By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

Unique curriculums at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) that actively use social media as part of the classroom instructional environment are the subject of talks at three notable gatherings across the country in May and June.

Audiences at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Center; the LikeableU social media industry conference; and the original “State of Now” 140Conf in New York will hear presentations by iSchool Assistant Professor of Practice Anthony Rotolo on that topic.

Rotolo will discuss what the iSchool is doing to engage students using social media and the curriculum being formed around that concept. The speaking engagements “offer opportunities for us to talk about the very unique curriculum that we’re developing and what the iSchool is doing in social media that is unique in higher education,” Rotolo said. “Any chance to talk about this with audiences who may not otherwise hear about it is exciting, and I look forward to helping others understand.”

The NASA talk this week is part of the Space Center’s Innovation Day event. Innovation Day is a day for NASA departments working at the Houston location to showcase their work. Rotolo’s talk will focus on his Star Trek class, “Exploring the Information Age from the Final Frontier.” The course examines pressing questions of the Information Age through the lens of Star Trek episodes, including retraining a workforce for an information economy; digital distribution of information; dealing with an always-connected lifestyle; smart grid technology, security and privacy, and science and technology as educational and career paths.

At the LikeableU conference in New York, Rotolo will join a number of nationally recognized social media practitioners, innovators and entrepreneurs as speakers. He will talk about how social media fits into higher education, including how the use of social media in the classroom enhances students’ educational experience.

Rotolo and several iSchool students also are part of the lineup at 140Conf in June. His presentation there will offer the results of tracking a year’s worth of teaching using social media as part of classroom instruction. That will include discussion of student engagement, the social media projects they have completed, and a snapshot of what it has been like to teach in that environment, he said. Several students from the iSchool classes will talk about their experiences. The professor also will discuss findings of a research initiative that has been tracking and analyzing the social media use and activity of students regarding those classes.

iSchool student Isaac Budmen will follow Rotolo’s presentation at 140Conf. Budmen won the 140challenge, a student competition hosted by the School earlier this year, and won a spot to present at the noted conference. Three other students who were involved in the 140challenge (Steve Rheinhart, Sam Morrison and Alysssa Henry) also are attending as guests of conference founder Jeff Pulver.