Web 2.0 has been with us for a while now, and we are starting to see signs of Web 3.0, the semantic web, entering the mainstream. The key feature of Web 2.0 is that it provides the opportunity for us to produce and share content with the world. I came across this comment recently:

The internet has become not only a medium for consuming information, but also a platform upon which every user has the power to produce content as well...[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"][instead of] the flow of content moving unilaterally from the producer to the consumer, Web 2.0 is based on user centred applications that promote communication, user empowerment, collaboration and social networking (Aaron Stiner, Nonprofit 2.0: Blogs, online videos and Facebook to promote your missionn, Scribd.com, accessed 21 January 209).

Companies are increasingly using Web 2.0 technology to connect with their customers, and emarketing is beginning to be characterised by consumer councils, advisory boards, product feedback groups where customers vote for the next product to be developed and survey groups to collect customer feedback. Companies use facebook to connect with customers - how many facebook groups have been set up by organisations and companies over the past 12 months?  Twitter is the latest technology to generate its own industry in software add-ons and consultants who will help you use it to your company's advantage.

For educational institutions, this technology represents a way to engage with students and give them a voice. I'm sure there must be many universities and colleges who already use Web 2.0 in this way already?  Is facebook used in this way by institutions? I'm thinking of more than online blogs, wikis and forums, but an online Student Advisory Council, or a survey group where new policy, shifts in procedures, ideas for improvement could be tested before they go live?   These sorts of networks/groups are 'opt-in' so students would need to sign up to participate which suggests they are interested in providing their thoughts to their institutional managers and leaders.

Making sure the ideas and feedback does inform decision making is critical, and keeping the conversation active needs someone to get a new job!  Which institutions already use Web 2.0 in this way?  Lots of people in institutions talk about student engagement now – but have we moved beyond the rhetoric to embedding engagement as a way of operating? Share what your organisation is doing to engage students using Web 2.0 by leaving a comment.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]