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Elgg at the University of Westminster
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Elgg at the University of Westminster


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  • 1. THE USE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING BY STUDENTS AND STAFF IN HIGHER EDUCATION Gunter Saunders and Federica Oradini Online Learning Development
  • 2. The University of Westminster Context
    • 22,000 students
    • Many international, mature or part-time
    • Emphasis is on face to face delivery/learning
    • Searching for the best way to use technology
    • Blackboard is used extensively
    • Very tutor centred
  • 3. Connect Democratic but still governed by rules User led Normally not linked to assessment Facilitates community building
  • 4. Introduction to Connect
  • 5. What is Connect?
    • Create your profile, add your picture and your interests
    • Add friends to your site
      • Create Presentations (ePortfolios)
      • Customise the look and feel of your site
    • Find people with common interests
      • Create Private and Public communities
    • Send messages to your friends and communities
      • Publish content through the blog tool
  • 6. Factors Driving Development
    • Supporting students prior to arrival
    • Students’ Union
      • Clubs, societies, broaden SU reach
    • Quality assurance
      • Student representatives
    • Giving users control
    • Potential in learning/support
    • Enthusiasm of change agents
  • 7. How has Connect been used?
    • Communities
      • Based around interests e.g. Film, cats, wine
      • Activities e.g. Football, Cricket
      • Student led learning e.g. Visual culture group
      • Staff led learning e.g. Giving presentations, homeopathy
      • Strategy development e.g. Library review
    • Personal blog
      • Some reflective e.g. on university life
      • Academic subject based
      • Seeking contacts, information, solutions
  • 8. Student versus staff use of Connect
    • Staff
      • Fewer staff kept blogs compared to students
      • Frequency of blog posts per head was greater
      • Used mostly as an online reflective diary
      • Linked to their job or subject being taught
    • Students
      • Blogged more for contacts and to get information
      • Tended to own fewer communities
      • More students created detailed profiles
  • 9. Student views
    • Students positive about Connect:
      • Saw Connect serving a different purpose to FB
      • They wanted their tutors to be involved
      • Wanted to separate university/private life
      • They wanted integration with the VLE
      • To have their own space linked to their studies
    • Students negative about Connect
      • See Connect as another Facebook
  • 10. Student videos
  • 11. Staff views
    • Large majority believe it can help students to build a community prior/after arrival
    • Many think it has a role to play in learning and teaching
    • Some would keep a blog about research and sharing of best teaching practice
    • Some would keep a blog for their subject
    • Many think should be linked to Blackboard
  • 12. Staff videos
  • 13. Future Vision
  • 14. is Westminster’s online social network where you can make friends, find out the latest news from UWSU clubs and societies and meet like minded students. Go to http:// connect. and log-on using your University username and password. http:// connect. Starting out at University doesn't have to be scary Photo used under a Creative Commons licence.