This question about how far into student spaces we should venture before we start to get pushback was the topic of a discussion session I went to. Lots of discussion about how schools are using wikis, blogs and even Second Life but no consensus about how far we should take it. Anecdotally there is a lot of evidence that students don’t want grown-ups in their spaces, but also anecdotally you have some success stories about faculty using Facebook groups successfully in classes. I think the key is to know your students and your campus culture. The group did recognize that a lot of the social software technologies that we are experimenting with (RSS aggregators, Second Life, etc.) have yet to ‘catch on’ with undergrads, and there is some evidence that even Facebook is becoming less popular with college students as High School students are now allowed and employers and grad schools are now looking at profiles in hiring and admission processes.
The general session this afternoon was on disaster preparedness and recovery. Presented by people from Southern Miss. Univ. and LSU we got a first hand look at how disasters can affect all areas of a campus even when your campus is not the one hit. Southern Miss. was nearly completely wiped out by the storm, LSU just had all of the issues around being an evacuation point. They gave good advice – and sobering account of how Katrina affected so many. I know I’m going to go home and make an inventory of our house and store it online somewhere I can get to it even if the house is gone!