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Learning together: using social media to foster collaboration in higher education.

by Neil Ford, Melissa Bowden, Jill Beard
Cuttingedge Technologies in Higher Education ()

Abstract

This chapter focuses on how social media tools can be used to enhance collaboration in higher education and the benefits and challenges that this can bring. We investigate how two social media tools, social bookmarking and microblogging, can be utilised to foster collaboration and determine why this is important in contemporary higher education. Case studies of social media use at Bournemouth University show how social bookmarking and microblogging have already yielded benefits. The case studies are grounded in the challenges facing higher education in 2010. We explore how social media has been used in the context of a need to enhance academic excellence and drive efficiencies in the face of funding constraints and changing demographics. The case studies illustrate: firstly, how social bookmarking has been used to foster group cohesion, reflective practice and evaluative skills in students, as well as being used at an institutional level to drive professional and administrative efficiencies; and secondly, how microblogging has made a difference in promoting reflective learning, group cohesion, and professional awareness in students and how this style of social networking has contributed to enhancing academic and professional networks. Whilst the tools, uses and stakeholders vary, the case studies show how social media has enabled collaboration between, students, academics, librarians, learning technologists, and even professional groups beyond the institution. We conclude that, when used appropriately, social media can facilitate the collaboration that will be essential to overcoming the challenges facing higher education.

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Readership Statistics

9 Readers on Mendeley
by Discipline
 
 
 
by Academic Status
 
33% Student (Master)
 
22% Ph.D. Student
 
11% Student (Bachelor)
by Country
 
11% United Kingdom
 
11% Germany

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