Nomination for <br />Social Media in Education Award<br />By<br />
This presentation will showcase our socially networked, proprietary Collaborative Learning Space (CLS)<br />In doing this, we will illustrate how social media integration into an online learning platform delivers an enriched student learning experience.<br />
Brief description of the programme/project/initiative<br /><ul><li>Since 2008, Knowledge Universe has been working on the development of a customised learning management system that would be used to digitise and deliver courses in a stable, secure and most importantly, social environment.
As of May 2011, we have a robust system that incorporates the best and most relevant aspects of a social media platform into a structurally sound Collaborative Learning Space.
Continuously improving and evolving (as does any true technology), we believe this system will change the way online teaching and learning is perceived and delivered in time to come.</li></li></ul><li>
Why was the project started?/Objective<br />The project was started to bring to life KU’s vision of delivering a <br />participatory pedagogy<br />that fosters<br />learner centricityand<br />authentic assessment<br />
Target Group and Geographical Reach<br />TG: full time and part-time students currently enrolled or to be enrolled in our courses.<br />GR: Anywhere and everywhere. Just needs a decent internet connection!<br />
10 points that make the programme/project innovative?<br />Social media and networking features have been incorporated in strategic/key interface parts of the platform.<br />Reinforced with the best elements of Web 2.o, the LMS sets the stage for truly participative learning.<br />Users have the option of adding each other as contacts, posting on each others walls, forming groups and sending one another messages.<br />Student and faculty home pages are rather like facebook, giving users the option to update their profile information (including adding their photos), and offering a one-stop view of Contacts, subjects enrolled in, any Messages or Announcements they may have received.<br />Specially designed Rich Text Editor (RTE) that allows for easy integration of multimedia in the form of image, video and audio files.<br />
10 points that make the programme/project innovative? (cont’d)<br />Ability to switch sections of content “on” and “off” depending on the requirement.<br />In keeping with its “sociable nature”, the system also allows the Faculty or administrator to create and schedule participatory assessment items.<br /> Interactive Discussion Forums enable users (students) to post comments/questions, ‘like’ and comment on existing posts and contribute additional resources which they think will be useful for their class.<br />One to one or individual assignments can also be created. This function makes use of a personalised messaging system not unlike the messaging system in facebook.<br />Online meetings can be scheduled between 2 or more users wherein they can instant message (IM) one another, voice chat, share files and view documents within the meeting itself.<br />
5 achievements of the programme/project?<br />Minimises the need for (fully) face to face course delivery through the use of key social media elements.<br />Effects a mindset change to transform the teaching-learning experience, from a didactic monologue, to a participatory learning framework imbued with infusions of real world scenarios (using multimedia elements)<br />Serves as a driver for proactive thinking and self- reflection based learning, eventually doing away with short-term, reactive-rote based learning.<br />This authentic, real world learning becomes the perfect foundation for the Open-Book, Open-Web (OBOW) exam, which is most often the final assessment item in online undergraduate and graduate programmes.<br />The LMS encourages the student to not only absorb information made available, but also hunt, gather and share information from the world wide web. Thus the student becomes both consumer and producer of information.<br />
5 key challenges faced while implementing the programme/project/initiative and how they were overcome<br />Stable internet connection: The successful use of this system, much like any online platform, depends on how stable the internet connection is. This inherent weakness is countered by the flexible nature of learning and assessment, which gives students space to login another time, if they cannot in a particular instance. <br />Platform issues/bugs: Much like wine, any and every online platform will mature with time, constantly evolving and refining itself. It is inevitable therefore, to encounter some system issues which crop up as a result of this constant evolution. Strong IT support in the form of dedicated staff helps to preempt issues, and quickly alleviate problems as and when they occur. <br />Tracking student progress: Since this learning ‘environment’ is not confined within four walls, it can often be a challenge to monitor student progress. This problem is quite easily overcome by employing good administrative staff who conduct regular offline checks, in conjunction with good faculty who keenly monitor students progress online in terms quality of participation in discussion activities and submitted assignments.<br />
5 key challenges faced while implementing the programme/project/initiative and how they were overcome (cont’d)<br />Student impersonation (proxy/fraud)- because of the distributed approach to learning, it is possible for somebody to impersonate another person. This can be dealt with by the stringent application of admission procedures to ascertain the true identity of individuals, such as attested copies of certificates and transcripts and verification of personal information.<br />Plagiarism- the easy access to electronic resources may lead one to fall prey to the lure of plagiarism. It is important that resources are committed to combat online plagiarism. This might require investment in anti-plagiarism software like turnitin.com. The same technologies that are used for unethical purposes can be used to identify those very practices and rein in the offender.<br />
5 points on how the programme can serve as a model that can be replicated or adapted by others?<br />This initiative provides opportunities for learners to be both consumers and producers of knowledge.<br />The programme is structured in a way that permits continual renewal of information. (the content stays current because of the contribution of additional resources by learners themselves.)<br />A social-media friendly user interface is useful device for inducing learner engagement.<br />The programme facilitates a robust learning community by allowing individuals to create their own college-wide social groups.<br />Personal digital archive of learning resources wherever there is an internet connection (easy accessibility).<br />
List 5 points to elaborate on the scalability of the programme/project/initiative <br />The inherently online nature of the Learning Management System means a virtually infinite level of scalability and expansion.<br />This LMS aims to become the industry standard for a participatory, socially-networked online platform.<br />It has been developed with an in-built capacity to support multiple users and load simultaneously, and this can be scaled upwards as the traffic increases.<br />Dedicated systems support exists at both the front end and back end, along with specialised technology-development teams.<br />Going forward, this platform will be used for digitising and delivering customised content across Knowledge Universe’s businesses spanning the whole spectrum of Education service providers, right from Early Childhood Education (ECE) to higher education.<br />