Here’s a short PDF doc by firstname.lastname@example.org on Using Facebook in Instruction. It’s a little dated as the interface for Facebook and classes/courses app has changed but it’s still worth the peek.
Posts tagged: Facebook
As I promised, here’s an update to my sense of using Facebook (FB) as a course management (CMS) tool. If you don’t know it, in 2007, it appears that FB dropped development of its course management system leaving it to outside developers to improve its functionality and add features. The results in my opinion at this time are mixed.
Teachers or really anyone can add a course in Facebook. Of course, you must have a FB account in order to do so. Your students MUST also be invited to join the class though you could certainly leave it open to the world… Teachers or owners of the class can post assignments, links to other website, post announcements, and even have non-threaded
But unlike other course managment systems, content does not roll over necessarily from one term to the next. This means a teacher would have to complete a pre-course setup each and every term for each course she’s teaching in FB. It appears you can’t even reset dates for assignments in current term if the due date has already arrived. Only UPcoming assignments are visible on the main class/course page though students can search for past assignments. You would have to recreate an assignment if you wanted to change it.
Next, something that teachers generally take for granted is student enrollment. Students are not automatically added to a course. You have to invite them which means they have to have a Facebook account. So plan on helping at least a few of them navigate their way particularly when it comes to restricting who sees what in their profiles. And let’s face
it, most teachers don’t want to be the technical HELP DESK for students when it comes to application support.
My sense is that FB may be more designed for teachers who are adding course materials and activities on the fly. It may still be more suited for social or student activities such as keeping track of former students. I’ll continue to keep an eye on its development but wonder about its viability compared to other CMS. There have a lot of folks reviewing FB as
a teaching tool like Professor Nicole Ellison at Michigan State University-
http://nellison.blogspot.com/2007/12/ecar-facebook-as-teaching-tool.html. Here’s an older review of FB she wrote. It’s a bit dated but still relevant as some of the same issues she raised still exist.
Meanwhile, I’m gonna take a different approach here to see if students are using FB for academic classes in an umprompted manner, i.e., setting up their own informal structures to share course materials, study for classes, set up tutoring sessions, etc. There may be more to it than the obvious. And like before, as I find more, I’ll post it here.
Facebook help link is http://en-gb.facebook.com/help.php
Facebook, like other social networking tools, at this point in time may offer more social uses for networking than instructional uses in the classroom.
Here are some common educational uses:
- as a means of connecting with current and former students
- provide links to content on the WWW or your own content if you create your class via the apps option
- simple communication tools for announcements or non-threaded discussions within your class
- provides the “experience” of multi-user instant messaging with easy integration of users’ resources stored elsewhere in popular public sites like Flickr and YouTube.
If you’re thinking of switching from a learning management system like Blackboard to Facebook, you should know that Facebook offers little control for those teachers who want to constrain when students submit work. Facebook which is more of a Web 2.0-3.0 tool is attractive to those individuals who tend to care less about having clearly defined classroom boundaries or instructional sequences.
From my experience, first-time Facebook users are learning the app more by trial and error than reading the Facebook HELP or the manual (if there were one) before going public. Consequently, they’re likely to GET FRIENDS they hadn’t counted on and may have later trouble separating friends from classmates. But then maybe, that’s the point. Facebook’s POV is to ignore the old Classroom 1.0 structure in favor of a new model that defines a class differently in terms of who’s in the class, how people collaborate in the class, and what even gets learned in the class.
Until then, I’ll have to continue experimenting the rest of the summer with the Facebook classes app to see how it compares with the tools already in place at our college.
More later to come….