This is my first official day working on the University of London’s Centre for Distance Education (CDE) funded project to examine social software, libraries and distance learners. I intend to post regularly to the blog to update the team (and the world) on progress of this project. If you would like to read the project aims and objectives then please do project_summary.doc. And if you have any questions you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first phase of the project is really a literature review to see how libraries are using social software, which types of software they are making use of, and what applications the software has for enhancing the experience of distance learning students. Full time students tend to use libraries very much as a social space as well as a learning space. The recent trend for building ‘Information Commons’ at many universities in the US and Australiasia recognise that learning takes place in informal as well as formal environments and the need to have a space for people to interact and work collaboratively is extremely important. However, distance learning students tend to miss out on this experience. Although many are offered library support and access to electronic resources, this project hopes to investigate how new technologies can enhance their learning experience. Over the next 9 months we hope to find examples of libraries using social software. We’ll then go on to try out using some of these tools, and pilot them on real students studying as part of the University of London External Programme.
If you have any examples of interesting projects you’d like to share then please do get in touch.