It highlights for me that the best thing social media brings to the table is the potential for sparking or enhancing face-to-face real-time conversations.
"Loose coupling" is a term I picked up at Lancaster; you can read about it from Peter Goodyear's paper (www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet21/goodyear.html ) but here's a nice quote of his from that one:
The loose coupling of elements gives space within which we can be both disciplined and creative, listen to our instincts and make them accountable to others.So this is part of my making an instinct accountable... to you. Each year I have set up "General Support, Feedback and Collaboration" discussion lists, just to give some level of interaction potential to our too one-way VLE offerings. The only staff involvement I promise is my own brand of moderation (i.e. fairly hands-off). It strikes me that, for all the attempts at cunning design to draw people out in discourse and dialogue, this loosely framed forum has produced some very special learning opportunities for those involved.
It seems strange, as I think back to a project that ran back in UWCM days, that we dont do more to make students aware of their physical proximity.