Jun 222007

A couple of reports/blog entries caught my eye recently in the area of Web 2.0 and education.

A new JISC-funded report Web 2.0 for Content for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education by Tom Franklin and Mark van Harmelen (who blogged its release here) was published at the end of last month. It offers recommendations to JISC on how to respond to the opportunities and challenges of Web 2.0. Overall they recommend that:

Recommendation 1: Guidelines should not be so prescriptive as to stifle the experimentation that is needed with Web 2.0 and learning and teaching that is necessary to take full advantage of the possibilities offered by this new technology.

From a publisher’s perspective, these recommendations could be important:

Recommendation 2: JISC should consider funding projects investigating how institutional repositories can be made more accessible for learning and teaching through the use of Web 2.0 technologies, including tagging, folksonomies and social software.

Recommendation 6: JISC should consider funding a study to look at how repositories can be used to provide end-user (i.e. referrer) archiving services for material that is referenced in academic published material, including Internet journal papers. Part of this consideration should extend to copyright issues.

Recommendation 3: JISC should consider funding work looking at the legal aspects of ownership and IPR, including responsibility for infringements in terms of IPR, with the aim of developing good practice guides to support open creation and re-use of material.

Other blog coverage: see Brian Kelly (UKOLN) on UK Web Focus.

Coincidentally, the Read/Write Web blog today published a round-up of some of its recent coverage of Web 2.0 in e-learning in e-learning 2.0: All You Need To Know. This gives a whistle-stop tour at 30,000 feet with a lot of useful links, of which I found these particularly interesting:

e-learning 2.0 – how Web technologies are shaping education

Elgg – social network software for education

Elgg is an open source social platform that:

provides each user with their own weblog, file repository (with podcasting capabilities), an online profile and an RSS eader. Additionally, all of a user’s content can be tagged with keywords – so they can connect with other users with similar interests and create their own personal learning network. However, where Elgg differs from a regular weblog or a commercial social network (such as MySpace) is the degree of control each user is given over who can access their content. Each profile item, blog post, or uploaded file can be assigned its own access restrictions – from fully public, to only readable by a particular group or individual.

Elgg is being used at a number of universities including Brighton, Leeds and MIT. Coincidentally, there is a detailed case study of the Elgg implementation at Brighton in the Franklin/van Harmelen report discussed above.

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