eLearning Frenzy

eLearning is like a sewer, what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.


social learning tools

Looking for a 1st week of class activity? Introduce your students to Blackboard’s Social Learning tools.

One of the most important things your students can do while they pursue their education is to begin to build their PLN or Personal/Professional Learning Network.

A personal learning network is an informal learning network that consists of the people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from in a personal learning environment. In a PLN, a person makes a connection with another person with the specific intent that some type of learning will occur because of that connection.

Linked-in, Twitter feeds, professional user groups, blogs and connections your students make to colleagues are all examples of ways students can extend their PLN.  Blackboard now offers a way students can begin this experience with the new Social Learning Tools.

With Blackboard’s social learning tools you can:

  • Have an enhanced Profile where you create your online academic identity and share only what you want to share. Profiles include a profile wall for communication and the ability to message and follow other users to make connections and build your learning network.
  • Use the People tool to find your students and peers, at your school or at another school with Blackboard Learn, and build your global learning network.
  • Message anyone within the global learning network.
  • Create a collaboration Space that you control, where you can communicate with others for departmental collaboration, best practice sharing, committee work, or to foster social learning among your students. You can also participate in spaces created by your peers or students.

Why the First Week?

  • Familiarizes the student with the My Blackboard menu which gives them access to their social profile as well as the dashboard for what’s going on in all of their courses.
  • Provides a way for student to identify themselves via photo and professional, educational and social information.  Once student has uploaded a photo, every interaction they make in your course will display their photo along side it so you and fellow students can connect with each other.
  • Let’s the students know that you are interested in them as more than just a person taking a class, which can start their learning journey out on the right foot.
  • Greases the wheels of communication:  Prompts the students to start collaborating/interacting from the start.

You can find instructions for using these tools in the Teaching Online tab in Blackboard and your students can find instructions through the Getting Started tab.  Both sets of instructions are accessed by using the Get Connected link in their respective course’s navigation menu.  You can also find instructions on the web here at

BbWorld13 – Blackboard Learn’s New Social Learning Network

Live Blog for the BbWorld13 session: Blackboard Learn’s New Social Learning Network

Presenters: Melissa Stange, Francesca Goneconti Monaco, Terry Patterson

Session Description:

This presentation will cover the following:

  • Differences between existing social networks & Bb learn’s new global learning network
  • Benefits of using Bb’s Social Tools
  • How to implement
  • Lessons Learned
  • Answers to common concerns
  • Q&A

Session Begins at 2pm:

Overview of Social Learning Tools:

What is Social Learning – not one clear definition.  We all have different ways of describing it.  Introduced back in the 70’s.   Learning that takes place at a wider scale than individual or group learning, up to a societal scale, through social interrogation between peers.

“Learners learning from each other”

Why Now? – Because of the expectations and needs of today’s active learners.  For today’s students in our highly connected, information intensive world, learning is a 24/7 enterprise and the traditional school day is no more!

What students want in education mirrors what they experience outside of education.

Easily connect with educational community online.  (facebook not ideal) Educational network is different.

Educational Network – current and former classmates, professors, clubs, committees.  (not just friends).  In current social network it is hard to identify who is in your educational network.

Desire to keep networks separate! 60% of students say they want to keep academic and social lives separate.  Same amoutn think it is important to have an online forum to communicate with other students.  Cautious of mixing academic and social lives.

What are the tools?

Global Learning Network that connects users across/within institutions and countries.

How students see networks:

Facebook = Social
LinkedIn = Professional
Blackboard = Learning

Profiles – (photo/description) & Profile Wall.
People – Ability for users to discover learning network online.  Directory of entire institution, courses, global learning network
Spaces – Ad-Hoc group area.  Spaces can be created in less than a minute by anyone for anything.  (Study groups, research projects, interest groups, departments)
Messages – Asynchronously communicate 1 to 1 and with a group of people

Social profile tools go beyond basic and reach out to global connections.  Cloud gives identity, social lets you connect, collaborate and communicate.

Plan – Find early Adopters (Departments, programs, etc) Discover issues, questions and impact on faculty staff, students.

Policy – Find and fill gaps on current policies. Create new policies to fill in gaps.  Clear policy and where information is stored with affected parties on campus.

Procedures – Develop procedures to apply policy changes. Who implements/manages the procedures.

Implement – Pilot Group then full release.

Educate – Social Media vs. Social Learning

Usage, Intellectual Property, Harassment, social Accountability & Responsibility

FERPA directory information

Town Halls & Email Alerts

Bb Demos

Within 1st 1/2 hour 72 people adopted.  Made MyBb a tab.

Reporting on SysAdmin tab is on the Road Map. has great FAQs and a communication & Adoption toolkit as well as videos on Youtube.

There’s more to learn video – a day in the life of a student using social learning tools.

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