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Integrating Social Media into Learning Environments: Integrating Social Media into Learning Environments – Desire, Opportunity or Threat -- 210 -- Hybrid

12:00 - 13:00 on Wednesday, 12 September 2012 in 2.220

This hybrid session aims to confront the uncomfortable reality that while social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are booming, students find VLEs less engaging – a bit like Google+. We aim to address the two themes of “problem solving” and “openness and sharing” by:

  • presenting initial results on student and staff attitudes to integrating social and academic online communities based on a recent project (10 mins);
  • demonstrating how academic activities within a VLE can be used to generate social media alerts (20 mins);
  • discussing the value and issues arising from trying to bridge the gap between social and academic communities (30 mins).

This session comes out of the eSCISM project which aims to bridge the divide between a student's academic community of practice and their existing social networks. While students are using social media amongst themselves, a divide exists between this and tutors’ online presence, in part fuelled by concerns over privacy and in part by the lack of staff digital literacy. The main activities of our project have been three fold: to survey students’ relative usage of social media and their VLE; to investigate student attitudes to bringing academic activities into their online social lives; and to expose activities within a VLE to make them visible in social media in a way that addresses privacy issues.

In the first part of this session we shall present the survey results of our work from 6 student cohorts across two Schools within a STEM faculty that has involved over 150 students at levels 4, 5, 6 and 7 and over 50 staff. Unsurprisingly, results highlight the dominance of Facebook, accessed by students via mobile internet devices (MIDs), i.e. SmartPhones, although there are unexpected variations between cohorts and attitudes.

In the second part of this session we shall demonstrate the technologies used to integrate RSS feeds from a VLE into social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, based around a set of key principles to promote staff and student engagement.

In the third part of this session we hope to stimulate discussion and gather additional information and requirements from participating staff as to the value and direction of social media/VLE integration. The format and content of this part of the session is flexible but could include the use of EVS and argument maps to support exploration of ideas.

In addition to exploring existing known issues, e.g. social media literacy and technical challenges, we hope to raise issues around institutional investment in and attitudes towards opening up the VLE. This work is increasingly vital in an era in which students increasingly rely social media “push” technologies, at the expense of the “pull” perspective of the VLE.


Please find slides for the session here. We will not necessarily be using them all - as otherwise at 2 mins per slide we will be well over time!

Demo slides are there for back-up. Key aim for me is to explore issues around use of social networks/media so please come prepared to share!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012, 11:09

Hi Guy,

Thanks very much for the workshop - the demo of using to push VLE alerts to Facebook/Twitter was particularly useful.



Wednesday, 12 September 2012, 14:11

No problem Simon. If you need more info/feedback I would be happy to share.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012, 14:14

Thanks to everyone for their contributions to the session this morning.

Building on the feedback, I am sorry to technologists, or advocates for social media in the audience (of which there seemed to be many) if what was presented was old hat, and too basic. I was expecting a bit more of the conflict that was in evidence in Haydn's session this morning :-)

Nevertheless, there seemed to be a great buzz in the room. I will share what was captured later today.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012, 14:13