Workshops/An Introduction to Social Networking and Learning Communities

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Session Information

  • Level - Introductory, no basic experience with social networking tools required
  • Audience - Instructors interested in using popular social networking tools to support learning communities.
  • Time - 50 minutes
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Before the Session

This session is hands-on, so please bring your laptop if possible. If you cannot bring a laptop, one will be provided for you.

General Description

The popularity of Facebook has led some faculty to explore its use in their courses. Facebook groups are easy for instructors to create and students to join. These can be powerful communication tools, but there are many issues to consider before investing in Facebook as an instructional tool. Does it support the type of collaborative learning experience that you are trying to achieve in your course? There are other tools that support collaboration and rapid social networking that may include important features and functions not found in Facebook. Learn more about other issues, your options, and the future of social media and networking tools in this workshop.

Learning Outcomes

Following this session, you will be able to...

  • Define the terms "social networking" and "social media"
  • Describe three common characteristics of social networking and social media
  • Describe the relationship between mobile computing and social networking
  • Compare Facebook groups with similar collaborative tools
  • Identify at least three examples of Facebook groups being used to support academic coursework
  • Describe the features and functions of Ning social networking sites
  • Describe the social feature of Twitter and Flickr
  • Define the term "creepy tree house" and identify three potential pitfalls of social networking with students
  • Describe how learning communities differ from other academic groupings (e.g., project groups)
  • List three good practices for learning community development and management
  • Compare several technologies for supporting learning communities, including Facebook, Ning, and SharePoint

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