Interview with Charlene Zeitsma of York University
The modern identity is split between reality and virtual reality. An individual’s persona takes on the space they inhabit as well as their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn personalities. Today, we are all defined by the way we can speak and hold a conversation, just as much as we are judged by our social media presence and the social media etiquette we might choose to follow (or not follow). In terms of learning via virtual learning platforms, a classroom persona or collegiate persona is suddenly defined— curated course content edited and produced by the students themselves, along with meaningful discussions that transform posted articles into interesting case studies.
We spoke to Professor Charlene Zeitsma, who teaches at the Schulich School of Business in York University. She had some interesting perspectives on social media in the classroom and virtual learning.
How do you see Yellowdig, or technology like it, filling gaps in the higher educational system right now?
Yellowdig really facilitates this co-creation of learning—this collaborative learning environment which I think is the way the world is right now. That’s how we develop knowledge. There’s no worthy person at the front of the classroom being the expert and everyone else just soaking up the knowledge— if it ever was that, really.
And, in particular, I teach MBAs and part-time MBAs who work full time during the day so they have a lot of different experiences and they’re reading for the job as well as for the classroom. They’re able to bring their learning and their perspective to Yellowdig and really enhance the whole group understanding of different concepts because they’re posting stuff. So, I really find it creates a whole lot of value beyond what any individual instructor could do by mobilizing the entire group to help each other learn.
On the diversity of ideas that Yellowdig provides:
I never want control so, for me, it’s a perfect tool. It’s something where the best learning, I believe, is self driven and collaborative and enables you to be much more reflexive because you’re challenged by alternate points of view and it expands your mindset. The professor can expand your mindset in one particular way but the professor has her own mindset and so if you have 30 people or 50 people in the class posting, then all of a sudden you have a much more diverse set of ideas and knowledge going into your own mind.
On curating ideas and articles to provide and create great course content:
So what Yellowdig does is it broadens the curation and so you get a bigger range. You get more thoughtful, reflexive thinking.