One Community

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Information about One Community

Published on January 12, 2009

Author: amcneill



Presentation for Kingston University's 'transitions' conference, 13 January 2009.

One Community: making the transition from ‘conventional’ to digital learning Tony McNeill Academic Development Centre

KU learning environments launched September ‘08 • Blackboard • One Community Virtual Social Learning Networking Environment Site (VLE) (SNS)

Transitions? • home/social literacies to academic writing • face-to-face to online • paper to digital • one digital environment to another?

Workshop structure • what is a social networking site? • what are One Community’s core features? • how is it being used in HE?

SNS: a quick definition It’s a digital environment enabling users to: • hang out online (aka “waste time”) • micro-manage social life (Selwyn 2007) but also …

thicken pre-existing relations (Benkler 2006: 357)

share stuff (e.g. images)

create or find an “affinity space” (Gee 2004)

Key features of an SNS are: • profile pages listing interests and activities • opportunities for group creation • ‘granular’ access controls • communications tools (e.g. email, IM, a “wall”) • document upload facilities (e.g. videos, pictures) • third-party applications (e.g. wikis, games)

growing mismatch between students’ digitextual practices … and traditional academic literacies

Features of One Community: • KU installation of Elgg open source software • profile pages • communities (i.e. user-created groups) • blog • document upload facilities (e.g. videos, pictures) • ‘presentation’ tool • ‘granular’ access controls

Other HEIs using Elgg • Brighton University • Coventry University • University of the Highlands and Islands • University of Leeds • Westminster University

Uses of One Community • blogging (individual or group, research diary etc.) • e-portfolio development tool • peer-assisted learning initiatives • student-staff consultative committees •student societies • VLE alternative? (e.g. Stalin and Stalinism)

Final thoughts (1) ... VLEs were originally designed within the broadcast phase of technology, in that, like television and radio, they tend to be unidirectional (a small number of producers, too many consumers). [...] the identities encouraged by VLEs derive from a protectionist view of the university as the centre and controller of knowledge production. pp.122-3 Cousin, G. (2005) 'Learning from cyberspace' in Ray Land & Sian Bayne (eds) Education in cyberspace. London: RoutledgeFalmer. pp. 117-129

Final thoughts (2) It [the VLE] seeks to realise the principles of hierarchy, control and centralisation – the traditional classroom made virtual. This approach won’t help educators understand the new challenges and opportunities they are now facing. Weller, M (June 16, 2008). SocialLearn: Bridging the Gap Between Web 2.0 and Higher Education. Accessed from: higher-education/

further reading Further reading Benkler, Y. (2006). The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom New Haven and London: Yale University Press. boyd, d. & Ellison, N.B. (2008). Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13 pp.210-230 Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook friends: Social capital and college students' use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4). Gee, J.P. (2004) Situated Language and Learning: a critique of traditional schooling. London: Routledge Mazer, J. P., Murphy, R. E., & Simonds, C. J. (2007). I'll see you on Facebook: The effects of computer-mediated teacher self-disclosure on student motivation, affective learning, and classroom climate. Communication Education, 56 (1) pp.1-17. Merchant, G. (2006). Identity, Social Networks and Online Communication. E-Learning, 3(2) pp.235-244 Selwyn, N. (2007). Screw Blackboard... do it on Facebook! an investigation of students' educational use of Facebook. Paper presented to Poke 1.0 – Facebook social research symposium, November. Stutzman, F. (2005). Our Lives, our Facebooks.

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