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Wednesday, October 26 • 1:45pm - 3:15pm
Using Facebook as a Learning Management System

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Many instructors are walking away from established learning management systems in favor of open source platforms like Moodle and Sakai.


A main concern among instructors teaching online courses is how to handle the presentation of course content and the management of students.  A common solution is for instructors to adopt a learning management system (LMS).  A problem is that many LMSs are not intuitive to the instructors nor the students and the learning curve of the LMS can get in the way of the actual course content.  Furthermore, instructors can feel bound by limitations of the LMS and feel the need to alter their courses to fit the system.  This is an unnecessary constraint to learning.

The key, then, is to locate an LMS that is simple and intuitive, yet robust and dynamic to be able to successfully handle the online course.  Institutions have attempted for over a decade to addresses these concerns. 

Facebook, on the other hand, is already used by a majority of students.  They are  familiar with it and are usually excited about using it to handle a course.  It is where most of their network already is, including classmates and instructors.  College students feel they can begin building their professional relationships, while at the same time doing course work in Facebook.  This feels practical and innovative to them.  Communicating with the instructor and classmates is streamlined and seamless as emails, inbox messages, and wall postings are all used within the Facebook LMS.

Many instructors are also familiar with Facebook, though they may not realize its abilities to serve as an LMS.  With some simple understandings and manipulations, while incorporating some outside software and hardware applications, Facebook can become a powerful, easy-to-use LMS.

This session will feature a demonstration of ten college courses which the presenter has taught over the last year, using Facebook to handle the online course content and management.  Students were provided the syllabus and the course calendar in Facebook.  They were also divided into teams to work on specific projects.  Their main source of contact and communication was Facebook.  Assignments and course readings were managed through Facebook as well. 

The presenter will share where Facebook was strong and weak when being used as an LMS.  The instructor will also share data collected from the experience, including students' attitudes, perceptions, excitements, and concerns with the process.

A discussion on how to employ open educational resources and open licenses will be included.

The presenter will address issues such as how FERPA concerns were handled, specifically with the grading of assignments.  A larger discussion of privacy concerns, including how to handle online class environments with students who are minors, will be included.  The integration of other social media aspects, such as using blogs for assignments, will also be addressed.  The instructor used the Livescribe audio recording smartpen to document class sessions and integrate them into the online class environment.  This process will be demonstrated and discussed.  There will be time to discuss attendees' questions and scenarios for their specific courses.


Wednesday October 26, 2011 1:45pm - 3:15pm MDT
White Pine, Painted Horse, Arrowhead

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