Tom Smith writes about the use of (commercial) IM in a class setting:
At the OTHER media, when building HyperIsland School of New Media, and again in Kosova, we used Instant Messaging, as well as email of course, as one of the main communication tools. Using a “standard” tool like IM, means that as the students left the course and went to work all over the world, the network (or “crews” as they were known) continued to be maintained. Out there in new media world, in London, New York, San Francisco there is a “secret” network still talking. If we’d have given all the students an email address, then turned it off when they graduate they may have been able to maintain those links using free email accounts, but it does become less likely that the simple task of keeping in touch happens.
This was a central part of the reason I started the blogs server for our school. I had students in the capstone seminar of a year-long professional masters program. My hope was that once they graduated, they would keep updating the blog, and have a place to touch base with their own cohort, other graduates, and current students. I was hoping to establish a sociotechnical Old Boys Network–with the emphasis on network rather than Old Boys.
There are a couple of people who post infrequently to their blogs since graduation. The irony is that those who took to blogging had or set up their own blogs, and those who didn’t just dropped it, leaving a very small number in the center who took advantage of the free hosting. This year, the blogs have been forced upon the students (more or less) from day one. They resisted, naturally, but some are liking them now and keeping them up. I’ll be interested to see if they continue to do so after they graduate this summer. (via “Seb”:http://radio.weblogs.com/0110772/2004/02/20.html#a1464 .)