Using Blackboard, Social Networking to Support Student Learning
Collaborating in other spaces
Project lead(s)
Alison explains in her case study how using a social network group like Facebook alongside Blackboard has supported informal discussions as part of the simulation exercise as part of the assessment for the module, POLI2003
download_smallRead the case study in full
Using Blackboard and Social Networking to Support Student Learning
Dr Alison Statham
Leicester Business School
Faculty of Business and Law
• In Alison’s view Blackboard does not enable students to establish a sense of community or ownership of the assessment. “This is problematic as students are expected to set the agenda for discussion during the simulation excercise. It is also counter to my own underlying philosophy of empowering students as shapers of academic debate rather than mere observers or commentators. This has led me to consider less formal mechanisms by which to establish that sense of community and ownership, in this instance via Facebook
To name just a few:
  • The key benefits of the group were that discussion could take place in an informal
    and relaxed setting, and the group page was easily accessible and navigable.
  • A problem with Facebook is that not all students wish to participate and some do not
    have Facebook profiles. This can lead to concerns about exclusion, and I was
    careful to ensure that any material posted on the group page was cross posted on
  • Not all academics might be prepared to engage with their students in such an informal
    context. Whilst there is no need to befriend a student in order for the group to
    function, the use of social networking can be seen by students to imply 24/7
    availability of staff, so clear guidelines on how and when we reply to student queries
    via this interface need to be established
  • Facebook supplemented the students’ learning well. Participation rates were high,
    and the students stated that they found it a better virtual environment for shared
    learning than Blackboard.
Future Developments
It is my intention to set up Facebook groups for my level six dissertation students and the module, The Politics of Nationalism.
ELT Case Studies
DMU Staff
If you would like to have your eLearning practices captured and disseminated in a similar case study, please contact your Faculty ELT Project Officer