Tuesday, June 17, 2008

JISC report on student expectations of ICT

The recent report 'Great Expectations of ICT' published by JISC makes for interesting reading. Of particular note were the comments about social networking sites. Apparently 73% of first year students in UK HEIs use social networking sites, but 'struggle to see how it could be used in learning'. What they do use it for, is talking about their coursework, their classes, their tutors - it seems to operate as a kind of socially oriented support, not a content driven support.

In the school of English at Birmingham City University, we are thinking of using Facebook to support student induction. My experience of using the wiki as part of a workshop at the Narrative & Multimodality symposium showed that one of the key benefits of the 'biography' page was priming the level of discussion through improved social cohesion. Given that so many of our freshers will already be using Facebook, how great would it be that they could meet each other online before coming to the campus in September.

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5 Comments:

OpenID hemminac said...

It's hard to turn a corner in the world of social media without finding another member of staff from Birmingham City University!

I like the headstart to freshers week idea with Facebook - will be interesting to see how it goes. The world of Facebook can take on a life of it's own!

Another option could be to create your own social networking space - I've had a quick look at www.ning.com which appears to allow you to do just that. Of course, students aren't already logged into that like Facebook, but you might have more control of what goes on in your own freshers network?

3:26 PM  
Blogger Ruth Page said...

Thanks for the tip! The beauty of using Facebook is that ultimately I hope it might lead to more student-led support for their studies. But more than anything, Facebook is going to be our first shot because as you point out the students are already plugged in and using it. If you've got any suggestions about how we could make it work most effectively, please let me know!

12:29 AM  
OpenID hemminac said...

Probably the best thing is to just give it a go. The only real problem I could foresee is a data integrity one – are the group members really your students? Who are the real freshers if more students join the group next year? I guess you could get around that by calling the group “Freshers of 2008”?

One other thing, if your Facebook group lasts for the duration of the degree course, you have a very public database for alert rivals to target with postgraduate promotions!

But anyhow – good luck with the experiment, it will be very interesting to see how it goes.

2:12 AM  
Blogger Ruth Page said...

Thanks for the advice! I think we will call the group something like 'School of English Freshers 2008' - and you are of course right about issues of integrity and potential publicity. I'm still wrestling with how I might get round that!

2:22 AM  
Blogger Jess said...

Great post Ruth. Josie Fraser has just tweeted about her latest report on social media and young people in the UK which might be of interest to you? The Guardian has a link to it (http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,,2287305,00.html) as does The Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2188708/Facebook-and-Bebo-can-help-literacy.html).

You can see the report here: http://www.digizen.org/socialnetworking/

9:25 AM  

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