Exploring the role of social software in higher education
Ryan, Y., & Fitzgerald, R. (2009). Exploring the role of social software in Higher Education. In S. Hatzipanagos, S. Warburton (Eds.), Handbook of research on social software and developing community ontologies (pp. 165-180). New York, United States : IGI Global.
This chapter considers the potential of social software to support learning in higher education. It outlines a current project funded by the then Australian Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, now the Australian Learning and Teaching COuncil (ALTC) (http://www.altc. edu.au/carrick/go) to explore the role of social software in supporting peer engagement and group learning. The project has established a series of pilot projects that examine ways in which social software can provide students with opportunities to engage with their peers in a discourse that explores, interrogates and provides a supplementary social ground for their in-class learning. Finding creative ways of using technology to expand and enrich the social base of learning in higher education will become increasingly important to lecturers and instructional designers alike. This project represents one small step in testing the applicability of social software to these contexts. While many of our students are already using various technologies to maintain and develop their personal networks, it remains to be seen if these offer viable uses in more scholarly settings.