I was sent a link this week to an application within Facebook, CourseFeed. This is a small application that integrates your Virtual Learning Environment with Facebook. At the moment it seems to support Blackboard® only, with some limited functionality for others.
The full app when used with Blackboard® allows (using their words not mine):
- Course Wall
- File storage for Course Notes, etc.
- Course feed display of what’s new posted by others.
- Connect with others in the course.
- Profile display to let friends know when you’re in class.
- See everyone in your course – guaranteed accurate course roster.
- View all Blackboard® course materials without leaving Facebook
- Course feed shows when professor posts announcements, files, etc. to Blackboard®.
- View all announcements, new or old, in the announcements area.
- One-click access into Blackboard® and auto-navigation that takes you right to the item. No hunting!
This may be the articulation of something that has always been there in face-to-face education, a nexus between students’ social activity – formal learning – informal learning – peer group exchanges. Potentially a great step forward for electronic environments?
Conversations with students in various surveys over the last few months suggest a different picture. Whilst it is by no means clear-cut, there is a feeling amongst students that they would like ‘private space’, and there as also been some negative publicity around, for example, Facebook, where “university authorities are using the Facebook website to gain evidence about unruly post-exam pranks”.
Kim Carey of Pepperdine University poses the question:
“Does anyone think giving your university id & password to a third party is a good idea?”
Any thoughts or comments? This could be an application that might really help learning, but what about privacy?