AND RECORDINGS in the left hand column.

Determine which session to watch and then click on the RECORDING LINK on the right of the session title. It is not necessary to join the website to view the sessions. Also, the website has additional helpful information available on various links from the homepage that may be of interest and helpful to viewers. Course Background and Text Selection I taught EDUC 520 Trends and Issues in Education during the Spring Semester 2012 at West Liberty University where I serve as an Assistant Professor. Almost all of the graduate courses in Education are a hybrid format with 50% face to face meetings and 50% online. EDUC 520 was the first fully online asynchronous course (100%) in the graduate program in education and the first fully online course I taught. All courses, including fully online courses, are supported at the university through the electronic collaboration and learning environment called rSmart Sakai CLE Version 2.6. There were many benefits to using the 2011 Global Education Conference sessions as the text for this course. Thanks to this conference, my students had the opportunity to listen and watch international experts on a variety of topics which they otherwise would not have encountered. The sessions my students watched for their lessons included: Global Ethics by Howard Gardner, Global Competence by Ed Graggert, Thee Cups of Fictions: Why Schools Won’t Save the World and What We Can Do About It by Carol Black, Educating Girls by Tara Abrahams, Education in Finland by Jarmo Viteli, and Perspectives on Education System in Finland: Leading the Change by Ann Gaudino. The global nature of this conference and the recorded venue of the presentations introduced my students to issues in education on a global level in a more meaningful way than simply reading books and articles. I was well aware that various authors have discussed the value and importance of educators being globally aware because it helps them to raise global awareness in their students (West, 2009), to serve students in their classroom who are from different countries (Parker 2008), promote understanding and empathy, and enhance national security due to increased knowledge of world issues (Zeichner, 2010). These beliefs were at the forefront of my decision to utilize the conference sessions for the course text. The sessions were also a natural and timely fit for this course which explored current trends and issues in education. The online availability of the sessions was also a natural fit for this asynchronous 100% online course since the recorded conference sessions as well as course information and assignments can be accessed at any time and any place worldwide. Students anywhere in the world could be involved with the course without concern of where and how to obtain a hard copy of a text book as is done in traditional, face to face classes. Finally, I believed that the sessions would be more beneficial, interesting and rewarding for students than reading written material as a text in a traditional course. My beliefs were confirmed when one student wrote to me to me after the course: I enjoyed the content and dialogue of the conference sessions. The sessions provided current information that I could not receive from a text book. The information was real world, real time information about our world. Accessing the sessions was easy and it was wonderful to be able to hear, read and see the presentations. (A. Doty, personal communication, March 15, 2012)

Course Schedule All graduate education courses in this program are condensed into eight week sessions rather than the typical 16 week term. When students enter the program, they receive a thorough explanation that they can expect to put twice the time into their course involvement given the condensed nature of the sessions. This EDUC 520 Trends and Issues course consisted of eight lessons that students were to complete weekly over eight weeks. Using Sakai is a requirement of all courses in the College of Education and all lesson information was posted on Sakai. By Friday of each week, students were to watch and listen to assigned sessions on the 2011 Global Education Conference and respond to my Forum posts on Sakai and each other’s posts. By Sunday of each week, students were as to write a Summary and Reflection Paper about the conference sessions per the assignment instructions on Sakai and also submit the paper on Sakai. The course concluded with students selecting a topic of their choice on a trend or issue in education and writing a research paper. Again, students accessed assignment instructions and also submitted their papers on Sakai. Prior to their final submission, students were to use Sakai to exchange papers with one another and provide feedback to one another based on the assignment rubric. Although students were not required to choose international topics, most did and most also used some conference recordings as some of their sources. The course schedule is included here in Table 1 to further illustrate the timeline, topics and assessments. Table 1 EDUC 522 Course Schedule At the discretion of the instructor, this schedule may be adjusted to meet the needs of the students and class as a whole. Topic LESSON 1 Introductions Review: Professional communication, APA Review of how to access topic materials. Review of syllabus and course requirements. Review of WVPTS and ISTE Standards. LESSON 2 GLOBAL EDUCATION: GLOBAL COMPETENCE & ETHICS LESSON 3 WORLD EDUCATION: EDUCATING THE WORLD AND SCHOOLING GIRLS LESSON 4 RELEVANCE OF PISA: EDUCATION IN CHINA Discussion Forum 1, Jan 20 Summary&Reflection Paper 1, Jan 22 Discussion Forum 2, Jan 27 Summary&Reflection Paper 2, Jan 29 Assessment Due

Discussion Forum 3, Feb 3 Summary&Reflection Paper 3, Feb 5


Forum Discussion 4, Feb 10 Summary&Reflection Paper 4, Feb 12 Forum Discussion 5, Feb 17 Summary&Reflection Paper 5, Feb 19 Review of Colleague Writing, Feb 19 Research Project, Feb 26 Research Project revisions

Lessons and Assessments After establishing basic introductions, how to access material on the website, and reviewing APA 6th edition format for writing during the first week, students began utilizing the 2011 Global Education conference website to access recordings for weekly lessons including Forums, Summary and Reflection Papers, and the final Research Project. In ancient Rome, the Forum was the center of public life; it was the location of discussion and debate of current issues. For this course, I posted weekly prompt on the FORUM tab of the Sakai site for students to discuss, debate, and exchange ideas about the conference sessions. After reading, listening, and watching the materials for the weekly lesson, students had the assignment to respond to the prompt as well as the comments of other students in the class on Sakai. They could post as many responses throughout the week as they liked---the Forum was to serve as the equivalent of class discussion in a face to face traditional class. Students were reminded to respond to the prompt, colleague students, and include new ideas of their own. FORUM discussions were the means of discussing key points of the material for the week in preparation for writing the Summary and Reflection Papers. Weekly FORUM responses were to be posted no later than 11pm on Friday of the week they were due. Below is sample FORUM prompt. During the second lesson, students listened to and watched Dr. Howard Gardner present on Global Ethics and Ed Graggert, of IEarn present on Global Competence. After watching these sessions, students were to respond to these questions and one another on the Forum: Gragert asserts that there is an understanding in the USA of global education (competence), however, we lack a “roadmap” on how to achieve global education. Do you agree with these positions? Why or why not? Give examples of how educators and the general public do or do not have competence

in global education. (Gaudino, Sakai Forum Post, 2012) Gardner asserts that ethics will be a key issue in the future of global education. How does Gardner define “ethics?” How do we achieve all educators being ethical? Is ethics nature or nurture----that is, is it something one is born with or can it be learned? Give examples to support your position. (Gaudino, Sakai Forum Post, 2012) A similar format of prompts was posted for each week. In week seven, students selected a topic of their choice and post a prompt based on that topic for peers to respond. After participating in the Forum, students wrote weekly Summary and Reflection Papers. In this way, the Forum was meant to serve as an opportunity for students to think, brainstorm, and exchange ideas prior to their writing. The Summary and Reflection papers were to be a clear, concise and convincing summary of the key points of the session along with their reflection on these points. Papers were to be three or four pages long, with 1 inch margins, double spaced, 12 point font, in APA format. At any time throughout the first six weeks of the course, students could begin researching and writing their final paper. During week 6, they were to submit a draft of their research project by email to two colleagues in class for review and comment prior to submitting their final copy to me for grade. Students were free to choose whatever type of topic they preferred. I was glad to see that the global mission of the 2011 conference guided several students to think on the national and international levels and produce papers such as: Trending Topics in Journalism Education in the United States; Implementation of Mathematical Applications and Related Problems of M-Learning in a South African Context; Trends in Dropout Prevention Efforts in the United States; and Trends and Issues on Curriculum Review and Universality of Primary Education in Nigeria. Throughout this course, the use of social media provided my students with experiences that were very valuable. From listening to and watching international experts about a variety of topics in education in recorded online conference sessions, to discussing their ideas in the online forum, to reviewing each other’s writing online, my students gained experiences through social media that they otherwise would have not experienced. For a copy of the complete course syllabus or other information, please email Dr. Gaudino at

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