Living, Working, Teaching and Learning by Social Software

Living, Working, Teaching and Learning by Social Software

Helen Keegan (University of Salford, UK) and Bernard Lisewski (University of Salford, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-208-4.ch015
OnDemand PDF Download:
$37.50

Abstract

This chapter explores emergent behaviours in the use of social software across multiple online communities of practice where informal learning occurs beyond traditional higher education (HE) institutional boundaries. Employing a combination of research literature, personal experience and direct observation, the authors investigate the blurring of boundaries between work/home/play as a result of increased connectivity and hyper availability in the “information age”. Exploring the potentially disruptive nature of new media, social software and social networking practices, the authors ask what coping strategies are employed by the individual as their online social networks and learning communities increase in number and density? What are the implications for the identity and role of the tutor in online HE learning environments characterised by multiple platforms and fora? The authors conclude by posing a series of challenges for the HE sector and its participants in engaging with social software and social networking technologies.
Chapter Preview

Abstract

This chapter explores emergent behaviours in the use of social software across multiple online communities of practice where informal learning occurs beyond traditional higher education (HE) institutional boundaries. Employing a combination of research literature, personal experience and direct observation, the authors investigate the blurring of boundaries between work/home/play as a result of increased connectivity and hyper availability in the “information age”. Exploring the potentially disruptive nature of new media, social software and social networking practices, the authors ask what coping strategies are employed by the individual as their online social networks and learning communities increase in number and density? What are the implications for the identity and role of the tutor in online HE learning environments characterised by multiple platforms and fora? The authors conclude by posing a series of challenges for the HE sector and its participants in engaging with social software and social networking technologies.

Wholly new forms of encyclopaedias will appear, ready-made with a mesh of associative trails running through them… there is a new profession of trailblazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record. The inheritance from the master becomes, not only his additions to the world record, but for his disciples the entire scaffolding by which they were erected….

–Vannevar Bush (1945)

Top

Introduction

Online social networking is to some extent a cultural phenomenon. As emerging social web-based technologies are being explored and adopted by educators and learners, we are beginning to witness the emergence of new forms of cooperation and collaboration across boundaries of time and space. Much learning takes place beyond institutional boundaries, instead through social interaction across multiple online ‘communities of practice’ which Wenger, McDermott and Snyder (2002: 4) define as ‘groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis’. The speed with which information is produced and accessed in an increasingly networked society, and the ease with which communications can take place across multiple platforms and fora, give rise to what Barnett (2000) refers to as ‘supercomplexity’ where the professional judgement of HE teachers involves using multiple data sources, and often conflictual decision-making choices. The vast amount of information available online, and the ease and speed with which learners and tutors can communicate in the co-construction of knowledge, both require productive boundary making processes in order to lessen the risk of information and communication overload. Alongside the inherent tensions of informal learning taking place across online social platforms which stand apart from the formalised structures of traditional institutions, questions are often raised regarding the authority of knowledge and the legitimacy of participants. These challenges require learners and tutors to demonstrate ongoing reflexivity in terms of the practice of educational interaction in dynamically changing environments and constantly changing information sources.

The use of social software in higher education, such as blogs, wikis and social networking services, has seen a surge in the number of active online learning communities and networks for both staff and students, where members are easily connected and engaging in the social construction of knowledge. Much learning is decentralised (the individual being the locus of control as opposed to the HE institution) and often informal in the sense that it is not prescribed or assessed. There is a resulting tension between the informal or ‘feral’ nature of social software-enabled learning webs, and the formal teaching accountability of HE institutions in terms of ‘what is learned’ and the respective assessment practices.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Boundary Crossing: Different forms of interaction among people from different communities of practice.

Social Networking: Joining and participating in interconnected Internet communities (sometimes known as personal networks).

Reflexivity: The recurring examination and formation of self identity and social practices within a social environment of ever changing information.

Information Overload: When an individual is faced with more information than can be processed with available time and resources.

Communities of Practice: Organic developments composed of social and informal learning processes which revolve around joint enterprise, mutual engagement and produce a shared understanding and repertoire of communal meaning and resources.

Social Software: Web-based applications which are characterised by personal publishing and the sharing and remixing of user-generated content (commonly referred to as ‘Web 2.0’).

Blogs: Shortened term (weblogs) describing online journals displayed in reverse chronological order.

Boundaries: Practice boundaries are the ‘edges’ of communities of practice which can be fluid and fuzzy but offer the point of contact with other practice communities and provide lines of distinction between membership and non-membership.

Brokering: Those who are able to make connections and move knowledge across different practice communities by for example, introducing elements of one practice into another.

Ontological Security: An individual’s sense of order, security and continuity within a rapidly changing perceived environment.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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?
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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"
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
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
$37.50
About the Editors
About the Contributors