MSLOC Breaks New Ground with Jive Social Collaboration Technology

MSLOC Breaks New Ground with Jive Social Collaboration Technology

MSLOC class

Tapping into social collaboration technology typically used by large companies, the SESP Master of Science in Learning and Organizational Change Program (MSLOC) is pioneering the use of the cutting-edge Jive social networking software for an educational purpose. For MSLOC, Jive provides an online space where students and faculty build a strong and robust learning community.

“We’re the only ones pushing the educational use of this platform,” says Jeff Merrell, MSLOC associate director. In recognition of their innovation, the program’s staff have been asked to give presentations on their use of Jive for developing a learning community, and they have advised other universities and programs within Northwestern about the value of this type of software platform.

As a professional master’s degree program, MSLOC sees many benefits to using an environment similar to the one its graduates will work in, where Jive or similar enterprise networking software is used to improve an organization’s capability to share knowledge, collaborate and innovate. “It helps to bridge the corporate world and higher education for MSLOC,” says Keeley Sorokti, MSLOC assistant director and lead architect of MSLOC’s Jive-powered online space, “The Hive.”.

As an educational tool, Jive allows students to explore using a social collaboration platform, to experiment with participating in open forums and to learn firsthand the challenges and opportunities of using this technology to support learning. “The Hive has an overall feeling of engagement and excitement, and there is always creative and perceptive dialogue flowing throughout,” says MSLOC student Michelle Bavester.

The Hive functions as the centerpiece of the program’s teaching and learning. Both within and outside of class, it’s used for learning, socializing, course information, projects, blogging, events, resource sharing and more. Part-time student Diane Knoepke comments, “The Hive is my tether to both my MSLOC community of learners and my MSLOC portfolio of learning experiences.”

MSLOC adopted Jive in the 2012-13 academic year as part of an ongoing effort to support a strong cohort experience for students. A major priority for MSLOC is building a deeply connected network as a learning community. “Creating a very strong sense of community and connection — Jive is the technology contributor to that,” Sorokti notes. As community manager, Sorokti facilitates interaction, curates and shares content and welcomes new students and faculty into the community.

The program has been especially pleased with the interaction that the Hive promotes and sustains above and beyond classes. For example, posts on leadership and on gender issues  have sparked lengthy, thoughtful responses. “People are having serious discussions — learning is going on,” says Sorokti. 

Because the Hive community is limited to MSLOC students, faculty, staff and alumni, there’s a high level of trust that allows more reflective discussions, according to Sorokti. Student Teresa Torres notes, “There are times when I want a private place to share thoughts with people whom I trust — that's where The Hive is absolutely priceless.”  “Corporations would love to be able to have this level of trust and community,” says Merrell.

Alumni like Roberto Cabanelas (MS13), senior vice president and global head of human resources at Aon Hewitt, remain involved with the program through the Hive. Cabanelas shares that he likes to “read about the new people coming into the program, especially those who have an HR and leadership development background who I may be able to connect with down the road.” The Hive also supports Cabanelas’s lifelong learning by helping him stay current with learning and organizational change content long after graduation.

For using technology as a learning and knowledge-sharing space, MSLOC is an “exemplar in both higher education and corporate worlds,” according to Merrell. At Northwestern, MSLOC was asked to give presentations for the Educational Technology Advisory Council (ETAC) and the Board of Trustees technology subcommittee. Outside Northwestern, MSLOC has presented at professional conferences about social learning and will present at the Human Resources Management of Chicago conference in October. In addition, Sorokti is presenting at a Jive World conference as a “Jive champion.”

The Master of Science in Learning and Organizational Change program is designed to help experienced, working professionals build expertise in leading organizational change. The program focuses on three critical areas: learning and performance, strategy and knowledge, and strategic change. Kimberly Scott is the director of the MSLOC program.
By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 10/6/14