Bridging the Gap Between Web 2.0 and Higher Education

Bridging the Gap Between Web 2.0 and Higher Education

Martin Weller (The Open University, UK) and James Dalziel (Macquarie University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-208-4.ch030
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Abstract

This chapter looks at some of the areas of tension between the new social networking, Web 2.0 communities and the values of higher education. It argues that both the granularity of formal education and the manner in which the authors formalise learning are subject to change with the advent of digital technologies and user generated content. The gap between higher education and Web 2.0 could be bridged by, amongst other approaches, a sort of flickr for learning design, which allows users to share activities and sequences, thus meeting the diverse needs of learners and utilising the best of social networking approaches.
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Abstract

This chapter looks at some of the areas of tension between the new social networking, Web 2.0 communities and the values of higher education. It argues that both the granularity of formal education and the manner in which the authors formalise learning are subject to change with the advent of digital technologies and user generated content. The gap between higher education and Web 2.0 could be bridged by, amongst other approaches, a sort of flickr for learning design, which allows users to share activities and sequences, thus meeting the diverse needs of learners and utilising the best of social networking approaches.

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Introduction

The rise of internet technologies that can be grouped under the web 2.0 heading has generated a good deal of interest in education, as witnessed by the number of conferences that now have web 2.0 or related approaches as a main theme, the number of educational technology bloggers, and the interest of commercial web 2.0 start-up companies such as TeachThePeople.com.

This is because the popularity of sites such as flickr, facebook, MySpace, wikipedia, etc is interesting of itself, in terms of what drives users to these sites and why they keep returning. But more significantly it is their potential as tools to facilitate learning that has caused much discussion. Their implications for learning can be summarised as:

  • Technology – with most universities now possessing a virtual learning environment (VLE) (OECD 2004, Barro and Burillo, 2006), the extent to which some of the technologies could form a learning environment has been discussed. For example Downes (2007) highlights Facebook’s educational heritage, and Kemp and Livingstone (2006) have integrated the virtual world SecondLife with the Moodle VLE.

  • User generated content – wikipedia is the most famous example, but through formats such as blogs, podcasts, vlogs, wikis, slideshare (shared presentations), splashcasts (video clips that combine different media formats), screencasts (slideshows with synchronised audio), and webcasts there is a good deal of material that is both useful for students, and is generated by them.

  • Pedagogy – learning as it occurs in web 2.0 communities tends to be informal, and socially oriented. If we look at open source software communities as an example of where learning takes place in such communities there are a number of differences with higher education. For example, these communities are very flexible where roles are not stagnant. Although hierarchies and formalised roles exist, they are not as rigid, with advancement or promotion through meritocracy, with a selection of individuals earning the right to make decisions based on merit or past contributions. A number of researchers, such as Bacon & Dillon (2006) have suggested that open source communities might serve as an example for future educational structures and processes.

  • Content and resources – there are a variety of educational sites offering a range of resources. These include open educational resource repositories such as MITs OpenCourseWare and the Open University’s Openlearn project, and also audio and video lectures and talks through providers such as iTunesU. Students thus have access to a wide diversity of high quality material to supplement their studies.

  • Philosophy – this is probably the most significant, and one we will explore further below. There is a fundamental difference between the principles that the web 2.0 world enshrines and those within higher education. At its simplest this can be summarised as bottom up versus top down.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Foreword
Jennifer Preece
Acknowledgment
Stylianos Hatzipanagos, Steven Warburton
Chapter 1
Jon Dron, Terry Anderson
Understanding the affordances, effectiveness and applicability of new media in multiple contexts is usually a slow and evolving process with many... Sample PDF
How the Crowd Can Teach
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Chapter 2
Chris Abbott, William Alder
Although social networking has been enthusiastically embraced by large numbers of children and young people, their schools and colleges have been... Sample PDF
Social Networking and Schools: Early Responses and Implications for Practice
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Chapter 3
Eleni Berki, Mikko Jäkälä
Information and communication technology gradually transform virtual communities to active meeting places for sharing information and for supporting... Sample PDF
Cyber-Identities and Social Life in Cyberspace
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Chapter 4
Werner Beuschel
Weblogs are a popular form of Social Software, supporting personal Web authoring as well as innovative forms of social interaction via internet. The... Sample PDF
Weblogs in Higher Education
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Chapter 5
Mark Bilandzic, Marcus Foth
Web services such as wikis, blogs, podcasting, file sharing and social networking are frequently referred to by the term Web 2.0. The innovation of... Sample PDF
Social Navigation and Local Folksonomies: Technical and Design Considerations for a Mobile Information System
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Chapter 6
Rakesh Biswas, Carmel M. Martin, Joachim Sturmberg, Kamalika Mukherji, Edwin Wen Huo Lee, Shashikiran Umakanth
The chapter starts from the premise that illness and healthcare are predominantly social phenomena that shape the perspectives of key stakeholders... Sample PDF
Social Cognitive Ontology and User Driven Healthcare
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Chapter 7
Jillianne R. Code, Nicholas E. Zaparyniuk
Central to research in social psychology is the means in which communities form, attract new members, and develop over time. Research has found that... Sample PDF
Social Identities, Group Formation, and the Analysis of Online Communities
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Chapter 8
Jillianne R. Code, Nicholas E. Zaparyniuk
Social and group interactions in online and virtual communities develop and evolve from expressions of human agency. The exploration of the... Sample PDF
The Emergence of Agency in Online Social Networks
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Chapter 9
A. Malizia, A. De Angeli, S. Levialdi, I. Aedo Cuevas
The User Experience (UX) is a crucial factor for designing and enhancing the user satisfaction when interacting with a computational tool or with a... Sample PDF
Exploiting Collaborative Tagging Systems to Unveil the User-Experience of Web Contents: An Operative Proposal
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Chapter 10
Utpal M. Dholakia, Richard Baraniuk
Open Education Programs provide a range of digitized educational resources freely to educators, students, and self-learners to use and reuse for... Sample PDF
The Roles of Social Networks and Communities in Open Education Programs
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Chapter 11
Sebastian Fiedler, Kai Pata
This chapter discusses how the construction of an adequate design and intervention framework for distributed learning environments might be... Sample PDF
Distributed Learning Environments and Social Software: In Search for a Framework of Design
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Chapter 12
Yoni Ryan, Robert Fitzgerald
This chapter considers the potential of social software to support learning in higher education. It outlines a current project funded by the then... Sample PDF
Exploring the Role of Social Software in Higher Education
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Chapter 13
Kathryn Gow
This chapter focuses on the identification of a range of competencies that entry level workers, and thus graduating students, will need to acquire... Sample PDF
Identifying New Virtual Competencies for the Digital Age: Essential Tools for Entry Level Workers
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Chapter 14
Jerald Hughes, Scott Robinson
This chapter examines interaction-oriented virtual religious communities online in the light of sociological theory of religious communities. The... Sample PDF
Social Structures of Online Religious Communities
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Chapter 15
Helen Keegan, Bernard Lisewski
This chapter explores emergent behaviours in the use of social software across multiple online communities of practice where informal learning... Sample PDF
Living, Working, Teaching and Learning by Social Software
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Chapter 16
Lucinda Kerawalla, Shailey Minocha, Gill Kirkup, Gráinne Conole
With a variety of asynchronous communication and collaboration tools and environments such as Wikis, blogs, and forums, it can be increasingly... Sample PDF
Supporting Student Blogging in Higher Education
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Chapter 17
Lisa Kervin, Jessica Mantei, Anthony Herrington
This chapter examines blogging as a social networking tool to engage final year preservice teachers in reflective processes. Using a developed Web... Sample PDF
Blogs as a Social Networking Tool to Build Community
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Chapter 18
Jennifer Ann Linder-VanBerschot
The objective of this chapter is to introduce a model that outlines the evolution of knowledge and sustainable innovation of community through the... Sample PDF
A Model for Knowledge and Innovation in Online Education
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Chapter 19
Petros Lameras, Iraklis Paraskakis, Philipa Levy
This chapter focuses on discussing the use of social software from a social constructivist perspective. In particular, the chapter explains how... Sample PDF
Using Social Software for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
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Chapter 20
Dimitris Bibikas, Iraklis Paraskakis, Alexandros G. Psychogios, Ana C. Vasconcelos
The aim of this chapter is to investigate the potential role of social software inside business settings in integrating knowledge exploitation and... Sample PDF
The Potential of Enterprise Social Software in Integrating Exploitative and Explorative Knowledge Strategies
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Chapter 21
M. C. Pettenati, M. E. Cigognini, E. M.C. Guerin, G. R. Mangione
In this chapter the authors identify the Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) pre-dispositions, skills and competences of the current effective... Sample PDF
Personal Knowledge Management Skills for Lifelong-Learners 2.0
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Chapter 22
Sharon Markless, David Streatfield
This chapter questions whether the shift from the Web as a vehicle for storing and transmitting information to the new Web as a series of social... Sample PDF
Reconceptualising Information Literacy for the Web 2.0 Environment?
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Chapter 23
Catherine McLoughlin, Mark J.W. Lee
Learning management systems (LMS’s) that cater for geographically dispersed learners have been widely available for a number of years, but many... Sample PDF
Pedagogical Responses to Social Software in Universities
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Chapter 24
Alexandra Okada, Simon Buckingham Shum, Michelle Bachler, Eleftheria Tomadaki, Peter Scott, Alex Little, Marc Eisenstadt
The aim of this chapter is to overview the ways in which knowledge media technologies create opportunities for social learning. The Open Content... Sample PDF
Knowledge Media Tools to Foster Social Learning
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Chapter 25
Luc Pauwels, Patricia Hellriegel
This chapter looks into YouTube as one of the most popular Social Software platforms, challenging the dominant discourse with its focus on community... Sample PDF
A Critical Cultural Reading of "YouTube"
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Chapter 26
Ismael Peña-López
The author of this chapter proposes the concept of the Personal Research Portal (PRP) – a mesh of social software applications to manage knowledge... Sample PDF
The Personal Research Portal
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Chapter 27
Andrew Ravenscroft, Musbah Sagar, Enzian Baur, Peter Oriogun
This chapter will present a new approach to designing learning interactions and experiences that reconciles relatively stable learning processes... Sample PDF
Ambient Pedagogies, Meaningful Learning and Social Software
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Chapter 28
V. Sachdev, S. Nerur, J. T.C. Teng
With the trend towards social interaction over the Internet and the mushrooming of Web sites such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube in the social... Sample PDF
Interactivity Redefined for the Social Web
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Chapter 29
Sue Thomas, Chris Joseph, Jess Laccetti, Bruce Mason, Simon Perril, Kate Pullinger
Transliteracy might provide a unifying perspective on what it means to be literate in the 21st Century. It is not a new behaviour but has been... Sample PDF
Transliteracy as a Unifying Perspective
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Chapter 30
Martin Weller, James Dalziel
This chapter looks at some of the areas of tension between the new social networking, Web 2.0 communities and the values of higher education. It... Sample PDF
Bridging the Gap Between Web 2.0 and Higher Education
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Chapter 31
Steve Wheeler
The use of group oriented software, or groupware, encourages students to generate their own content (McGill et al, 2005) and can foster supportive... Sample PDF
Destructive Creativity on the Social Web: Learning through Wikis in Higher Education
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Chapter 32
Scott Wilson
This chapter describes the mechanisms of presence in social networks and presents an ontology that frames the purpose, content, methods of... Sample PDF
Presence in Social Networks
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