Making Connections – OU Facebook applications

April 30, 2008

Tony Hirst is presenting on the FaceBook application in a pink “on-brand” T-shirt to contrast with his off-brand work on Facebook. Facebook is a huge success (though I feel some people I know are drifting away from it) The OU is well represented on Facebook with ome of the motivation getting away from the formal OU systems. So part of what was behind Tony’s work was to proide something into this informal space. The application used a design principle that there was to be no use of records but did build on voluntary actions. What is great is that they extended this to include OpenLearn. The use has grown rapidly to about 5000 out of 6-7000 OU users on facebook.

This unofficial data collection has drawn out links that show intentions – potentially very useful.

Tony had very little time to describe his other applictaion – my OU story. Little daily messages and mood indicators. Very nice. These can be found by searching facebook for oustory or course profiles with more info as always on

A question was asked about appearing in facebook as a tutor – Tony’s view is to join but make sure that it is clear that this is a social space for you as well as them – just like meeting people in conferences.

Paul Lefrere suggested that this could scale up by as a way to manage identity as a neat application.

President for student association runs the social side of FirstClass. The openness of systems can go against the wishes of course teams – making it awkward for them. The answer is that such sites have their own rules.


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