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THE USE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING BY STUDENTS AND STAFF IN HIGHER EDUCATION Gunter Saunders THE USE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING BY STUDENTS AND STAFF IN HIGHER EDUCATION Gunter Saunders and Federica Oradini Online Learning Development

The University of Westminster Context • • • 22, 000 students Many international, mature 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

Connect Democratic but still governed by rules User led Normally not linked to assessment Connect Democratic but still governed by rules User led Normally not linked to assessment Facilitates community building

Introduction to Connect Introduction to Connect

Factors Driving Development • Supporting students prior to arrival • Students’ Union – Clubs, 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

What is Connect? • Send messages to your friends • Customise the look and What is Connect? • Send messages to your friends • Customise the look and feel • Create your profile, add your • Add friends to your site and communities of your site picture and your interests • Find people with common interests • Create Private and Public communities • Publish content through the blog tool Create Presentations (e. Portfolios)

How has Connect been used? • Communities – Based around interests e. g. Film, 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

Student versus staff use of Connect • Staff – – Fewer staff kept blogs 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

Student views • Students positive about Connect: – Saw Connect serving a different purpose 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

Student videos Student videos

Staff views • Large majority believe it can help students to build a community 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

Staff videos Staff videos

Future Vision Future Vision

is Westminster’s online social network where you can make friends, find out the latest 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. wmin. ac. uk and log-on using your University username and password. http: //connect. wmin. ac. uk Photo used under a Creative Commons licence. http: //flickr. com/photos/throughhislens/508671414