This project aims to bring some of the affordances of consumer social networks to teaching and learning, and will deliver applications within CamTools, our Sakai-based VLE. This is an informal blog by the project team at CARET, University of Cambridge.

Monday, 23 February 2009

even museums are networking socially now

Spotted on the BBC News site: UK museums, including the British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum, are setting up a new joint website which will let users build communities around museum content. It's the National Museums Online Learning project and you can read about it here.

The value of social networking features to people who are both enjoying the collections and learning at the same time is something we hope we may be able to bring out in our project, too.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Phase III of our research gets under way...

Just a quick update for those following our research into the uses of social networking in an academic context.

Having interviewed 8 undergraduates and 8 post-graduate students in Phases I and II of our research, we're now onto Phase III, interviewing a diverse collection of academics associated with the University, from people at the start of their careers to a leading Professor, from someone returning part-time after a career break to people holding both departmental and college posts.

We're eagerly anticipating the analysis phase that will be coming up after this, as we try to synthesise the concerns, goals and motivations across the different groups of University members.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Ambient social networking

Over in the Newnham area of Cambridge, local company CamVine is looking at novel ways of displaying internet content on screens. This is a lot more fun than it might sound - check their daily twitter updates, which will highlight new ways of using Web2 and social, user-generated content in a shared environment. One for every day in February! (Is publishing an idea a day in this way a useful method for getting interest and feedback in your project? Should we try it for Academic Networking? Might it also work for research projects? Would a more private, group-oriented microblog such as Yammer or Wiggio be more appropriate for academics? Let us know!)

In a recent blog post, founder Quentin Stafford-Fraser talks about watching social network status feeds on displays, perhaps dotted around one's home, workplace or university. I can imagine having my research group's feeds in my departmental tearoom, where they could spark conversation and ideas (or give me something to read whilst I wait for the coffee machine to gurgle to a finish).

Quentin calls this ambient social networking...

Do you web2?

Netskills are looking for information on how researchers, academics, and the people who support their work use emerging tools, such as Web2.0 things like twitter, flickr and more. This is part of work funded by the JISC Users and Innovation (U&I) programme.

Please help them out by taking their survey!

They will use information from the survey to create guides to help others see how emerging technologies can help in research and teaching.