Tag Archives: Social Media

Social Media in Education

Technology in Pedagogy, No. 16, April 2013
Written by Charina Ong (cdtclo@nus.edu.sg) based on the presentation notes of John Larkin

What is Social Media Anyway?

John Larkin started the session by asking how “connected” are you as a teacher? John Seely Brown posits, “The Internet is not simply providing information, but access to people”. A common definition of social media may thus be: “a blending of technology and social interaction for the co-creation of value.”

In the session, John Larkin showcased several social media exemplars as used in NUS and various Singapore organizations. He then presented various social media tools and shared his experiences on how he used Blogs to teach History.

Why is Social Media Important?

Social media provides rich learning opportunities to foster students’ digital skills and talents. Employers value employees with technology skills that can be readily utilized to create value, and be able to contribute and communicate well. They are not looking for exam results anymore. The challenge for educators therefore, is to be able to teach students on using social media effectively:  to benefit the community and the society; to deepen their skillset and widen their experience; how to connect with their peers and more importantly be able to develop a skillset that employers are looking for.

How is Social Media Being Used?

There are various social media tools available, the list is endless. As educators, we need to foster developing mature competencies within the students so that they can use these tools to achieve meaningful outcomes.

John showcased examples from various disciplines on how social media is used in education. For example, faculty from Business schools and Language Communication often use Facebook and Twitter to facilitate communication and collaboration. Others use Flickr to exhibit their work. Blogs are used for writing collaboration, design, and sometimes even for programming. Line allows student teams to quickly collaborate during field trips exchanging images, video, audio media messages and make free voice calls. Linkedin is another great and sophisticated tool to connect to people related to one’s own field, and as John put it, it is the ‘thinking person’s Facebook’. Google plus is a multilingual social networking site, similar to Facebook, and lastly, Evernote, an excellent note taking tool that can be used to collaborate with peers.

With this great variety of tools readily available, educators have to be mindful of what they hope to achieve when using a particular tool. In their article on Social software for learning: what is it, why use it? Leslie and Landon write “The adoption of social software is not synonymous with the effective delivery and assessment of quality teaching and learning.” It is therefore essential to balance and plan ahead while carefully considering why and how to use the tools appropriately.

The following below are some examples on how social media is used effectively: 

NUS Exemplar

Sivasothi, a lecturer from Department of Biological Sciences, has been using blogs to communicate with his students and the general public for the past ten years and facilitates and encourages connection and communication between his students and the public.

Originally students submitted their assignments, research, tasks, etc to the lecturer allowing only the teacher and student to read. To maximise the impact and to create greater student ownership, Siva asks students to write about their research and use social media to communicate their findings, publish the result of their field trips, and photographs in Biodiversity class blog.

Students take ownership over their blog entries enabling them to develop a sense of responsibility over the information they upload as it is not only for the eyes of the instructor but their peers and external community. These entries also allow them to hone their communication skills when they express their thoughts, skills, knowledge, and attitude from a framework that the public can understand. This also led Siva into organizing guided talks around the mangroves (Kent Ridge, Pasir Ris, etc.) with his students. This gave his students the opportunity to discuss on their research with the general and no longer merely articulating their work in terms of writing a dissertation, an assignment, or task that only the lecturer would understand. They are now articulating their research, findings, knowledge, and passion in a way that the general public would understand. This is a good example of using social media at its best with the student establishing connection not only with the teacher but also their peers and the general public. This also enhances the employability skills that are necessary in their future workplace.

John Larkin’s Experience

John shared prime resource materials in his history class using WordPress on how he uses social media and the way he encourages his students to use these social media tools to collaborate and communicate. “I choose an area that I’m passionate about and have knowledge of and start publishing about it using WordPress as a blogging platform. My knowledge and passion eliminate a layer of stress and the students utilize these resources.

I get my secondary 2 students to write their stories, imagining they live in the past and I ask them to publish it online. These students vary in skills- I have students with severe learning disability, they mix with other students who are capable. I tell them to take a moment from history and write a story. They were using WordPress as a publishing tool to express their views about Black day. Students don’t just skim the surface but they are thinking about the subject matter, writing and publishing. Their peers, as well as their parents and the community see this. They think deep and reflect on how they can utilize this fully.” says John.

How Do I Get Started: Next Steps

John Larkin offered these tips to get you started with your social media journey:

  • Take small steps and choose part of your curriculum particularly you’re passionate about;
  • Select the tools equipped for you, the one you can use most effectively;
  • Work with small cohorts (30-40 Post graduate students);
  • Collaborate with your colleagues; and
  • Delegate to the students.

Q&A Session

Following the presentation by John Larkin, a lively discussion ensued and listed below are some questions from the subsequent Q & A session.

Q: A month ago, a person on social media challenged the court decision that the judge had made. The person was prosecuted by the court because he is not allowed to express his opinion and challenge the court. Social media in my perspective, in order to change the world, you need to have freedom to express your views and not be punished. What is your opinion about this?

JL: I don’t have a direct answer to your question. People in Australia have more freedom to express their views as compared to Singapore which is completely a different environment. In classroom context, I teach students how to use social media responsibly. I tell my students to think deeply about the things they write and publish. We have to teach our students the right way of using social media. We need to teach them to think deep and think about the tools that they want to use.

Q: You mentioned that your students publish their own stories online. Have you ever thought of getting some historians to come in to critique or provide feedback to the students?

JL: Yes, at the JC1 level, history class that I’m teaching, students have communicated with a group of Archeologist blogging about Pompeii. Students get to interact with them, getting comments, etc. I believe that bringing experts into the classroom is important.

Q: Social media is public and people can follow you. If student posts something, it may affect people’s view about the way we educate our students. How can we manage this and how can educators be exemplars?

JL: You can apply demerit points if students go off track. Students in general are quite responsible. I was first reluctant to have my students to publish their work, but I realized that they were as good as me. We often forget that we need to give them some responsibilities as part of their learning. What I will suggest is that whatever you choose to set up for your class – make it a closed group discussion. For example, Facebook, consider using a page or group, and then only open it to the immediate group.

Using Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) to encourage peer learning and learner autonomy

Technology in Pedagogy, No. 6, October 2011
Written by Kiruthika Ragupathi

Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) are becoming more widely used by educators who are responding to the e-Learning needs of their students (Harwood, 2011).  The idea of a PLE recognises that learning is ongoing and seeks to provide tools to support that learning thereby enabling individualized learning. A PLE, therefore, is a combination of the formal and informal tools and processes used to curate, reflect and critically evaluate the information obtained.

PLEs enable “non-formal learning within a formal learning context”, says Mr Harwood from the Centre for English Language Communication (CELC) at NUS. In this session, he shared his experience on how and why his centre introduced SymbalooEDU as a PLE platform to support students in their learning of English for academic purposes. Then he went on to provide insights from a pilot study on the PLE platform.

Platform for peer and independent learning

The current situation

The online version of Self-Access English Learning Facility (ITSELF) was set up to provide materials to help students improve on their grammar, vocabulary, listening, reading and writing skills and thereby encourage independent and lifelong learning. In recent years however, they found that students were not accessing the facility – students were not aware of it or just did not use it.  The main reasons reported were the materials were not easy to access and not as engaging as they could be.

Needs Analysis

With the support of the CELC e-learning committee, Mr Harwood conducted a needs analysis survey of 600 CELC learners. It was clear from the findings that students prefer mobile internet devices.  The laptop computer was by far the most common way students (97%) accessed the internet and 42.3% of them accessed it on their smart phones. The needs analysis showed that students also learn in many different spaces- 41.2% accessed and learned online in retail Wi-Fi hotspots while over 20% used it on public transport. With regard to the preference of using online materials for study purposes, 91.5% of respondents preferred a mix of materials that have been prescribed by the tutor and those that they perceive as important. However, 78.1% claimed that they need help finding good websites to support their learning. Most students (92.3%) also indicated that they prefer customizing the available online course resources in one space and organising the categories to their individual preference.

Thus, it was important for the team to construct an online space featuring specially selected websites, video tutorials and other resources required for the course that would allow their students to personalize the information provided.

PLE for peer learning and sharing

Wheeler (2010) summarized the PLE (as shown in Fig 1) and suggested it not only encompasses the personal web tools and personal learning networks (connecting people through social network) but it takes in the experiences as well as learning through other formal media contexts like the TV, music, paper based materials.

Anatomy of a PLE

Figure 1: Anatomy of a PLE

According to Anderson (2006), “A PLE is a unique interface in the owners’ digital environment. It integrates their personal and professional interests (including their formal and informal learning), connecting these via a series of syndicated and distributed feeds.” Clearly, PLEs are systems that help learners take control of and manage their own learning. Hence, Harmelen (2007) suggests that teachers can use PLEs to “provide support for learners to set their own learning goals, manage their learning; managing both content and process, communicate with others in the process of learning and thereby achieve learning goals.”

That was exactly what Mr Harwood with the CELC e-learning committee set out to do, he facilitated the construction of one such environment, curating content that simultaneously allowed students to peer share and peer tutor the newly learned knowledge in a social environment. He shared an example of how a peer sharing approach worked well in his classes. In a business communication module, one of his students shared a fantastic resource on presentation skills. Using Facebook as a media, Mr Harwood ‘liked’ that resource which then prompted his students to use it as a learning resource. This further paved the way for further discussions in the class and allowed students to exchange ideas and share their experiences on how to improve presentation skills.                                                                     

Selection of an appropriate tool – SymbalooEDU

SymbalooEDU is a software application that enables learners to organize, integrate and share online content in one setting or Personal Learning Environment. The visual interface and ease of aggregating content and sharing it makes SymbalooEDU a great resource for teachers and instructors, says Mr Harwood. The platform also allows educators to create mixes of tailored resources and share these mixes with students (Harwood, 2011).

SymbalooEDU works by enabling users to simply construct customizable tiles which are linked to URLs of online resources. Once a grid of tiles (or webmix) is created, it can be shared with others via email. The application has a grid layout, with color icons (called tiles) within each space. The user can organize the tiles however they like and a search box at the top of the grid allows users to quickly search for specific resources or add them to their SymbalooEDU webmix. Thus, the platform allows educators to create mixes of tailored resources and share these mixes with students and allows students in turn to easily access, share and update content. One of the main advantages of this environment is that it allows for hosting almost every other platform within this space – learning management systems (IVLE, Blackboard), social networks, Facebook, Twitter, mySpace, Collaborative cloud tools, Google docs, Dropbox, Integrated curriculum activities such as blogging (Harwood, 2011).

Constructing the webmix

Their team discussed the content and materials of the Intensive English Programme (IEP) courses offered at CELC and identified the following five elements of the curriculum for inclusion in the webmix:

  1. Academic writing: introduction, overview, approaches, style.
  2. Essay writing: Thesis statements, paragraphs, cohesion, compare and contrast, referencing and so on.
  3. Vocabulary: collocation, vocabulary, phrasal verbs.
  4. Grammar: pronouns, verbs, tenses, noun phrases, determiners etc.
  5. Resources: dictionaries, writing guides, academic wordlists.

In order to make the webmix easy to navigate and visually attractive, different coloured tiles were used for different topics.



Mr Harwood explained how two icons were selected from the ‘symbalooEDU’ collection to signify the type of resource tile – ‘book’ was chosen to signify text-based content and ‘a speaker at lectern’ was chosen to signify video content.  They also added social media tiles for Facebook and twitter along with the CELC language learning portal. This was then shared with the IEP students at the start of their IEP courses.

Pedagogical Advantages that PLEs Offer

  1. Easily organise and share information
    SymbalooEDU is visually very attractive and simple for customizing, organizing and sharing information. It is also very easy to use, even for those with minimal IT knowledge, in order to create an effective compilation of resources, mixed in a way they believe is most useful. This allows instructors and learners to co-construct PLEs, which should provide support for learners to set their own learning goals, manage their learning, and communicate with others in the process of learning (Harwood, 2011).
  2. Single learning space across courses  
    Single learning space supports formal and informal learning across the various courses. Students are able to set up their own learning environment and space by reusing and remixing content based on their own needs and interests. Such an environment encourages students to see learning as inter-related, connecting both their personal and professional spaces to facilitate deeper learning.
  3. Gives learners’ control of their learning
    Rather than placing controls on what and how students learn, PLEs give them control over their learning.  Though students receive support and guidance from tutors, they are also empowered to set their own learning objectives and manage both the content and the process of their learning.
  4. Promote peer learning by bringing the learning environment to students’ social space
    Instructors should embed social learning opportunities into courses to facilitate peer learning and allow the PLE to evolve with the learners’ needs and use. Learners should be encouraged to communicate and share information, ideas, knowledge and resources using social media. For example, the use of blogs and class Facebook pages will help students develop reflective practice or constructive feedback skills and provide them with opportunities for non-formal peer learning.
Take away points:

  • 16-24 tiles within a webmix so as not to overwhelm learners with too many resources.
  • Keep the tiles simple and resources direct – specific resources rather than simply linking to website home pages, where students can easily get overwhelmed and lose interest.
  • Share and update the webmix through email or using social media like Facebook and Twitter.


SymbalooEDU is a very useful tool to support learning. However, Mr Harwood recommends educators to:

  • Embed Social media into the curriculum
  • Provide sufficient training to the course instructors
  • Refer to webmix content in class to promote awareness and use of the platform.

Thus, it is important to collect quality learning resources, curate, categorise them effectively and make them easily accessible to students anywhere, anytime (easily achieved through SymbalooEDU).

Summary from the Discussion

A lively discussion followed Mr Harwood’s presentation that touched on issues related to using social media in classes. Many participants were positive about the benefits of using this tool to support learning. One of the participants said that he had registered for SymbalooEDU during the session itself and had already started planning his course for the next semester. Another suggested that he would use it to showcase exemplary work of his students.  There were others who pointed out that switching to this format will solve a lot of problems that they have been facing with Delicious, a social bookmarking tool, while others felt that this will act as a good motivation for their students.

Q & A Session

Q:  How do your students actually use it? Do they bring the webmixes into their own account?
CH: Once the webmixes are shared, students can integrate them into their own SymbalooEDU PLE, where they are free to use, add and share content with their peers. They can also customize it with resources related to their personal interest. 
Q: Can students forward these webmixes to others?
CH: Yes, very easily. Students can use one webmix as a starting point, customize it to suit their class/course needs, and share it with the entire class. 
Q: Are there other specific PLE platforms designed to be used as PLEs?
CH: There are other platforms but they are not as user friendly as SymbalooEDU. This platform is unique because it is really user friendly with widgets and share functions as well as being visually attractive and easy to customize.
Q: How about privacy when you use Facebook as a tool within your webmix to generate discussion?
CH: Privacy has not been an issue.  I use class Facebook pages setup exclusively for the classes – the students cannot see your private Facebook page and it is not necessary for you to friend them at all. The advantage of using social media such as Facebook is that, used effectively,  it can encourage peer learning. 
Q: How easy is it to update the webmix?

It can be done simply and quickly using the UPDATE button.

Q: Have you done an evaluation to understand how learning has happened when students started using these webmixes?
CH: As the PLE environment enables more informal learning, it becomes incredibly difficult to measure.  How do you measure the impact of informal learning on a business presentation? It is very difficult but you observe the results when eavesdropping on student group discussions and so on. Similarly, based on our observation, the usage of webmixes by students has increased students’ level of engagement and interest.  It has also received good student feedback through the qualitative comments in the year-end survey. 
Q: How has your role changed?
CH: I now focus even more on creating learning environments that enable students to construct knowledge and negotiate meaning autonomously through self and peer learning. I have also become a “learner along with my learners”. Students introduce new ideas and resources that they can easily relate to, which I would otherwise may not have found. This makes them more engaged, and I have become more engaged thinking about how to facilitate and bring back these resources into the classroom.  It is also important to understand that students use it the way you model it, making it increasingly important for me to reflect on my own practice. 
Q: Do you think you can do away with lectures?
CH: Those of you who have heard of or used the Khan academy will understand the idea of ‘flipped classrooms’. One of the greatest benefits of ‘flipping’ is that overall interaction increases: teacher to student and student to student.  Since the role of the teacher has changed from “presenter of content” to a “facilitator of content learning”, more time can be spent understanding and facilitating the process. This will allow us to use classroom time more effectively answering questions, working with small groups, and guiding the learning of each student individually.


Anderson, T. (2006). PLE’s versus LMS: Are PLEs ready for Prime time? Retrieved October 18, 2011, from http://terrya.edublogs.org/2006/01/09/ples-versus-lms-are-ples-ready-for-prime-time/

Harwood, C. (2011). Review of SymbalooEDU, the Personal Learning Environment Platform. Retrieved October 18, 2011, from http://blog.nus.edu.sg/eltwo/2011/03/27/a-review-of-symbalooedu-the-personal-learning-environment-platform/

Van Harmelen, M. (2006). Personal Learning Environments. In Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT’06). Retrieved October 18, 2011, from http://csdl.computer.org/comp/proceedings/icalt/2006/2632/00/263200815.pdf

Wheeler, S. (2010). Anatomy of a PLE. Retrieved October 18, 2011, from http://steve-wheeler.blogspot.com/2010/07/anatomy-of-ple.html

(Research and references provided by Chris Harwood)

Enhancing Your Academic Reputation with Social Media

Technology in Pedagogy, No. 4, August 2011
Written by Kiruthika Ragupathi

Social media are “web-based services that allow individuals to establish a public profile and articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection. Social media can help facilitate the meeting of strangers but also allows individuals to maintain and/or strengthen their current, off line social networks (Boyd & Ellison, 2008). In the session, A/P Chan talked specifically about exploiting the power of social media to enhance one’s research and academic reputation.

A/P Chan started his session highlighting how social media has quickly becoming ubiquitous online and that the biggest penetrations are Facebook and Twitter. Social media has been widely used for advertising. It allows you to interact not only with the advertisers but also with your friends. Prof Chan pointed out tweets as an example that allows individuals to hold discussions on the tweeted message. Thus, Facebook and Twitter allows the cyber-word of mouth propagation.

What about academics? How can they exploit this cyber-word of mouth propagation? Prof Chan cited two examples on how academics can use social media to their advantage.

  1. Firstly, he pointed out that academics have realised that they need not wait years to get their publications cited. These days, all major academic publishers have a strong presence on Twitter. This enables publishers to review the publications on Twitter and thereby create a lot of response on the publication.
  2. The second example he cited was on how social media helped a doctorate student in his research work. The student uploaded photos of fishes onto his Facebook page and got his friends and others to help identify the fishes.

A/P Chan focused mainly on how academic reputation can be achieved through research – recognition of work, number of times publication/work is cited, invitations to give talks at conferences, invitations to editorial board and Research grants. 

It is common to do the research, publish the work and wait for others to cite the work. However, this takes a long time though it is very important to get the publications published and cited early. This is where social media can help. 

Wizfolio has two components where you have a My Wizfolio and a Public Profile page. My Wizfolio is a private page where you can share to a selected group of people and the Public Profile is open to the Public. You can share the information with one-click using the Facebook or Twitter icons. After you share, you can view the number of times the information is viewed by others.

Q & A Session

Following the presentation by Adjunct Professor Casey Chan, a discussion session followed. Listed below are some questions from the subsequent Q & A session.

Q:  You main focus today was on how to enhance academic reputation by promoting one’s own publications. Do you have any thoughts on how this can promote interactions with our students?
CC: My focus today was on enhancing your academic reputation by promoting your publications to enable it to be cited more frequently and at a faster pace. However, the earlier sessions in this Technology in Pedagogy Series on Facebook, Blogs and GoogleDocs focused on promoting interaction with the students.
Q: How effective is WizFolio when it is combined with Linkedin?
CC: Linkedin is like a professional version of Facebook but Wizfolio does not have a built-in link to Linkedin yet. However, you could use your profile page as a home page that can be but there are some limitations, as Linkedin does not allow you to leave their page.

Facebook for Teaching and Learning

Technology in Pedagogy, No. 1, April 2011
Written by Kiruthika Ragupathi

Over the years since its inception, Facebook (FB) has become the social network site of choice by University students. Selwyn (2007) describes how Facebook has become an integral part of the “behind the scenes” college experience. Singapore has 77.8% internet penetration and a high usage rate for Facebook.  

By using Facebook, instructors can take advantage of and use the student space, says Erik Mobrand, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the National University of Singapore.  He teaches on topics including the politics of development, social policy, popular culture and politics, and political finance. 

In the session, Dr Mobrand shared his experience with using Facebook in Honours modules over the past years and he suggested some ideas for getting started.

       fb-06apr2011-1     fb-06apr2011-3     

Collaboration in syllabus writing

In the year 2008, Dr Mobrand had the students in his seminar-style Honours module class on “Money and Politics” to prepare syllabus and readings for his class (Class size: 25 students). He gave a list of core readings and illustrative readings that is important for the class to get started.

Every week he got two students to lead the seminar rather than him hijacking the discussion. These students would then assign readings – video clips, images, journal articles, or papers – for the entire class and is shared with their peers. For this sharing and for enabling students to do the class work in their familiar space, he set up a Facebook group for his class. The group was a closed group and invited his students to join the group.

The results? He transformed his students from learners to teachers, which improve outcomes.  His students made connections between concepts in class and the real world with in the Facebook environment. The informality helped students to express themselves better and also broke down the boundaries – the academic and social boundaries.

Pedagogical advantages that Facebook offers

Dr Mobrand highlighted the following features that he liked and prompted him to explore using Facebook in his class:

    1. Engage students in a discussion

Dr Mobrand assigns two students to lead the discussion. These students post the relevant reading materials and puts down a description on their plan for the discussion. Students engage in the discussion before the face-to-face (F2F) class.  Dr Mobrand then takes a few minutes before each seminar to check the discussion on FB and this would enable him to take the discussion easily from FB into the F2F seminars. He also awards marks for student participation with a few percentage points.

    1. Allow students to easily post and view  video clips and pictures

Facebook allows for posting and sharing information with the ability to include notes, and upload videos and pictures. He realised that students found materials that they can easily relate to. This fosters student interactivity and creates student-generated content. Dr Mobrand indicated his liking of a clean and simple interface which allows for easy sharing as large percent of students are using it and will get their materials with a click within their space.

    1.  Bring the learning environment to students’ social space

Dr Mobrand felt that FB increases accessibility and breaks down false boundaries. He also sees that as he moves from the academic space like the IVLE to the social space, the need for students to move back and forth between academic and social becomes unnecessary. In the examples he showcased, he pointed out that most of his class discussions happened in the middle of the night. Hence breaking down the boundary between academic and social and moving into the social space of students makes it easy for him to capture their interest.

As students are socializing in their space, they come across interesting articles and will immediately post them for the class to read. Students can easily access FB on mobile devices, so using FB in the class allows them to participate in academic activities while on the move. Dr Mobrand felt that this would not happen if they were to post in academic spaces like the LMS. This informality helps students to express themselves better.

Summary of Feedback/Suggestions from the Discussion
Following the presentation by Dr Mobrand, a lively discussion followed touching on issues related to using social media in classes – both small and large classes, comparing using Facebook to the learning management systems or blogs, and forming ideas on how they could use Facebook in their classes.

  • When a participant wondered if it would be feasible to use FB for large classes, other participants proposed using tutorial groups to create individual FB groups. Then each tutorial group facilitated by a tutor could discuss their issues on their FB group. Finally, a class FB group could then be used to post the summary of the individual FB discussions. This will then allow the instructor and the class to view post before a F2F class discussion.
  • Some participants using blogs felt that they could supplement their blogs with FB groups for sharing of information as blogs act more as a platform for reflection and is expository while FB is not.
  • One participant said that he would try using FB during classes, to enable the shy students in his class to participate.
  • Others suggested using it upload video presentation of students and allow students to review their peer’s presentation.

Finally, it was acknowledged that students are using FB for academic purposes on their own. Dr Mobrand noticed that students were holding a mock diplomatic meeting in another colleague’s class using FB groups for coordinating within their team. This was something that students had done on their own without any instruction from the lecturer. It goes to show that many students see FB as a natural way of communicating with their peers on academic matters even if instructors do not command them to do so. Hence, it is clear that students are already using FB for learning purposes and so it is important for instructors to exploit it to the benefit of both the teachers and students.

Q & A Session

Following the presentation by Dr Mobrand, a lively discussion ensued and listed below are some questions from the subsequent Q & A session.

Q:  As learning becomes socialized, will students get distracted? Will the quality of learning get affected?
EM: Facebook is a distraction. But, I favour distraction and want them to be distracted and we are actually taking advantage of that distraction. Instead of showing videos to their friends, they can become distracted with our class happenings.
Q: How do you mark student participation?
EM: I mark student participation in FB similar to that of participation during in-class discussions. I generally look for the quality of the responses – looking for students who express interestingly and the frequency at which such interesting responses are posted. 
Q: Do you restrict the length of the posts or comments?
EM: No. I do not set a limit to the comments and posts. As for the length of the comments, lengthy discussions are quite common in F2F class discussions; students do give lengthy responses and if we don’t encourage those, students would stop participating.  So, the same would apply here as well. But in general, good comments are concise. 
Q: How much do you control the discussions in FB?
EM: I am okay if the discussion goes slightly off the topic but I will intervene when that happens too much. In the early days, when interesting debates came up, I used to intervene, get involved in the participation and offer my comment. Once I wrote my comments, the discussion usually would die down soon.  After that experience, I slowed down on commenting immediately. However, I read the comments and pick out useful things that are important and bring them into the classroom for F2F discussion. 
Q: How often do you initiate a discussion?
EM: Usually the two students leading the discussion that week will initiate the discussion and the discussion happens until the F2F seminar is held, after which it slowly sizzles out.
Q: How long do you keep the comments? Do you showcase good comments/posts?
EM: I keep some comments for my own reference and clean them up from time to time. However, I have never tried showcasing good comments for future use.  But we do a great deal of discussion on comments and posts. 
Q: How different is the discussion from using chat and discussion in IVLE?
EM: Similar but this environment is more receptive and attractive as it is trendier among students. IVLE appears to be more of an academic platform for students. Using discussions in an LMS environment is moving students into the locked-down mode which removes the very openness and the ease in usage while in FB. 
Q: How much additional work is required to use Facebook?
EM: Thinks it requires less time and work. The time taken Is for me to read the comments before class. But it is time well spent, as it gives me more sense of students’ understanding and allows me to prepare for class. This gives me a good idea of their understanding of the reading posted and does not require to guess on what is working and what isn’t. 
Q: What are some problems that you have encountered?
EM: What’s gone wrong – I did not face any huge problems. But I have heard from colleagues in secondary schools that students write inappropriate comments. And recently it has also been reported in the newspapers that students may get confused and post personal comments into the FB group.
Q: Did you encounter resistance from your students? Did they feel it was an invasion of their privacy?
EM: Students did not think it was an invasion of privacy as I allowed them to create fake account specific for the class.

We sincerely welcome your feedback on this session and new ideas on how you have used or would use Facebook for academic purposes.