What do the Washington Post.com, Inside Higher Ed, and ESPN have in common. Of course if you answer they allow commenting on their website you are correct. I have been researching higher education institutions that allow commenting on their news sites over the last few weeks. I am sure that anyone reading this blog post is already sold on Web 2.0. In fact you are probably tired of that phrase. However I have found it very interesting that very few institutions (actually only a handful) of higher education have latched onto this conversation mechanism.
Wikipedia defines education as “Education encompasses both the teaching and learning of knowledge,” It would seem to me places that want to encompass the teaching and learning of knowledge would encourage audiences on their websites to take part in conversations.
Of course some of the worry from senior leaders on campus is probably 2 fold
- What happens if someone posts something negative about the institution
- What liability does the institution have for what gets posted.
These are two legitimate concerns. The second of which can be solved through a number of scenarios including making posters create accounts or screen posts before they are posted. The first is more of a challenge which is why I think we will see confident institutions who are secure in their brand be the first adopters. You have to be confident that if someone posts a negative comment your alumni, students, parents, and friends will come to their institutions “rescue” and set the record straight.