Posted by: crudbasher | August 16, 2011

Social Intranets in Higher Education

I think one of the real revolutions of the Internet is the connecting people in ad hoc groups. These groups come and go based on need. Organizations that have rigid hierarchys I think will be less nimble and more susceptible to disruptions. One of the most rigid organizational structures is the university campus. This article talks about a way to use social networks to help make that system more flexible.

I suspect there will be a great deal of angst on the part of some adminstrations to allow free communications amoung their staff. We will see…

Check out this great blog post below!

  • Nice article about intranets

    tags: education highered technology social media nell

    • We currently face a higher education system that is hundreds of years old and stuck in the past. I believe that social intranets may be a key to radically bringing higher education into the 21st century.

    • The fact is we have an education model that is hundreds of years old that was built for a world that no longer exists.

    • One of the many challenges facing higher education is an organizational structure and culture that is not conducive for success in the 21st century. Problems include stifling bureaucracy, entrenched silos, resistance to change and campus politics so petty that Henry Kissinger once said “University politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.” Colleges and universities will need to change radically in the coming years and I think social intranets may be a key to this transformation.

    • Companies typically install intranets top-down to distribute HR policies and other corporate information that workers are doing their best to ignore

    • Instead, intranets should be about hyperlinking people outside the organizational chart. The best are built bottom-up by engaged individuals cooperating to construct something far more valuable: an intranetworked corporate conversation

    • I see many things that a social intranet can accomplish including:

    • Breaking down the silos.

    • A social intranet when implemented in the spirit of the cluetrain can bring down the silos and create a cohesive campus community.

    • Most college campuses are notoriously inefficient. There is considerable duplication and little sharing of knowledge and processes. A social intranet can provide a platform for improved communication and collaboration.

    • Improving efficiency.

    • Leveraging institutional knowledge.

    • Using a social intranet to leverage the collective IQ of faculty and staff will help the campus prepare for an uncertain future.

    • Improving morale.

    • At the end of the day people work better when they know each other on a personal level and a social intranet can help build community and weather the difficult times.

    • Improving training.

    • Colleges are in a great position to combine their existing teaching skills with social learning.

    • intranets must move from monologue to dialogue, from a repository of institutional documents and forms to a true collection of institutional knowledge, from a rarely visited outpost to a vibrant community that is the center of institutional life.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.



  1. I am not so convinced or, I should say, my experience can be taken as an example of how not to do this. I teach for an all-online university. The sites I have to go to to stay on top of things have proliferated – with facebook pages, faculty-specific forums, the faculty lounge with general and faculty-specific sections, sections for students, etc. and e-mail lists. The intent is to streamline communication, but also foster morale and a sense of community. The result has been that there are too many places to “click”. The faculty forum falls dormant for weeks at a time – at least the sections I visit. The various other networks are used mainly for top-down communication of orders, policies and administrative announcements. Even the regularly instituted faculty telephone conversations have become top-down policy transmission events. There was arguably less of a sense of anonymity and of being a cog in a machine before these changes. There is little sense of community and very little substantive discussion.

    • I too have seen things like you describe. How does a social network attain a critical mass? I suppose it depends on several factors. How open the discussion is, if off topic things are allowed, and if the communication needs aren’t being served by another means.

      I think they can work, but as your experience shows, success certainly isn’t a given.

      Thank you so much for commenting!!

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