Freshly Presented: “Facebook Strategies for the Classroom”

The above presentation includes audio recording, but it is not in-sync with the slides as I diverted to actual demos half the time. You can control the slides on your own while listening to what I’ve got to say.

Facebook is one of the most popular online social network today. Founded on February 2004, Facebook does seem to have a wider appeal than other social networks given the relatively clean design. To account for its initial growth, I suspect an initial attraction to the relatively high brow user base seeded by Ivy League universities. As seen from their timeline, Facebook started with the academic circle, but has since opened to all.

More recently, Facebook has emerged as a new form of search for information highly relevant to oneself. As explained on the Facebook Press Room, the web company considers their service a social utility, by developing technologies that facilitate the sharing of information through the social graph, that is, the digital mapping of people’s real-world social connections. For instance, with copious details on yourself and your peers, searching for recommendations through Facebook would be more relevant to your taste than what Google Search could muster.

As a reflection of Facebook’s growing significance and popularity, I presented a session exploring the strategic uses of Facebook. Running with a full house last Friday morning at the Teaching & Learning Center (UB), the workshop explored the potential uses of Facebook for teaching and motivating collaboration between students. Issues of privacy naturally became the hot topic, as well as concerns about intellectual property. Finally I covered the advantages and pitfalls of social networks, with specifics to Facebook. Everyone’s intrigued with Facebook, and just as ambiguous as “poking” on Facebook, we’re trying to make sense (and utility) of it.

As seen on Slide 6 above, here’s my Facebook workshop agenda which has two parts shown in bold…

What is Facebook?
1. History
2. Who’s Using It
3. Things you can do

For the Classroom
1. Opportunities
– Promotes conversation
– It’s Spontaneous
– Integrate your stuff (RSS)
– Reputation as Motivator
2. Challenges
– Application Spam
– Getting Informal?
– What Privacy?
– Walled Garden
3. Questions

Multi-dimensional conversations of Facebook Users

One particular learning opportunity I highlighted about Facebook is how it promotes conversation. As seen in the chart I’ve put together above based on concepts shared by FaberNobel Consulting, there is a higher chance of users cross-breeding thanks to how multi-dimensional conversations can get. On Facebook, users are in constant interactions with one another through messaging (including pokes), sharing media, joining groups and events, as well as the use of Facebook applications. This is one of the unique aspects of Facebook which supersedes it over traditional course management systems such as the popular Blackboard. This feature does have its share of challenges too, ranging from distractions (spamminess) to informality (teacher / student relationship).

If you’re interested in keeping up with this, feel free to join our Facebook Group. Alternatively, you can browse the workshop photos taken by Mili, listen to the audio recording in various formats, or download the slides for re-use under Creative Commons by Attribution and Share-Alike.

7 thoughts on “Freshly Presented: “Facebook Strategies for the Classroom”

  1. This is interesting stuff. My department in NUS utilised Facebook as a core component for one of our courses last semester. We are drafting an abstract to share our experience for an upcoming learning conference in the States presently. Definitely can relate to some of the points you have touched upon in the above presentation.

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