Tom Franklin Consulting Ltd
17-19 Elsworthy Road
07989 948 221
Registered in England and Wales No. 6948162
Last updated: 06 October 2014
A review of current and developing international practice in the use of social networking
(Web 2.0) in higher education
This report was commissioned by the Committee of Inquiry into the Changing Learner
Experience to review the current and developing use of Web 2.0 technologies in higher
education from an international perspective. The report is based on five specially
commissioned reports from Australia, the Netherlands, South Africa, the United Kingdom
and the United States of America. These were chosen to provide some of the leading
countries in the use of Web 2.0 technologies in education together with one country
where English is not the first language and one where infrastructure provision remains
a critical issue.
The report covers the following four areas:
- The areas in which Web 2.0 is being used, including academic and administrative support.
Web 2.0 is being used in nearly all areas of higher education, including academic,
administrative and support areas. These tend to be in "hot spots" where "early adopters"
are trying out new things rather than widespread. Take up across the different countries
appears to be in some measure dependant on the technical infrastructure being available
to enable students to access to Web 2.0 functions. Questions of equity therefore
impact on take up in use.
- The drivers to use of Web 2.0 in these areas. The UK and Netherlands lead the way
in enabling use, through supporting national infrastructure developments, and some
USA States have policies and strategies in place which encourage use of technologies
in support of student learning. Institutions were not found to have specific drivers
and, as organisations, are slow in their response to Web 2.0 technologies.
- The issues encountered and the responses made. HEIs and their students find themselves
in uncharted territories with respect to their use of Web 2.0 technologies. The
historically more certain boundaries where information and communications were controlled
by universities is being lost, and institutions are struggling to make sense of how
to operate in this changed and permeable space. Students have yet to discover the
full consequences of their public representations. Issues are discussed around Social
and professional lives, privacy and safety, identity, issues for institutions, a
lack of new pedagogic models, time constraints, culture shift for academics and issues
- The perceived advantages and disadvantages of Web 2.0 use. There are seen to be three
key advantages of Web 2.0. It offers a set of affordances that are not found in
other, students are already using these technologies and are therefore engaged with
them and many of them are free to use and come without the restrictions found in
many institutional systems.
- Prospective developments in Web 2.0 use. New curriculum opportunities, new assessment
opportunities, to provide support before students arrive at their university, a blurring
of the boundaries of institutions as they become more, the development of new virtual
learning environments (including personal learning environments) which are based
on Web 2.0 technologies, a reduction in the ability of institutions to control the
technology that students use in their learning, a reduction in the ability of institutions
to control access to information that students use in their study and Web 2.0 applications
increasingly replacing desktop applications.
This can be downloaded in Word or PDF format.
Reports relating to process improvement
Web 2.0 reports
E-learning, pedagogy and Learning environments
Wireless and Ubiquitous computing reports
Programme and project evaluation
Standards and service oriented approaches