Jared agreed to my posting his response so here goes...
"I’ve been reading your blog posts about CourseFeed and I’d like to address some of the concerns you bring up. Firstly, I appreciate your passionate support in e-learning and learning in general. Any discussion about the direction of learning is beneficial to learners and to companies like mine that attempt to add valuable tools to the learning experience. Please allow me to address your listed issues from your most recent post - http://dmupathfinder.blogspot.com/2008/01/facebook-blackboard.html.
- Yes, these are big claims. Introducing a social element to existing e-learning platforms has to happen. Social learning is a term that is too broad to be defined by an application like CourseFeed. CourseFeed is the first application that leverages both the power of e-learning platforms (i.e. Blackboard) and online social networks (i.e. Facebook) to create an enhanced social/learning experience online. While we make no claim to have invented social learning (this has gone on since the first classrooms and before) CourseFeed comes closer to mirroring the classroom experience online primarily because of its wide adoption among students. CourseFeed’s integration with both Blackboard and Facebook make online learning social, which is quite different than requiring students to comment on a discussion board in exchange for a grade. In fact, that’s what’s great (and powerful) about CourseFeed – students choose to access learning content and interact with each other when they use CourseFeed.
- In short, yes, students want this. At beta-sites between 15% and 20% of all students started using CourseFeed within 2 weeks. I don’t know of any other e-learning tool that is that widely and quickly adopted by students. The best part about CourseFeed is that students choose to use it – it’s not like a new enterprise system, purchased by the school, and adopted by no one.
- Every time a school installs an extension to their enterprise learning management system questions should be asked about the impact on network performance. CourseFeed was designed in such a way that it reduces load on the server. Updates are made to courses and feeds are sent to Facebook users on a one-to-many basis. When one student’s course is updated that update goes to all students enrolled in the course. The burden is much lower than if all students were to login to Blackboard and click through the course looking for new content.
You pose great questions. I hope I’ve been able to put some of your concerns at ease and I’d like to make myself available if you have any other questions, concerns, or feedback about CourseFeed."