Thursday, October 16, 2008

CCK08: Facebook for Academics

If you are a faculty member or administrative staff at a college or university then you might be tempted to check out Academia.edu. Probably the simplest way I can describe it is to call it "Facebook for Academics." All institutions are organized on the top level of a 'tree' (i.e. an organizational chart). The second level of the chart shows the departments within the institution and the third level shows the individual faculty and staff. Once you add yourself to the respective tree branch, you can select your research interests, display a photo and post a professional profile which includes aspects such as articles published, books authored, CV, important websites, contacts, courses you are teaching, etc. This social networking site is a great way to connect with other faculty members at other institutions working on similar topics. This has the potential to be a very interesting resource as it grows. As of mid-October 2008, there are over 6300 people registered. (7 more people joined in the time it took me to write this blog post!)

PS: this blog post fits nicely into the Connectivism course topic for week 5: Groups and Networks.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow nice pic!

Jeffrey Keefer said...

I just learned about that site last week, and found it fascinating. The challenge I had was with how long it tool to navigate, as well as how challenging it was to navigate through the window. While I am acutely aware that many of my research and personal interests are interdisciplinary, I found it very challening to locate them within the site itself.

Of course, now that I put myself on that site, I am not quite sure what to do next with it . . .

Eric said...

Hi Jeffrey,

I understand what you are saying. It's has quite a bit of potential, but it's really not 'there yet' as a user friendly tool. Hopefully their developers will continue to make improvements. I am sure someone will increase their funding soon as well. At the rate that academics are joining this site, some external investors will recognize the up-side!

Jeffrey Keefer said...

Eric, as I am struggling with its clunkiness, for lack of a better word, how have you been able to use it? In other words, how have you been able to navigate it to get something more substantial out of it than just the "this is cool" factor?

Eric said...

Hi Jeffrey,

I'm encouraged by recent developments on the site. They have decreased the amount of horizontal scrolling required. This new layout has been a blessing! What I have done now is input all the paper I have co-authored and I was impressed to see the citations auto-link to my papers. That way I can quickly navigate through the related literature online. You can also network to related individuals by navigating the "New" feature that organizes changes made to the site by 'field of interest'. I like that.

I've also noted that since I wrote the blog posting (i.e. 12 days ago) that the number of people listed on the page has increased from 7700 to 10700. Wow. Impressive growth.

Undoubtedly, as the database grows the developers will infuse new functionality. Stay Tuned!