JISC study on Web 2.0 Content Sharing for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

June 22, 2007

The final report on Web 2.0 Content Sharing for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education is available on the JISC web site at … http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/programmes/digital_repo

The report provides a brief definition of Web 2.0 and exemplars of
institutional practice in the supply of Web 2.0 services. The report
then provides discussions of content creation and sharing via Web 2.0
services, the use of Web 2.0 in learning, teaching and assessment, and
Web 2.0 concerns and issues for HEI strategy and policy.

Some issues:

1. Short web 2.0 tool type descriptions (usable for example in teaching the issues)

2. Institutional practice (cases from Warwick, Leeds, Brighton, Edinburgh)

The University of Warwick was one of the earliest to offer Web 2.0 services at the institutional level, and has been offering all its students personal blogs since October 2004

The University of Leeds was one of the earliest to introduce a virtual learning environment (VLE), building their own open source system called Bodington.  Training sessions and workshops identifying good practice in using Web 2.0 tools in learning and teaching have been very popular with staff. In contrast to the Warwick model, the blogging tools were not promoted directly to students. By promoting the tools directly to staff before student use, subsequent use has been focussed on delivering new ways of teaching and new ways of disseminating information within the institution. The students who are active on the Leeds blogs are doing so as part of a module or programme of study and have found the blogs via recommendation from their teachers.

The University of Brighton implemented Elgg across the University in September 2006, integrating it with their existing systems. While all staff and students have accounts only a small proportion of accounts are active: These have grown from around 0.2% of all accounts by the end of November 2006 (soon after implementation), to about 4.5% in May 2007.

The University of Edinburgh is, as far as we are aware, the only university in the UK to have a Web 2.0 strategy. This strategy is also supported by an action plan.  The strategy recommends the establishment of appropriate infrastructure to facilitate greater use of Web 2.0 tools, and fostering their take-up by “leading by example”.

Use blogs and RSS feeds instead of newsletters – e.g. the internal Information Services staff newsletter, the MLRP project updates, the EUCLID newsletter, the proposed University Web Development Project newsletter.
Make use of Web 2.0 mapping technologies such as Google Maps to supplement or replace the online versions of the University campus maps. This would enable directions to be generated automatically.
Use social bookmarking technologies such as del.icio.us to manage course reading lists, perhaps in a collaborative way so that students can benefit from others’ discoveries of relevant material. Link the service with Library resources and WebCT. Social bookmarking can support development projects and research projects, allowing an information resource base to be constructed in a collaborative way
Provide podcasts of public lectures (honorary graduates, inaugural lectures, high-profile special events), which can be downloaded after the event from the relevant part of the University’s website. (Webcasts are also possible and do take place, but require considerable staff effort, and cannot be downloaded to a portable player.)
Provide podcasts as part of support materials – e.g. a podcast tour of major University services or buildings (such as the Main Library).
Use services such as Frappr to help build a sense of community amongst international postgraduate students prior to arrival

3. Web 2.0 content (eg. contentsharing, owneship, control, versioning, integration, hosting)

Which of these environments (VLE, portal, portfolio) should the web 2.0 tools be integrated with?
Should universities support more than one set of web 2.0 tools (ie. one within the VLE and one for other purposes)?
If the tools lie outside the VLE then how are they integrated with the other tools within the VLE? 
If they lie within the VLE how are they integrated with other aspects of the university and university life?
Do similar questions arise for portals and e-portfolios?

4. Assessment in web 2.0

As the opportunities afforded by Web 2.0 become better understood it likely that universities will have to revisit their learning, teaching and assessment strategies to ensure that they take account of new possibilities and enable new approaches to incorporated.  This may be particularly complex where there are external validating bodies (such as learned) societies, and it will be important that they are appraised of the implications of Web 2.0 for learning, teaching and assessment.

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  1. […] JISC study on Web 2.0 Content Sharing for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education […]

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