Somewhat off topic for educational technology, although if the context for teaching and learning is not right, then there is a lot of distraction from the core business. And we are experiencing a lot of distraction.
Most students at the University of Amsterdam are familiar with online social media platforms. Especially Facebook is very popular amongst students. Unfortunately, educational platforms used at the UvA, like Blackboard, are not (yet) capable of using the advantages of this social network. This motivated the ICTO Social Sciences team to support a Grassroots project that was initiated to experiment with social media for educational purposes. The results of this experiment showed a preference for using Facebook amongst both students and teachers. For another course the ICTO team was consulted how to use Facebook, and it was heavily used during this course. Student evaluations on this project are currently being done.
Unfortunately, the use of Facebook in Social Sciences at UvA has been fragmented and non transparent. The ICTO team started a project to clarify the use of Facebook in education and how it can be used in the future. First, experiences of using Facebook at UvA and other universities will be mapped concisely. Second, ICTO will research the personal experiences of both teachers and students within Social Sciences at the UvA.
The goal of this exercise is twofold. First, we would like to advise the Board of Studies within Social Sciences about the use of Facebook in education, and whether it has an added value. Second, we would like to make a ‘Do’s-and-Don’ts-list’ for teachers to help avoid the most common pitfalls. Hopefully we will be able to make an improvement to the experience of education in the Social Sciences at UvA using Facebook.
The results of this project will be published on this website when the research has been completed.