Wednesday, May 20, 2009

InSITE-Connect: A Model For Dynamic Interdisciplinary Interaction


After my return from Ireland, where I will deliver four (4) keynote presentations titled

The Paradigms They Are A-Changin' > The Future Of Research And Scholarship: Open / Semantic / Social / Mobile


I will travel to Macon, Georgia to give the keynote at InSite 2009: Informing Science + IT Education Joint Conference on June 13 2009


Proceedings Available At

[] (06-16-09)


InSITE-Connect: A Model For Dynamic Interdisciplinary Interaction


As prominently stated on its homepage, the Informing Science Institute is “an organization of colleagues helping colleagues … [that] draw[s] together people … who teach, research, and use information technologies to inform clients … [and who] share their knowledge with others,” regardless of [their respective] disciplines [].

While its meetings and publications provide opportunities to communicate, current and emerging online technologies have the potential of facilitating greater collaboration between and among scholars and their publics, regardless of location, time, or academic focus.

In this presentation, we will provide an overview of select online professional and social networks, and describe the features and functionalities that can foster more dynamic interaction within the diverse InSITE communities. The presentation will conclude with a demonstration of a proposed online professional network.



PowerPoint Of Original KeyNote Presentation (91 Slides) Is Now Available At

[] (06-20-09)

A Director's Cut Version (117) Slides Is Available At

[] (06-20-09)

I Would Like To Thank Eli Cohen, Director and Fellow, Informing Science Institute, and Alex Koohang, Dean and Professor, School of Information Technology, Macon State College, for their kind invitation and support to KeyNote at InSite 2009.

I Am Greatly Interested In Learning Of Exemplar Professional / Organizational /Society Social Networks Sites To Profile In This Presentation.

IMHO One Of The Best Exemplar Professional Online Social Networks Is The Recently Established Ning-Based Conversants Conference/Conversation That Is Devoted To Participatory Librarianship [] .

Please submit your recommendation as a Comment on this blog entry.



Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Study on the Effective Use of Social Software by Further and Higher Education in the UK

A Study on the Effective Use of Social Software by Further and Higher Education in the UK to Support Student Learning and Engagement (Final Report) / 115 pp.

Date uploaded > 02 February 2009 > Shailey Minocha

Shailey Minocha / January 2009 / Department of Computing /
The Open University / Walton Hall / Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK

Executive Summary

The term ‘social software’ covers a range of software tools which allow users tointeract and share data with other users, primarily via the web. Blogs, wikis, socialnetworking websites, such as Facebook and Flickr, and social bookmarking sites,such as Delicious, are examples of some of the tools that are being used to shareand collaborate in educational, social, and business contexts. The key aspect of asocial software tool is that it involves wider participation in the creation of informationwhich is shared.

This study examined the use of social software in the UK further and highereducation sectors to collect evidence of the effective use of social software inenhancing student learning and engagement. In this study, data from 26 initiatives,where social software tools have been employed, has been collected, analysed andsynthesised. The cases chosen give a spread of tools, subject areas, contexts (parttime,full-time or distance learning), levels of study, and institutions (higher andfurther education). A case study methodology was followed and both educators andstudents were interviewed to find out what they had done, how well it had worked,and what they had learned from the experiences.

This study provides insights about the: educational goals of using social softwaretools; enablers or drivers within the institution, or from external sources whichpositively influence the adoption of social software; benefits to the students,educators and institutions; challenges that may influence a social software initiative;and issues that need to be considered in a social software initiative.Our investigations have shown that social software tools support a variety of ways oflearning: sharing of resources (eg bookmarks, photographs), collaborative learning,problem-based and inquiry-based learning, reflective learning, and peer-to-peerlearning. Students gain transferable skills of team working, online collaboration,negotiation, and communication, individual and group reflection, and managingdigital identities.

Although these tools enhance a student’s sense of community,sharing and collaboration brings in additional responsibility and workload, whichsome students find inflexible and rather ‘forced’. The study found that students haveconcerns about privacy and the public nature of the tools for their academic activities. The educator’s role is changing from being a provider of information to a facilitator ormoderator, which raises training needs, workload issues, and adjusting to a ‘new’way of teaching.

Institutions face the dilemma of adopting and recommending toolsin the pubic domain over which they have no control. On the other hand, theinstitution’s VLE may not provide tools with as rich a functionality as is available inthe tools which are in the public domain.

The analysis in this report is presented as answers to questions which educators andpolicy makers may have about social software initiatives. It is hoped that the lessonsand the recommendations, as captured in this report and the case studies willinfluence the learning and teaching strategies in higher and further education –specifically institutions which are considering the use of social software. The resultshighlight the different pedagogical roles of social software: communication, nurturingcreativity and innovation, and collaborative learning.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 7
Executive Summary 9
1 Introduction 10
1.1 Guide for readers of this report 10
2 Background to the study 12
3 Aims and key deliverables of the study 14
3.1 Key deliverables and outcomes of the study 14
4 Methodology and Implementation 16
4.1 Case study research design 16
4.2 Gathering the case studies 18
4.3 Development of the case studies after the investigations 18
4.4 Data analysis and synthesis 19
5 Outputs: Case Studies 20
6 Findings: Analysis and Synthesis of the Data 23
6.1 Educational goals of social software 24
6.2 Enablers to social software initiatives 26
6.3 Benefits of using social software 28
6.4 Challenges in a social software initiative 34
6.5 Issues that need to be considered for a social software initiative 42
7 Conclusions 46
7.1 Benefits to the organisations 46
7.2 Challenges to the organisations 46
7.3 Benefits to the educators 46
7.4 Challenges to the educators 47
7.5 Benefits to the students 47
7.6 Challenges to the students 48
8 Implications 50
8.1 Comparison of the literature review with the findings of this study 50
8.2 Limitations of our study 51
8.3 Taking the study further 52
9 Recommendations 54
9.1 Be learner-centred 54
9.2 Consider the impact on staff 54
9.3 Identify your key stakeholders 54
9.4 Be convinced yourself 54
9.5 Be prepared to spend time 54
9.6 Do not hesitate to learn from others 54
9.7 Keep a log of the experiences 55
9.8 Be willing to disseminate 55
9.9 Be prepared to monitor and intervene 55
9.10 Evaluate the initiative 55
9.11 Be prepared to adapt and change 55
10 References 56
11 Appendices 58

Source And Full Report Available At


See Also

Effective Use of Social Software in UK Further and Higher Education: Case Studies [125 pp.]

Date uploaded > 02 February 2009 > Shailey Minocha

The case studies or initiatives investigated in this study are consolidated in this document. The 26 initiatives or case studies investigated in this study cover a broad range of social software tools such as discussion forums, wikis, blogs, podcasts, microblogging or Twitter, photo-sharing (Flickr), Google Earth, 3-D virtual worlds, web conferencing, social networking sites such as Facebook, and others based on Elgg and Ning.

The case studies are from a wide range of disciplines, at different levels of study (undergraduate, post-graduate, vocational courses) in part-time and full-time courses in further and higher education. The mode of delivery is diverse: face-toface, blended learning (face-to-face and online learning), and distance-education.


Table Of Contents

Case Studies 9
1 Computer Gaming and Video Capture in Second Life 12
2 Using Wikis to Support Small Group Work 17
3 Facebook as a Pre-induction Support Tool 22
4 Community@Brighton: Social Networking at University of Brighton 27
5 Using Web 2.0 in Further Education Library Services 31
6 Photo Publishing with Lulu 35
7 Social Networking through Ning on a Distance-learning Programme 40
8 Using a Wiki for Developing a Portfolio and for Communication 44
9 A Blogging Support System for Trainee Teachers 49
10 OpenStudio: An Online Community for Digital Photography Students 54
11 Collaborative Learning in a Wiki on a Software Engineering Course 59
12 Using Wikis and Video-conferencing on Team Engineering Course 64
13 Blogs and Social Bookmarking for Exploration of Historical Sources 68
14 Photo-sharing on Flickr 73
15 Develop Me! Social Networking at University of Bradford 77
16 Using Podcasting to Develop Oral Skills for Physiotherapy Practice 81
17 Blogs, Wikis and Social Bookmarking to Support Web-based Research 86
18 Social Networking and Community-building in Dentistry Courses 90
19 Digital Identity, Communication and Collaboration through Web 2.0 95
20 Social Networking: Connect-ing Students and Staff 99
21 Google Earth: Practical Exercises in Geographic Information Science 104
22 Using Social Bookmarking: Tools for Finding Things Again 108
23 Student Engagement: Discussion Forums and Web Conferencing 111
24 Supporting a Group of Distance-learning Students on Skypecast 116
25 Using Twitter to Support Students and Their Projects 119
26 Using Facebook to Obtain Student Feedback 122

Full Report Available At


Project Site


Thanks to The Caribbean Librarian for The HeadsUp !

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

ALA Connect: Phase One

ALA Connect: Not Just Another Social Network

“It’s like Facebook–but for librarians,” we’ve said, all-too-simply (and inaccurately) in categorizing ALA Connect, ALA’s new centralized virtual space.

That’s a facile comparison to make, but really Connect is more than that. Not just another social network, ALA Connect will help members engage in ALA business and network with others. It’s a single virtual location in which ALA members can collaborate and work on division, round table, and committee projects with an impressive spread of tools: blog-like posts, online documents, group calendars, surveys and polls, chat rooms, discussion forums, and RSS/email alerts to track progress.

[snip] But ALA Connect effectively reins in all the would-be unofficial online channels and tools and puts them under one roof, officiating them under the ALA brand. [snip]

In typical Web 2.0, perpetual-beta style, Connect is being released in what ALA is calling “phase one” and will never be a finished product. Monitoring the site to track how well it meets members’ needs will help inform designers about the potential for new tools, resources, and tweaks. New features and enhancements will be released on a regular basis.



ALA Connect FAQ

ALA Connect replaces the existing Online Communities service that ALA currently offers as a virtual, collaborative, workspace online. [snip]


Every active ALA group already has a space in Connect automatically, because we've pre-populated it with data from our membership database (iMIS), and we synchronize member data nightly, so we'll always know which committees you're on and which other official ALA groups you're part of.

Both ALA groups and communities use the same types of tools. By default, each one has blog posts, online documents (like wiki pages), a calendar, polls, a chat room, a discussion board, and images (logos, pictures, etc.). The group can use whichever of the tools it finds valuable.

Non-members will be able to register in Connect to create a free account, but they will only be able to view and add to public content. [snip]


You can read more about the history (and future) of ALA Connect on the ITTS Update blog, particularly in the Roadmap that we posted there.


Learn more about ALA Connect in general

Learn more about what you can do on ALA Connect



Thursday, April 2, 2009

Connecting: Online Social Networks For Organizations

Conferencia de GERRY McKIERNAN

Iowa State University Library / Ames IA USA

La Importancia de Estar Conectados:

Fecha: 11 de marzo de 2009

Lugar de celebración: Biblioteca Nacional de España / Paseo de Recoletos, 20

While Facebook and MySpace are among the better-known general online social networks, there are an ever-increasing number of online networks that have emerged for and within a wide variety of communities.

Among many others, these include networks for Academe and Education, People of Color, Boomers, LGBT groups, Religion, and Researchers and Scholars.

This presentation will provide an overview of a variety of niche online networks, and a detailed review of select niche social networks created to better connect and engage clients, customers, patrons, and staff, within and outside of organizations.

Self-Archived PPT [137 Slides] Available At

Archived MP3 Audio [52:15] Available

Conference Page With Links Available At

SEDIC Blog Posting

ABC National [Spain] Daily Newspaper Interview

While the slides for this presentation are substantially identical to those at The CALSI 2009 Workshop in Valencia, Spain on March 10 2009,


the narrative was specific to the overall theme of the Madrid forum.

I am most grateful to Maria-Jesus del Olmo, Director, Information Resource Center U.S. Embassy / Madrid, Spain; SEDIC – Asociación Española de Documentación e Información; and Milagros del Corral Beltrán, Director, Biblioteca Nacional de España, for making my visit and presentation possible.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

StudyBlue: The Cure For The University Of Iowa Studying Blues ?

Networking Site A Cure For UI ‘Study Blues’

BY MAGGIE PETERS / MARCH 3, 2009 / 7:20 AM

When UI senior Emili Panio had the stomach flu and missed a week of class, she was overwhelmed with makeup work. But she found relief in StudyBlue, which allowed her to scan others’ lecture notes online.

“I was able to find a woman in my Leisure in Contemporary Society class on the site, and she ended up giving me all the notes I had missed from lecture,” said Panio, 21.

She is among 1,570 UI members registered on the education-based social networking site. It allows users to upload and share class notes and chapter outlines, study flash cards, join study groups, and use peer tutors.

Gerry McKiernan, a science and technology librarian at Iowa State University, said educational networks such as StudyBlue are reinventing the whole educational experience. He lectures nationally on the topic of social networking, most recently “niche” networking.

“My view is that social networking can create, foster, and facilitate the creation of virtual communities not limited by time or space,” he said. “Communication can now become broader than local communication could [ever] be."

The mixed use of messaging, audio, and video [in such sites as Facebook] all come together to create a more dynamic and advantageous environment, especially when it comes to learning, McKiernan said.

Another benefit of educational networks is their helpfulness to students who are less assertive in class, he said. His research found that shy students feel more comfortable contributing online, and social networks can even facilitate face-to-face communication.


UI Associate Professor Scott Robinson, who teaches elementary psychology, said he had never heard of educational networking sites, despite his course being one used by students on StudyBlue.


“Sharing notes is no different from what students have been doing for 100 years,” Robinson said. “As long as information is not being misrepresented, I do not view it as cheating.”

Panio said she would like to see more UI students using StudyBlue. She has noticed many classes in her majors — communication studies and theater — don’t have a section on StudyBlue, unlike many of her general-education courses.

“The more students, the better,” she said.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Social Networks: A New Tool For Learning

February 17, 2009 / A New Tool For Students: Educational Networking / GUNNAR OLSON /

Ames, Ia. - Iowa State University sophomore Lauren Egerton can compare notes with fellow education majors or study their flashcards with a few clicks on her computer.She simply goes online to a social networking site geared toward studying, such as StudyBlue or Flashcard Exchange."It's at your convenience. It's on your own time. You don't have to coordinate with anyone else's schedules," said Egerton, 19, of Iowa City. "It's just a smarter way to study."

About Study Sites
Online social networking, made popular across the country and around the globe in recent years by sites such as MySpace and Facebook, is no longer the exclusive territory of teenage romances and family pictures.

"You name it, and it seems as though a niche network has been created, and if it hasn't, it will be in the very near future," said Gerry McKiernan, an ISU librarian who blogs and lectures nationally on the subject.

Educational networking sites are relatively new. There are multiple competitors, and they have their critics. But supporters think the sites are changing higher education.

McKiernan called use of the sites a shift away from the "sage on the stage." "The students themselves are creating a learning community," he said. "In a very real sense, I believe they're reinventing the educational process."More students and faculty in Iowa are using such sites. For example, today there are about 40,000 members of ISU's Facebook group, nearly double the 22,000 members three years ago.

And more of them are using such sites as tools for learning, as evidenced by the recent success of


Thanks to angel investors, it is now a growing, for-profit company that gets high school and college students to share notes and flashcards for free while targeting them with ads for online universities and textbooks.

"We really built our tool from the bottom up, with the idea of students growing the tool," company spokesman Ben Jedd said.He said about 5,000 students at Iowa universities use the site. Students at the University of Iowa, one of the company's test locations, are among the site's top 10 users. At Iowa State, the number of users doubled last semester to about 1,000, he said.
There are some troubles.Last year at Ryerson University in Canada, a student was nearly expelled after a professor discovered his online study group and accused him of cheating, according to news articles. StudyBlue said that California bans the dissemination of notes without the lecturer's permission. [snip]

ISU Associate Dean of Students Mary Jo Gonzales said she would not want to see face-to-face classroom time displaced. "We can't rely solely on technology," she said. But she said educational networking sites are a valuable tool for educators, and particularly for quieter students who might express their ideas and engage other students more freely online than in class.

Michael Bugeja, director of ISU's journalism school, said he isn't against social networking sites altogether. He runs one himself. But he warned students to see the for-profit sites for what they are: convenience sleekly bundled with distraction. For serious study, he said, students are better off meeting face to face.

"If you're going to commit to walking to a library or a room, you are going to be focused ever so much more on the task at hand," Bugeja said.

Egerton and her friend, Emily Smart, said students do use such sites to converse


"If I didn't get it the first time, chances are I didn't get it right in my notes," said Smart, 19, of Cedar Rapids.

STUDYBLUE: Allows students to connect with classmates, compare notes, use one another's digital flashcards and more. It was created in 2006.

FLASHCARD EXCHANGE: Enables students to create their own digital flashcards and share them with the online world. It was founded in 2001.

Full Text Available [03-02-10] At

Saturday, February 14, 2009

ISU Library Spring Seminar: Not Just Facebook: Niche Social Network Sites

Friends/ Later this month. I will give the first presentation in our Spring Library Seminar series here at Iowa State University:

Not Just Facebook: Niche Social Network Sites

Gerry McKiernan, Associate Professor, Science & Technology Department, ISU Library

Wednesday, February 25, 3:15-4:30, Parks Library 192

"While Facebook and MySpace are among the better-known general online social networks, there are an ever-increasing number of online networks that have emerged for and within a wide variety of groups. Among many others, these include networks for academe and education, people of color, boomers, businesses, LGBT groups, religious communities, and researchers and scholars. This presentation offers an overview of these on other niche online networks and examines the potential benefit they may offer to colleges and universities and their communities."


In addition to the communities noted above, I am also greatly interested in learning of other communities (with a social network presence) that are or could be of particular interest to colleges or universities (e.g. alumni), along with specific examples, if possible.

I am also interested in learning of specific niche communities that you find of significant professional value.

Please post the names/sites of these Niche Communities and the particular professional benefits that you have gained (or believe can be gained) from membership in Any and All niche social networks as a Comment on this posting.

BTW: This presentation will be an abridged and modified version of my Internet Librarian 2008 pre-conference workshop presentation Not Just Facebook: Online Social Networks For Libraries .


Not Just Facebook: Niche Social Network Sites

Part 1:
Introduction [9:08]
Part 2:
Web 2.0: Social Networking Services [6:19]
Part 3:
Facebook [4:49]
Part 4:
Niche Online Social Networks [26:36]
Part 5:
NING [12:47]
Part 6:
Potential Benefits [9:17]
Part 7:
Demonstration of NING [12:01]