Showcase Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

The horse or the cart: Social Media, policy and Higher Education (#207)

Debra Bateman 1 , Julie Willems 2
  1. RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  2. Monash University, Moe, VIC, Australia

Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)

 Analogies have long been used to make sense of every day practice and phenomena. This presentation draws upon a zeugmatic approach (Hofstadter and Sander, 2013) using the positioning of the horse in relation to the cart to understand the policy context of higher education institutions in relation to social media usage. In previous work, we have considered the use of social media in and for higher education (Bateman & Willems, 2012). Through a four quadrant analysis, we have located the types of activities which can be identified as formal, informal, institutionally driven or student lead. Through case studies (Willems & Bateman, 2013), we have illustrated what occurs within these spaces, through both affordances and liabilities or challenges. 

As a result of this sustained research and analysis, we argue that Higher Education Institutions and Social Media can be interchangeably positioned as horse, cart or driver and chaser. We propose a set of principles by which institutions and individuals are better positioned to assume a firmer stance in a rapidly changing virtual context. 

Addressing the theme/s of the Conference (up to 200 words recommended)

 Increasingly, the higher education sector attempts to enable students to engage in their learning, in ways that engage lifeworld approaches, devices and interfaces. Whilst technologies are both an affordance and a liability, in this instance they are a provocation to consider the complexity in which the dynamics of student, staff, institution and external stakeholder are largely interchangeable through intended and unintended, public and private interactivity. The provision of clear principles to guide the use of rapidly emergent technologies enables the execution of increased duty of care for all members of a Higher Education community. The management of individual and institutional identities and brands immediately increases the likely employability of graduates.

  1. Hofstadter, D. and Sander, E. (2012) Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the fuel and fire of thinking, Basic Books, New York
  2. Bateman, D. and Willems, J. 2012, 'Facing off: Facebook and higher education', in Misbehavior Online in Higher Education, Emerald, Bingley, United Kingdom, pp. 53-80
  3. Willems, J. and Bateman, D. 2013, 'Facing up to it: blending formal and informal learning opportunities in higher education contexts', in Using Network and Mobile Technology to Bridge Formal and Informal Learning, Chandos, Witney, United Kingdom, pp. 93-118