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Mark van Harmelen :: Blog :: JISC study on Web 2.0 Content Sharing for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

June 11, 2007

The final report on Web 2.0 Content Sharing for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education is available on the JISC web site at ... http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/programmes/digital_repo

The report provides a brief definition of Web 2.0 and exemplars of institutional practice in the supply of Web 2.0 services. The report then provides discussions of content creation and sharing via Web 2.0 services, the use of Web 2.0 in learning, teaching and assessment, and Web 2.0 concerns and issues for HEI strategy and policy. In addition, the report also provides various recommendations to the JISC. 

My co-author, Tom Franklin, and I would like to thank those that assisted in the delivery of this piece of work by contributing material, participating in our webinars, commenting on draft briefing notes and/or commenting on the draft report. 


From the introduction:

"Web 2.0 will affect how universities go about the business of education, from learning, teaching and assessment, through contact with school communities, widening participation, interfacing with industry, and maintaining contact with alumni. However, it would be a mistake to consider Web 2.0 as the sole driver of these changes; in reality Web 2.0 is just one part of the Higher Education (HE) ecosystem. Other drivers include, for example, pressures to greater efficiency, changes in student population, and ongoing emphasis on better learning and teaching methods.

Nonetheless, Web 2.0 is, in our view, a technology with profound potential for inducing change in the HE sector. In this, the possible realms of learning to be opened up by the catalytic effects of Web 2.0 technologies are attractive, allowing greater student independence and autonomy, greater collaboration, and increased pedagogic efficiency.
This study has focussed on the content sharing aspects of Web 2.0, including textual, sound, and video data. The study is also cognisant of the fact that content sharing via Web 2.0 mechanisms can be the enabler of social software - software which supports groups in their day-to-day interactions.

Because Web 2.0 is a relatively ‘young’ technology, there are many unresolved problems and issues in its use in universities. These include: IPR for material created and modified by university members and external contributors; appropriate pedagogies for use with Web 2.0 (and equally which pedagogic approaches are enhanced by the use of Web 2.0); how to assess material that may be collectively created and that is often open to ongoing change; the choice of types of systems for institutional use; how to roll out Web 2.0 services across a university; whether it is best to host the services within the university or make use of externally hosted services elsewhere; integration with institutional systems; accessibility; visibility and privacy; data ownership; control over content; longevity of data; data preservation; information literacy; and staff and student training. At this stage all that we have to go on are the results of experiments with Web 2.0, rather than a set of solutions that are ready for widespread adoption. In the main report, we provide a discussion of Web 2.0 together with a compilation of the more commonly used systems for education. We then examine progress at four universities which have taken a strategic approach and implemented Web 2.0 services in different ways at the institutional level. This is followed by
a discussion of Web 2.0 content and its creation and use, together with an identification of issues affecting content creation and use. The next section considers the ways in which Web 2.0 is being used in learning, teachingand assessment, and important issues associated with pedagogy and assessment. We then turn to institutional policy and strategy and consider ways in which Web 2.0 impacts them. Because of the relative immaturity of the technology and experimentation with its use, it is too early to make specific recommendations in most of the areas above. Consequently we make various recommendations to the JISC as to actions to guide and help the UK HE community in its ongoing exploration, adoption and adaptation of Web 2.0 systems.

Most importantly, because the use of Web 2.0 in various areas of application (learning, teaching, administration, management) is still in an early stage, we recommend that institutions take a light-weight approach use of regulations that might constrain experimentation with the technologies and allied pedagogies. "

Posted by Mark van Harmelen

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