Learning together: using social media to foster collaboration in higher education
ABSTRACT This chapter focuses on how social media tools can be used to enhance collaboration in higher education and the benefits and challenges that this can bring. We investigate how two social media tools, social bookmarking, and microblogging, can be utilized to foster collaboration and determine why this is important in contemporary higher education. Case studies of social media use at Bournemouth University show how social bookmarking and microblogging have already yielded benefits.The case studies are grounded in the challenges facing higher education in 2010. We explore how social media has been used in the context of a need to enhance academic excellence and drive efficiencies in the face of funding constraints and changing demographics.The case studies illustrate, first, how social bookmarking has been used to foster group cohesion, reflective practice, and evaluative skills in students, as well as being used at an institutional level to drive professional and administrative efficiencies; and second, how microblogging has made a difference in promoting reflective learning, group cohesion, and professional awareness in students and how this style of social networking has contributed to enhancing academic and professional networks.Whilst the tools, uses, and stakeholders vary, the case studies show how social media has enabled collaboration between, students, academics, librarians, learning technologists, and even professional groups beyond the institution. We conclude that, when used appropriately, social media can facilitate the collaboration that will be essential to overcome the challenges facing higher education.
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ABSTRACT: During the last few years, social media technologies have started to be used for collaborative learning. While most of the case studies reported so far involve a single social media tool or several individual, separate tools, in this paper we advocate the use of an integrated social learning environment, which aggregates several Web 2.0 tools (wiki, blog, microblogging tool, social bookmarking tool, media sharing tools). The platform, called eMUSE, occupies a well defined niche in the landscape of Web 2.0-enhanced learning spaces, providing value-added services for both students and teachers: learner tracking functionality, monitoring and visualization features, grading and evaluation support. A comprehensive rationale underlying eMUSE, a description of the platform architecture and functionalities, as well as an experimental validation in a project-based learning context are provided in the paper.World Wide Web 03/2014; · 1.62 Impact Factor