Learning and teaching with social software

From Wikiversity

General information[edit]

Course load: 4,5 EAP (1 EAP = 27 hour work), 100% web-based, face-to-face meetings can be negotiated if needed

Course environment: Course environment consists of a course wiki for static information, a tutor's Weblog for weekly information, a forum for discussions and other social media tools and services (will be specified later in collaboration with participants). Every participant is required to create his/her own personal Weblog.

The course „Learning and teaching with social software“ is a fully web-based course and built up as weekly modules. During the course a course Wiki and tutor's Weblog are the main environments. The course Wiki provides general information about the course timeline and its tasks. The tutor's Weblog provides more specific and detailed information about the course topics, material and tasks that have to be carried out every week. Furthermore, synchronous audio-video conferences will be organised for all the course participants in the beginning and in the end of the course:

- an introductory meeting with an overview of the course and its tasks given by the course facilitator; introduction of the course participants, questions-answers;

- a concluding meeting with experience sharing and evaluation of the activities and the overall course.

More synchronous audio-video conferences or synchronous chat meetings can be organised depending on the need and requests from the participants. For audio-video conferences a tool called Flashmeeting will be used, for chat meetings Skype. Time for synchronous audio-video meetings will be chosen together with the course participants. The facilitator of this course offer two options in the second week and two options in the 11th week.

During the course a web-based forum will be set up to discuss about content specific topics and to encourage discussion among the participants.

Course duration: The course consists of 12 weeks. Participants should spend every week around 10-12 hours on course tasks.

Course registration: Those participants, who would like to get the official certificate of passing the course, should register themselves through the training calendar of the E-Learning Development Centre.

Assessment: The criteria for assessing one’s individual work and participation in the forums is the following: if a person posts to his/her personal Weblog a post or a message to the forum, which is public and available for everybody, it means that he/she is satisified with the post/message at that moment and therefore the task is considered to be completed.

Weekly tasks should be completed by every Sunday evening. Final grade for the individual work will be given by a person him/herself and the facilitator, taking into account that 50% of the individual tasks should be completed.

The criteria for the group work is based on the same rules as inidividual tasks, but on a group level. If a group is going to present their final description of the activity and its tools landscape, it means the group is satisified with the results considering the avalable resources and time for executing the task. Final grade for the group work will be given by a group as a cosensus for their work, by another group and by a facilitator on an equal basis.

Technical requirements for participating: Internet connection, head-sets with the microphone, web-cam (recommended).

Goals of the course[edit]

The aims of the course are:

  • to give an overview of learning and teaching possibilities with the support of various social software applications;
  • to introduce new learning design and teaching methods;
  • to support the advancement of competencies with respect to the use of social software applications.

The main topics of the course:

  • New paradigm of learning and teaching: what has changed and in what way?
  • Distributed learning environments: what is behind this concept?
  • Overview of the different social software applications: what are the social software applications which are freely on the market?
  • Use of social software in education: how can we make use of social software in education?
  • Scenarios of using different social software applications for teaching and learning: what are the examples and possible scenarios for using social software applications?


Facilitators: Terje Väljataga

Target group: lecturers and teachers with innovative thinking, educational technologists, master and PhD students. If you would like to participate in this course, add yourself here

Pre-requisites basic computer skills and basic use of internet

According to the competencies in educational technology: base level competencies


Week 1[edit]

What are we going to talk about in this course?

Topics: Introduction to the course and course topics. Formation of the minimal landscape of tools and services for participating in the course (registration to the course, creation of a personal Weblog).

Material/resources: tutor's Weblog and course Wiki

Tasks: Register to the course on the course Wiki by adding a name and e-mail address, later on add a perosnal Weblog address. Acquaint yourself with the course schedule, topics and tasks. Create a personal Weblog for participating in the course. Write a self-introduction in your personal Weblog. Get to know other participants by checking their personal Weblogs.

Week 2[edit]

What is the role of a learning environment in a learning process?

Topics: The importance of a learning environment in a learning process. Who should create a learning environment? What is a good learning environment? Overview of different learning environments.

Material/resources: articles as pdf files:

• Wilson, B. G. (1995). Metaphors for instruction: Why we talk about learning environments. Educational Technology, 35(5), 25-30.

• Jonassen, D. (1999). Designing constructivist learning environments. In C. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional Design Theories and Models (pp. 215-239). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

• Dolog, P., Henze, N., Nejdl, W. (2004). Personalization in distributed e-learning environments. Proceedings of the 13th international World Wide Web conference on Alternate track papers & posters table of contents New York, NY, USA.

• Sintek, M. (?). Aspects of effective learning environments.

• Bennet, S. (2006). First questions for designing higher education learning spaces. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Volume 33, Number 1, pages 14–26.

• Ellis, A.E. (2006). Personality type and learning environments: two case studies. Proceedings of the 23rd annual ascilite conference: Who’s learning? Whose technology?

Tasks: Share your ideas about the importance of a learning environment in the course forum. Vote in Doodle poll for the most suitable time for participating in audio-video conference. Participate in one of the synchronous audio-video meetings.

Week 3[edit]

What are good and bad sides of the current learning environments?

Topics: Analysis of current learning environments and learning management systems from the perspectives of a learner and a teacher.

Material/resources: articles as pdf files

• Panel discussion: Open complementing closed - PLE and LMS - why, what for and how? (http://kt.flexiblelearning.net.au/tkt2007/edition-13/open-complementing-closed-ple-and-lms-why-what-for-and-how/)

• Britain, S., Liber, O. (1999). Evaluation of virtual learning environments.

• Wilson, S., Liber, O., Johnson, M., Beauvoir, P., Sharples, P., Milligan, C. (2006). Personal Learning Environments: Challenging the dominant design of educational systems.

Tasks: Think about your previous learning or teaching experiences with learning management systems and describe your personal challenges and benefits in this environment? Is there any functionalities you miss in your learning/teaching process? Present your experiences in your personal Weblog. Read and comment other participants experiences in their personal Weblogs.

Week 4[edit]

What is social software and why would we want to use it for learning and teaching?

Topics: The concept of Web2.0 and social software. Different social software application types. Comparison of social software and learning management systems. Advantages and disadvantages of social software tools and services in education

Material/resources: articles as pdf files

• Bartlett-Bragg, A. (2007). Reflections on pedagogy: Reframing practice to foster informal learning with social software.

• Dron, J. (2007). Designing the undesignable: social software and control.

• Evans, V. (2007). Networks, connections and community: learning with social software.

• Mejias, U. (2005). Nomdas guide to learning and social software.

• Owen, M. et al. (2006). Social software and learning.

• Kamel Boulos, M., Wheeler, S. (2007). The emerging Web 2.0 social software: an enabling suite of sociable technologiesin health and health care education.

• Ebner, M. et al. (2007). Web 2.0 technology: future interfaces for technology enhanced learning?

• Anderson, P. (2007). What is Web 2.0? ideas, technologies and implications for education.

Tasks: Read some of the learning materials. Form groups and start thinking about the situation/activity that you would want to support with social software applications. Create a common group environment. Participate in the forum sharing your opinion about closed or open systems in education?

Week 5[edit]

How can we make use of social software applications in education?

Topics: Possible scenarious of the use of different social software applications in education. Positive and negative aspects of different social software tools and services. Pedagogical values of the social software tools and services.

Material/resources: articles as pdf files and collected by the participants

• Duffy, P., Bruns, A. (2006). The use of blogs, wikis and RSS in education: a conversation of possibilities

• Bryant, L. (2007). Emerging trends in social software for education

• Klamma, R. et al. (2007). Social software for life-long learning

• Parker, K., Chao, J. (2007). Wiki as a teaching tool

• Cobb, J. (2008). Learning 2.0 for associations

Tasks: Try to find couple of examples/scenarious of how social software applications have been used in eudcation or think of one by yourself. Present this in your personal Weblog. In your group space describe your chosen teaching/learning activity that you would want to support with social software applications.

Week 6[edit]

How does the use of social software affect current learning and teaching practices? Do we need new pedagogical models, new approaches while making use of social software in education?

Topics: New pedagogical models and approaches while using social software applications in education. Critics to traditional instructional design. Alternative models and approaches. Social networks, community.

Material/resources: articles as pdf files

• Seitzinger, J. (2006). Be constructive: blogs, podcasts and wikis as constructivist learning tools

• McLoughlin, C., Lee, M. (2007). Social software and participatory learning: pedagogical choices with technology affordances in the Web 2.0 era

• Alexander, B. (2006). A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning?

• Downes, S. (2006). Learning networks and connective knowledge

• Niels Keijzer, C., Engel, P. (2006). Networking for learning: the human face of knowledge management?

Tasks: Read some of the materials and reflect on this week‘s questions in the course forum. In groups describe your „pedagogical thinking“ behind your chosen teaching/learning situation.

Week 7[edit]

How do the roles of teachers and students change while supporting teaching and learning activities with social software applications?

Topics: Facilitators roles, students roles. Facilitators tasks and responsibilities. Self-direction, cross-cultural collaboration as important competencies. Students tasks and responsibilities.

Material/resources: articles as pdf files

• Frand, J. (2006). The information age mindset. Changes in students and implications for higher education

• Gilbert, C. (2006). Teaching and learning in 2020

• Siemens, G. (2006). Learning in synch with life: new models, new processes

• Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants

• Siemens, G. (2008). Learning and knowing in networks: changing for educators and designers

Tasks: Read some of the course material and reflect on your personal Weblog the changes of roles in education. Describe the roles of actors in your group activity.

Week 8[edit]

Which tools and services are freely on the market? What are good and what are less good tools and services?

Topics: Different types of social software applications. Their benefits and drawbacks from pedagogical point of view.

Material/resources: created by the participants, websites with the links of different social software applications.

List of social software applications: http://www.web20searchengine.com/web20/web-2.0-list.htm http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/Directory/index.html

• Berlanga, A. et al. (2007). Functionality for learning networks: lessons learned form social web applications

• Anderson, T. (2005). Distance learning – socail software’s killer ap?

• Lamb, B. (2004). Wide open spaces. Wikis ready or not

Tasks: Choose one of the social software groups and test couple of tools in this group. Make report in your personal Weblog about what are good and bad sides of these tools and what would you recommend to use and why. What is the pedagogical value of a particlar tool? How to use this tool in education?

Week 9[edit]

How to combine and connect different social software tools and services?

Topics: RSS feeds, RSS readers, agregaatorlehed.

Material/resources: articles as pdf files, websites

Wikipedia page about RSS feeds: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS

Wikipedia page about agregators: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feed_reader

Tasks: In groups choose social software application(s) that you think might support your teaching/learning activity.

Week 10[edit]

What are the threats and challenges as well as benefits of using social software?

Topics: creative commons licences, copyright issues, publicity, management of tools landscape, logging problems.

Material/resources: articles as pdf files, websites

Creative commons website: http://creativecommons.org/ Wikipedia website about creative commons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_commons

Tasks: In groups choose a suitable creative commons licence to your work. Read some of the materials and participate in the course forum to discuss about some of the issues (the challenges and benefits of using social software).

Week 11[edit]

What have we created during this course?

Topics: Group work, presentation of the group work, peer assessment.

Material/resources: created by the participants

Tasks: finalising and presenting group work in common group space. Peer- assessment in group work space. Vote in Doodle poll for the most suitable time for participating in audio-video conference. Participate in one of the synchronous audio-video meetings.

Week 12[edit]

Did I learn something from this course? What have I gained from this course?

Topics: Learning reflection

Material/resources: the participants own learning experiences, group and personal environments

Tasks: Reflect on your own learning during this course. Present your reflection as an essay in your personal Weblog. Include self-assessment elements to your essay. Choose one of the group works and write a short evaluation report indicating if that particular group has completed their task.


Course preparation was supported by the Estonian Information Technology Foundation by the program Primus.