Canvas has clearly stated the importance of discussions “within” the class. I would like to suggest the same idea “beyond the class.”
Here are a few ideas regarding how to use social networking in an online course to increase its success and broaden its reach.
The whole idea of social networking is to reach key influencers who might be interested in our product. You can do this through the specialized softwares of Klout, LinkedIn’s Skills and Expertise page, and Commun.it, as well as the more well-known tools of Youtube, Wikipedia, Google Books, Google Scholar, Google News, and Google Blogsearch.
There are others. Google Plus (the second largest social networking site in the world) contains “Circles” which enable users to organize into shared groups. Scoop.it acts as a central hub to discover content, build community around that content, and nurture relationships with influencers. Facebook Graph Search brings together people who are interested in the same thing. Coursera.org casts itself as a “hub” for learning and networking. And the Lithium Community Platform pins itself directly to the course website, assigning your supporters to “spread the word” through social channels.
These networked contacts can also be leveraged to drive web traffic back to the original site. For example, GaggleAMP and SocialToaster include a point system to gamify social sharing and reward those participants who are the best sharers.
I hope this is helpful. It doesn’t bother me a bit for my University to market its success. If I need to repent, I’ll do that after I return from the bank. (:>)
Regards, Tom Hohstadt