ONL162 has a strong “social media” aspect to it, which I anticipate I will struggle with. In my private life I am not active in social media: I have Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts, but I never post anything. I have an instinctive aversion to stream-of-consciousness thoughts that are posted for posterity at the press of a button. Something you write or say that seems inconsequential today can have unforeseen consequences in the future. I think this is a lesson that many people growing up today will end up learning the hard way.
While I understand that a social aspect is intricately tied to many online tools nowadays, I am also skeptical of how useful it is for online learning. There are some areas where I see some strong benefits – for example a forum for answering difficult questions such as stack exchange. However, I am not so sure I see how asking students to comment on each others’ blog posts increases their knowledge.
I am also sensitive to the fact that many students, like myself, feel a strong sense of privacy when it comes to their online presence, and do not wish for their learning experience to become a searchable matter of public record. I think that we need to find a good balance between the usefulness of these social tools and the dangers and distractions that they present.