Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Using Facebook for teaching, learning and assessment

I have just been asked by a colleague for examples of how teachers use Facebook for teaching and learning, as well as assessment in higher education.

Using Facebook as a student
As a student I prefer it as a communication tool. Last year my EdD class tried to use the discussion boards in Moodle but we felt there was a lack on spontaneity and even though I subscribed to the threads, I never received notification of posts. So we have moved to Facebook this year. Not only is it easier to communicate, but we also get more involved in each other's lives, outside of our study, which makes us feel closer as a group.

Using Facebook as a teacher
Again, as a teacher I have found that Facebook supports spontaneous communication compared to the BlackBoard discussion boards that I was using. I use it a lot to share information and links with students. But more exciting is that I see students supporting each other as they answer each other's questions and problem solve together. This has saved me work in the long run.

I haven't used Facebook in a more formal way, say for assessment. So I would love to hear from anyone who is using Facebook either as a teacher or student. What do you use it for? What is your experience? What tips would you pass on to a teacher thinking about how to use it in his teaching? 

Here are a few resources about teaching and Facebook.


AJCann said...

It all depends on push or pull. If you want to make information available for students to access via facebook (if they choose to), fine. I'd recommend using facebook pages for that, e.g. https://www.facebook.com/MicrobiologyBytes
If you want to deliver information to students that you want/need them to see, I'd stay well away from facebook for this sort of push channel.

Anonymous said...

Look forward to seeing what comments are generated by this post.
I'm interested in embedding social media (Facebook) into a course with the view of building capabilities and confidence in a tool that students will almost definitely have to use to build, maintain and communicate with a client base once they enter the workforce.
Any tips on how to successfully give the students an industry head start without compromising "learning" and or taking up too much time would be greatly appreciated.

WiseWoman said...

Thanks for posting this, Sarah. I run classes for midwifery students on WizIq. I use FB to send out notices of upcoming classes to people on my FB friends list who are not enrolled but might want to take occasional classes. Those notices lead to a discussion on the topics.

Some of my students took the initiative to start a FB page for sharing information mid-week. I had set up a yahoo group for them but they seem to like the FB format so, in future, I may create FB pages instead of the yahoo group.

As far as assessment, they have a comments option when the class ends on WizIq whereby they can give anonymous or identified feedback so, at the moment, that's the only assessment tool that I use. Gloria Lemay, Vancouver BC

Sarah Stewart said...

@AJ Good point. I must admit...when I have information that students must see, I use email.

@Anonymous The point about "time" is an interesting one. It has been my observation that to use social media to connect with a client base (which is a different use to education) does take time. I think one of the key things is to stress the difference between FB as a fun thing you do to connect with friends, and using it as a professional tool. A great place to look for information on how to use social media for professional/marketing is mashable.com

@wisewoman Thanks for the suggestion of using FB for ongoing conversation following synchronous discussions...an option I'll look at to support VIDM 2012.

Colin Simpson said...

I'm trying to work out what to tell our teachers about assessment in Facebook and my main concern is the audit trail and the permanence of data. (We need to be able to provide evidence of assessments up to 7 years after the student has finished)

I'm yet to find an answer to this question so for now it looks to me that the strength of this tool really is in the communication area.

Definitely be interested to see how anyone else has resolved that question though.

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Colin, sorry its taken so long to get back to you. Merrolee Penman is talking about this soon at an online webinar...might be worth checking in with it: http://www.facebook.com/merrolee?fref=ts

Colin Simpson said...

Thanks Sarah, will take a look

Colin Simpson said...

Thanks Sarah, I'll check it out