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Literature review of use of Web 2.0 in HE

Evolving review of current literature in the area

Cloud created by:

Gráinne Conole
15 September 2009

This cloud has been set up as a space for our evolving review of the literature of the use of web 2.0 in HE. We will add more on the structure and links etc are they emerge. Our tentative structure for the report is:

  • Introduction and methodology of study
  • Key findings  – themes from empirically grounded literature / studies
    • Types of Web 2.0 (peer-collaboration, networking, grid technologies for eScience, eSocialScience, public and private)
    • Higher education and infromal learning: re-assessing boundaries?
    • E-research/e-scholarship, teaching and learning, blended models [c.f. the positionality of educational technologists in HE instituions]
    • Crowdsourcing in HE and OER platforms OERs
  • Discussion - opportunities, risks and policies: beyond the hype and sustainablity and media (information and skills) literacies
  • Recommendations and suggestions for future work

As our work develops we will provide a link to the evolving report itself. Contact details:

Extra content

The review was released to Higher Education Academy's Evidence Net site in September 2010. To access the full pdf click here

Giota Alevizou
11:33 on 4 October 2010

Embedded Content

Conole, G. and Alevizou, P. (2010) A literature review on the use of web 2.0 tools in Higher Education

Conole, G. and Alevizou, P. (2010) A literature review on the use of web 2.0 tools in Higher Education

added by Giota Alevizou


Gráinne Conole
1:24pm 15 September 2009

Giota I have added the IPTS review of e-learning 2.0 and also the NSF cyberlearning report and reference Jenkin's report. Also of course Downes' original 2006 paper.

Giota Alevizou
12:39pm 30 September 2009

Grainne, I have updated the structure above slightly. There's a plethora of resources, and a couple of issues arise regarding focus. Do we want to focus on reviewing existing empirically-grounded studies on the use of Web 2.0 in HE (experience from practice/use), or studies that review the potential drawing on smaller scale studies.   Some ideas come to mind here to draw distinctions among a) the use of collaborative open infrastructures sharing/building knowledge (e.g. grid techs, dept wikis, scholars' blogs) b) the use of social media as learning tools outside/within VLEs; c) OER development/use; d) formal and informal contexts. Finally, it should be interesting to draw distinctions between global/local contexts.

Giota Alevizou
12:47pm 30 September 2009

On further reflection we may want to focus our study on the use of social networking media in HE?

Giota Alevizou
3:54pm 30 September 2009

Just scimmed through the JISC evidence report 'Higher Education in a Web 2.0 world'. Great insight into learners' experiences. Maybe we could also use as a basis to complement/expand, while inviting reflective experiences?

Gráinne Conole
7:56am 3 October 2009

Yes I think focusing in on HE is a good idea and agree the JISC report would be a good starting point.

Gráinne Conole
11:04am 3 October 2009

Thanks for the link to the CERI-OCDE report Jordi, looks excellent and highly relevant!

Antonella Esposito
10:35am 4 October 2009

I think this can be a valuable resource:
Fitzgerald  et al. (2009), ‘Digital learning communities (DLC) : investigating the application of social software to support networked learning’
Available from the digital repository of Queensland University of Technology (Brisbane, Australia)

It’s the report of the DLC Project (funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council), exploring the role of social software and social networking in supporting peer learning in higher education. The project was carried out in three universities, in which a series of pilots were fostered, developped and evaluated, after a preliminary investigation on the use of social software for learning among students and staff.
Interesting strategic approach and some insightul considerations in their evaluation notes: see for instance when they refer to the centralized ICT services as an hindrance for faculty to be creative. And moreover when they recommend further investigation about how social media are perceived and used in different geographical areas: in their findings, US students use social networks differently from Australian ones.

Gráinne Conole
2:30pm 4 October 2009

Brilliant thanks Antonella - this looks excellent and just the kind of thing we were looking for!

Giota Alevizou
5:19pm 4 October 2009

Super, thanks very much Antonella. Very relevant indeed. I knew that Neil Selwyn from the Institute of Education/London knowledge lab has explored the uses of facebook by university students. His paper alongside with relevant work was published in a special issue by the Learning, Media and Technology journal. I posted the links above too. Some interesting  reflections/reviews of this special issue on Steve Wheeler's blog too.

Antonella Esposito
6:08pm 16 October 2009 (Edited 6:10pm 16 October 2009)

I think it could be worth taking into account the project (Lifelong Learning Programme)
e-JUMP 2.0 - Implementing e-Learning in everyday learning processes in higher and vocational education: the project is underway (to be completed within December 2010) and directly focussed on raising the digital
competences of teaching staff in higher and vocational education concentrating on elearning 2.0 applications, tools and methods. The initiative extensively adopts an action research approach and aims to identify success factors and obstacles that influence a wider adoption of new technologies. I retrieved the project website and a progress report at:

Antonella Esposito
7:19pm 18 November 2009

Proyecto Facebook is a collaborative  teaching and learning initiative carried out in 2009 by Alejandro Piscitelli (Universidad de Buenos Aires) with his students enrolled in Communication Sciences program. The project aims to foster collaborative research and production skills in students while using Facebook as an instrument and object of their study. The final product will be a video production. Piscitelli will present his work the next December in Barcelona, at the International Seminar on Open Social Learning - UNESCO chair.

An interview to prof. Piscielli, former CEO of the national portal ialso available.

Giota Alevizou
10:00am 19 November 2009

This is fantastic Antonella. I wish my Spanish was better to understand the range of descriptions on the site, so your introduction is very appropriate. I am looking forward to seeing Prof. Piscielli's at the Unesco Social Learning seminar.

Antonella Esposito
3:20pm 19 November 2009

Hi Giota, it would be great to see you in Barcelona, even if I'm not so sure I'll be able to join the UNESCO seminar. It would be interesting to collect resources also in other languages (at least in the most spread ones) because you can always discover different cultural and creative standpoints. Educational potentialities of Web 2.0 as a global phenomenon vs cultural localizatons is an issue I would like to study in depth. To face the syndrome of the 'not invented here', so easy to be catched in the university  which - as Piscitelli says in the interview - largely adopted press only 30 years after Gutenberg's invention!

Giota Alevizou
11:59am 9 December 2009 (Edited 10:29pm 14 December 2009)

Robert, thanks for adding the reference Exploring the role of social software in higher education. I added the link to your blog post. I was wondering if you can share a phf version of your chapter, or if you would like to summarise some of your key findings in this space. It would be great!

Jiri Pavlicek
4:03pm 19 January 2011

I have a question towards the final Report (very good reading). There is the statement on p.20: Yet, there appears to be a gap between the expertise between in continental Europe and in Anglo-Saxon countries.

Are there any figures for this? In which direction? Which countries do you mean exactly?

I have a similar opinion as for the e-pedagogy or e-education. However based on indirect evidence only, as keynote speakers and speakers in conferences e.g.

Gráinne Conole
4:09pm 19 January 2011

Glad you like the report! Hmm not sure I can answer that question as that section was done by Giota. I think she did provide some references to this though?

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