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Using Facebook in Class

I'm planning my spring 2009 WRIT 5112 Information Design class in which we will partner with First Step Initiative, a non-profit microfinance organization working with women entrepreneurs in the Democratic Republic of Congo. You can learn more about this class and First Step Initiative by selecting this course link to see our video course description. You can also take a look at the First Step Initiative website for more information.

We have created a Facebook group for First Step Initiative and members are joining all the time. I would like to incorporate this group into my WRIT 5112 course as a place where we could meet and work with people from all over the world. I'm currently designing the course and would like some more ideas/suggestions for incorporating our Facebook group into the course.

So the purpose of my post is to ask you for your ideas about using Facebook in an information design class. Please post your suggestions here and THANKS!

Comments

Bernadette, I assume the absence of comments means we're all in the head-scratching phase of facebook integration! I don't know if this is too far afield for your course, but the Groundswell book is all about how to utilize systems like facebook to spread organizational messages, get immediate and unfiltered feedback, etc. It has a corporate focus, but is a quick read and easily adapted to other organizational contexts: http://www.amazon.com/Groundswell-Winning-Transformed-Social-Technologies/dp/1422125009

Brad

Well, as much as I love the idea of using Facebook groups, why not also use Twitter? Simply create a twitter profile and have the group follow the profile, and you can keep in touch whether or not you're online, can message anyone very quickly, etc. I personally think it's a better idea. =)

Twitter certainly is another interesting tool that we need to think about further as it relates to teaching and learning! I don't think it's an "either-or" situation with Twitter and FB -- each has its strengths and limitations. One thing about Twitter is that it limits people to very short messages and in an academic setting -- especially academic writing and reasoning -- an important goal is to develop an idea logically. Short of making a number of consecutive short tweets, I'm not sure how you can develop an idea via Twitter.

So I guess Twitter might be useful for quickly keeping in touch with other people in a class and even people outside the class who might be collaborating, but my question still is how can teachers and students use FB tools to network for teaching/learning/collaborating?