OU Conf: Tony Hirst – Facebook apps

Back to liveblogging temporarily – if you can’t liveblog Tony Hirst’s presentation what can you do?

Vicky Smith chairing

Tony offers to do his talk from a seat at the back of the meeting room via a video link from his laptop to the presentation machine – only partly in jest.

Tony Hirst, Stuart Brown, Liam Green-Hughes, Martin Weller – Two unauthOUrised Facebook Apps

Presentation off-brand so trying to be on brand by wearing a pink OU T shirt.

Student peers are faceless – some chances in tutorials but hard. Lots of students inhabit Facebook – 6500 OU users in our network at last count with OU email addresses; lots of groups for courses.

Facebook growing – 4th biggest in terms of time spent – but traffic levelling off.  Over 50% of users go in once a day.

Why Facebook vs FirstClass? More informal, social first, say students.  Students use OU courses as conversation basis – in forums, in sigs, and so on.

First app – Sept last year – informal project with Liam and Stuart – Course Profile – not built on authenticated access or student records, it’s volunteered info from students.  Only OU stuff is the database of course codes and titles – rival app from a student doing similar mapping not as popular.

When add a course, appears on your minifeed, and messages from friends on your Wall.  With prompt to add app yourself.

Have had a handful of registrations from the app! For each course, shows OpenLearn, Comment Wall, Friends studying it, Recommend, find a study buddy. Now about 4500 users, probably saturated now unless big growth in OU users of Facebook.

Nice analytics on users, including study journeys through courses to programme/quals.

Courses Profile is not regular visit, came up with My OU Story – reason to visit regularly.  Student gives regular updates and moods – with graphs over time.
Can leave feedback to others, encourage mutual support.  Not promoted much yet, not much takeup.

Course Profiles and My OU Story

Questions: Contact from students and expectations need to be managed.  Have many privacy options.

How can you make this viral to get to people who aren’t already OU people? Hard. But could be decoupled and rolled out to students through the VLE or other social networks.

OUSA President – responsibility on FirstClass social side; jump through hoops to meet requirements e.g. looking out for bullying.  They need agreement from Course Team to create a conference, so if CT says no they can’t do it. These FB apps look like official groups even though they’re not.  Where’s the boundary?  Creators are not declared members of OU.  OU can’t control what’s happening here – students can just do it.  Use of brand without policing.  Behaviour can be reported through FB procedures, so it doesn’t need to be us.

Author: dougclow

Data scientist, tutxor, project leader, researcher, analyst, teacher, developer, educational technologist, online learning expert, and manager. I particularly enjoy rapidly appraising new-to-me contexts, and mediating between highly technical specialisms and others, from ordinary users to senior management. After 20 years at the OU as an academic, I am now a self-employed consultant, building on my skills and experience in working with people, technology, data science, and artificial intelligence, in a wide range of contexts and industries.

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