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3/19 Owau: FaceBook CourseFeed & Blackboard

Initially when I first joined FaceBook, it was because I wanted to see what the hype was all about since many of our learners seem to be hooked onto this social networking site. After I set up an account, I didn't do much until my friends from high school, college and even my own family (including my dad) started inviting me to be their "friend" to network together. It was only until recently that I realized why our students would probably prefer logging into Facebook first before even thinking about opening up Blackboard to begin their online course. Once your network of friends is set up, it's definitly an easy way to keep updated on what's going on at a distance.

I really haven't done much in Facebook besides the basics, but I thought it would be interesting for us to look at the CourseFeed interface ( that was developed. CourseFeed is a free Blackboard Building Block and Facebook app that alerts students in Faceboook when their instructors update Blackboard.

If you browse open courses available, you'll see that Stanford, Notre Dame and Utah State have made some of their courses publicly available for access directly from Facebook.

If you take a look at these links, they'll provide more information, but I don't think we'll be able to get the entire picture unless we decide to install the building block and explore.

Let me know your thoughts about Facebook (if you've used it) as well as the CourseFeed function. Looking forward to our discussions.

Dorothy :)


Clinton said…
Mahalo for sharing. I like this concept since I first heard about it a while back. I think that it would be a great alternative communication method, especially since students are communicating this way. I know Blackboard has their own application that has similar function called Blackboard Sync. Also along these lines, I think it would be useful if we could get similar functionality in the form of a desktop widget that is installed on a students desktop. Once installed students would be "pushed" course information (eg. missing assignments, annoucements, etc.)without having to login to any service. Everytime the computer is on students and better yet parents would be able to see updated course information. At Bb World last year, I attended a session where university students were developing an application that was doing just that. Too bad it wasn't consumer ready.
Christy said…
Same here with Facebook, never really wanted to get involved. I accepted Dorothy's invitation and started searching for my friends that I knew were on. I got a few messages back saying "Finally getting with the program."

So whether we're into it or not, it's really where we have to be. I know we looked at this months ago when the Building Block first came out. We brushed it away but I know we really can't ignore the social networking aspects any longer. Just like the E-School News article stated, if we don't put stuff out there, someone else will and it may not be the most accurate information. Seems easy enough to try and implement, even if it's just on a small scale.
Komarey said…
Mahalo for sharing Dorothy.
I've been a user of facebook. For the first month or so, I felt like I was the last one to join. It is the newest social networking tool out there used by more than 175 millions people. With the fastest growing user demographic for those over the age of 30. It's a way to keep me connected to my family and friends spanning from Washington state to Paris. It's been a great way to reconnect with friends that I haven't seen in ages as well. I even recently had a friend request come from my 64 year old aunt!

Because this is a means for which we can push information to our students, I think it's a great idea. The more avenues we have to disseminate information the better. In looking at the application, we get the student perspective just by looking at the free courseware that is available. But it's a little hard to see how it integrates with blackboard without downloading the building blocks. Because many students log into facebook on a daily basis, it would be a great way to push information without them logging into blackboard.
Kelly D. said…
Aloha all,
I've never signed up on any social networking sites because I've always felt like it was for kids and it was kind of silly, like an online yearbook, and then recently starting to think that it could even be dangerous. With `A`ali`i in middle school, we're constantly getting info. about the dangers of social networking. Facebook and My Space are the ones that we get warned about all the time. So, I have to admit I was hesitant while I was signing up. I kept trying to make sure that no one could see any of my personal information. I felt like the kid on the RoadRunner commercial. Then I found family members and was tempted to call my brother after I saw what my niece was wearing in her profile picture! But, from an educator perspective, yes I can totally see students having more access to announcements, reminders, etc. I can see them feeling more connected by being able to get to know each other better. From some recent articles I've read, I can see students even expecting these types of tools to be a part of an online course. From a parent perspective, I'm not totally sold. Although, I do realize that kids are doing it regardless so teaching them how a tool like this can help them learn and even help them become a life long learner would make it worth it. It is becoming a 21st Century kind of experience that if you're not doing it or at least know how to do it, you're behind. I would like to see more on how it works through Blackboard's Building Block and if it's only feature is pushing out information.
Davie said…
Facebook....I've been a member for a couple months, but to be honest I probably only go on it 2-3 times, if that a week. I would say that I am a user of Facebook for the basic functionalities, however I have not even dipped into the more extensive functions available. One of first perks I've learned about Facebook is that you don't have to physically log in to Facebook to see your messages or comments from friends & family. For me, I check my email account constantly throughout the day which then allows me to check my messages via my email account. I don't need to login to Facebook to see what they've written to me.
So a question I would like to ask now is...Would those same messages from Blackboard show up in my email as well? If so, I think this would be an awesome tool for DL to push more information out to the students about their courses. Now students will get the information when their checking out their friends and family in Facebook and also when they are checking their email!
Anonymous said…
Like a few of you have said, I was a little hesitant to sign-up for FaceBook after hearing some My Space horror stories. Actually I once worked with someone who was constantly on My Space during work...pretty annoying (she was just out of HS). Anyway, I do see a lot of potential for incorporating this application with our courses. I would like to see more of how it works & what it looks like from the student end, by actually using it. I was also thinking that it might actually make our DL buddies a reality. :) Try as I might to get them to work together, I'd say about 1/2 of my student population ends up working alone because they have so much trouble contacting their parter to set up a time to discuss. Seems like there's a lot of potential, I would just hope that it doesn't become too much of a distraction too. IMHO.
Liko said…
A little late, but I love FB (as us veteran FaceBook users call it).

It also has an incredible Hawaiian language presence. "Puke Maka" is the term coined in Hawaiian.

It is easy for me, using a Mac, to type ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. It is also a place where I share interesting articles and information regarding sovereignty, language revitalization, history, culture, etc.

Several of my face to face students are my FB friends and have commented about how great it is to be able to stay in touch. In my face to face language class, I ask the students to keep a journal. Many of them have used FB for completing that exercise, but also sharing with ALL their friends.

I believe investigating the app for FB and Bb is a great idea!

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