Friday, May 6, 2011

ConnectYard: Higher education communication evolves...again

After the post earlier this week, I have received a few comments via email noting a concern for student privacy if we "require" students to communicate via social networking sites. I never require my students to use social networking as a means to communication, but I do offer options for communication and occasional assignments exploring social media (after all, we study communication).

My last post reported on the high number of professors using social media as a tool to communicate with students. There are a variety of thoughts about connecting both formally and informally via facebook, twitter, or other media sites. While the benefits include a fast response time from and for students, increased comfort with professors, and accessibility, there are many concerns about privacy. Due to these concerns, many institutions (including mine) are looking at options that allow students and professors to feel their privacy is protected BUT to also take advantage of their social networking connections.

In the upcoming fall semester, my university will pilot  ConnectYard. What does it do? ConnectYard is a platform that integrates Facebook, Twitter and the students' most used communication: text messaging. This platform integrates nicely with Blackboard and can improve connections with students. It organizes via "yards" (which can be classes or groups). The students can access the yards/groups through their phones, video, text, or via their social networks like Facebook and Twitter. There are several great informative videos including a CY demo on their website here (or others such as this one on youtube).

I am new to the use and possibilities of ConnectYard, but I am looking forward to our pilot of the platform this fall and eager to see how the students respond. As a newbie, I welcome your thoughts or comments. Of course, you can also follow ConnectYard on Twitter: @ConnectYard to learn more.

Privacy image from this site. ConnectYard image from the ConnectYard site.

Don't forget, you can "like" Communication and Higher Education Blog on Facebook:


  1. I don't see any problems in using social networking sites. If you'll think of something else, there won't be any other means of communication that are easier than these sites.

    web design Perth

  2. Hi Lora. Any update on how ConnectYard is working out for you?

  3. ConnectYard allows that buffer of privacy between the faculty member and the student. I've used it again this semester and have found the students enjoy it and seem more connected to the course and better able to stay on top of large assignments (since they ask questions as they think of them via their mobile device or Social Site.