Making Use of Social Networking Infrastructures to Support Educational Content Creation and Usage: The Case of myCourse

Making Use of Social Networking Infrastructures to Support Educational Content Creation and Usage: The Case of myCourse

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0164-2.ch007
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Abstract

This chapter deals with another exciting area: how is it possible to make use of emerging social networking infrastructures to support educational content creation and usage? This chapter presents the case of myCourse, its architecture, and its application. The myCourse Framework (consisting of the myCourse platform, the associated servicee, and business models, as well as relevant tools and technologies) aims to help learners create highly individualised (Web) services to meet their needs, whether for meeting educational, business, or self-development purposes. It also enables dynamically integrate people’s multidimensional profiles and provide a roadmap for creating social networking services to support educational service provision. Finally, myCourse helps exploit the wisdom of the crowds (crowdsourcing) in providing better educational services, while at the same time promoting open innovation and enhancements for educational service providers.
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Introduction

Everybody accepts the enormous success of many social networking services which meet personal needs of friendship (Facebook), concise text-based communication (Twitter), professional networking (LinkedIn), bookmarking (delicious) and sharing videos (YouTube) and pictures (Flickr). The success of these services rests on the fact that the user/client/consumer is able to actively participate in a manner which is of personal benefit to the user, thereby creating value for himself/herself.

The idea that motivated us to proceed with the implementation of the myCourse environment has been to follow on the success of the aforementioned services and create additional value for the individual learner and the wider community, in terms of facilitating the creation, mashing-up, publishing, tagging, using and rating learning services in a simple and user-friendly interface. Whereas Flickr concentrates on pictures and YouTube concentrates on videos, myCourse concentrate on (web) services created for and by users within a given social networking environment of a structured learners’ community (e.g. high school or MBA class, etc.).

In this respect, the aim of myCourse is to provide a social networking platform for developing services which address the personal learning needs of the users and enable them to create value. More specifically, myCourse covers two main types of users using the educational service platform:

  • 1.

    Novice inexperienced users without any technical knowledge or programming expertise. (This first group might be regarded as the ‘students’, though this classification in the context of myCourse is not holding for reasons we show later in the paper.)

  • 2.

    Professional users wanting to promote their own services, either for free or via a chargeback mechanism. (Again, this second group could be regarded as the ‘teachers’, though, same as above, this classification is not correct.)

The myCourse Framework (consisting of the myCourse platform, the associated service and business models, as well as relevant tools and technologies) aims to:

  • Help learners create highly individualised (web) services to meet their needs, whether for meeting educational, business or self-development purposes

  • Dynamically integrate people’s multidimensional profiles

  • Provide a roadmap for creating social networking services to support educational service provision

  • Exploit the wisdom of the crowds (crowdsourcing) in providing better educational services, while at the same time promoting open innovation and enhancements for educational service providers.

Versatility is a central attribute of the myCourse framework, enabling the consumption of services which address needs in a complex and highly distributed networked environment which can be seamlessly integrated with the current web.

The objective is for our framework to be a major driver for large scale exploitation, enabling users to create, share and configure services easily which address theirs and others’ needs, whether for entertainment, information, business or any other area.

The basic idea behind myCourse is not mine: there were three people that worked intensively over a period of time around the concept of what we then called YouService: Ioannis Ignatiadis of Kingston University, UK, Garyfallos Fragidis from the Technological Educational Institute of Serres, Greece, and Stelios Hatzipanagos of King’s College London, UK. With Garyfallos and Ioannis we continued together with a new member this time, Thanasis Giouvanakis from the Technological Educational Institute of Serres, Greece in what was shaped to become the myCourse environment. Our efforts till today have concentrated on the implementation of a prototype to incorporate three use cases (via provision of web services) in the areas of finance, tourism and employment respectively.

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