Institutions of higher education face many challenges; one is to provide a learning environment that acknowledges the unique skills and interests of the Net Generation. This paper explores these challenges within the context of computer-mediated communication (CMC) instruction. Specifically, the paper explores the use of social web technologies – blogs and podcasts – as methods of student learning and assessment.
Podcasting and blogs facilitate online communication in a community network; both combine old and new communication methods to rapidly and inexpensively deliver words, text and audio via the Internet. Most reports of the use of these technologies in an educational setting focus on teacher-centered communication, specifically, podcasts of lectures. However, these technologies can also be used as an alternative, experiential and innovative method for active student learning. The paper provides a framework to help others create similar learning opportunities; it identifies pitfalls and best practices; and it provides a set of recommended tools.