[ECAR 2007 Winter] Nicole Ellison – Facebook Use On Campus

Nicole Ellison, from Michigan State University, is talking on Facebook Use on Campus: A Social Capital Perspective on Social Network Sites. Social network sites allow individuals to: construct a profile, articulate a list of other users that they’re connected to, and view and traverse their list of connections and those of others. In Facebook people … Continue reading “[ECAR 2007 Winter] Nicole Ellison – Facebook Use On Campus”

Advertisement

Nicole Ellison, from Michigan State University, is talking on Facebook Use on Campus: A Social Capital Perspective on Social Network Sites.

Social network sites allow individuals to: construct a profile, articulate a list of other users that they’re connected to, and view and traverse their list of connections and those of others.

In Facebook people are primarily articulating an existing offline network, as opposed to trolling for new connections. An estimated 79-95% of all undergrads have Facebook accounts.

Who’s using Facebook? White students more likely (Hispanic students more likely to use MySpace). Students who live at home less likely to use social network sites.

When are students using Facebook? Not substituting for f2f time – use is less during weekends, for example. During summer it’s higher – when they’re not together.

Did a series of surveys of MSU undergrads, interviews and cognitive walk-throughs, and automated capture of web content.

What are students doing on Facebook?

  • Engaging in online self-presentation – going to be an increasingly important skill as digital citizens.
  • Engaging in social behavior: converting latent tiees to weak ties; maintaining existing relationships; resurrecting past relationships
  • Converting latent ties to weak ties – ties that are technically possible but not yet activated socially – e.g. someone who’s in a large lecture class with me but I haven’t spoken to yet. FB makes it easy to find out about these people, through their profile. Hypothesize that having that kind of social info about people lowers barriers to f2f contact. FB enables managing a large network of weak ties.
  • Maintaining relationships – students use FB to remember phone numbers or dorm room numbers (interesting thoughts wrt our directories).
  • Resurrecting past relationships – maintaining contact with high school friends.

Students surveyed said they had an average of over 250 FB friends and around 150 friends at that campus, and about a third of those are actual friends.

Social capital – benefits we reap from our relationships with others. Like other forms of capital it has real value. Bridging social capital is linked to weak ties – provides useful information or new perspectives for one another, but typically not emotional support. Bonding social capital reflects strong ties with family and close friends – support network.

Survey items about FB intensity. Facebook intensity is a good predictor of bridging social capital. Bridging social capital may be especially important in the period of emerging adulthood (18-25). They found that FB helps students with low esteem build bridging social capital more than students with high self esteem. In 2007 students reported 4 hours Internet use a day and 54 minutes a day on FB.

Stanford had a course (CS377W) on Creating Engaging Facebook Apps – two of the top five facebook apps were from this course.

[ECAR 2007 Winter] Robert Kraut – Conversation and Commitment in Online Communities

Robert Kraut is the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Human-Computer Interaction in the Business School at Carnegie Mellon. It’s interesting to study online communities because the interactions are exposed and documented. Defining success: – Success is multidementional: transactional (did your question get answered?, were resources exchanged?); individual (was commitment developed?); and group (did it successfully … Continue reading “[ECAR 2007 Winter] Robert Kraut – Conversation and Commitment in Online Communities”

Robert Kraut is the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Human-Computer Interaction in the Business School at Carnegie Mellon.

It’s interesting to study online communities because the interactions are exposed and documented.

Defining success:

– Success is multidementional: transactional (did your question get answered?, were resources exchanged?); individual (was commitment developed?); and group (did it successfully recruit and retain members, and persist over time?).

Developing Commitment:

Commitment develops ov er time, with early phase especially fragile, and it’s a bi-directional process. There’s a cost-benefit analysis.

It’s rational for groups to be skeptical of newcomers. Newcomers take resources from existing members. The group is more likely to be welcoming if they perceive newcomers as”deserving”. Thesis: individuals may use self-revealing introductions to signal both legitimacy and investment.

He’s looking at research questions about whether groups ignore newcomers and whether conversational strategies encourage group members to pay attention to newcomers. Looked at 99 Usenet groups, around 40k messages. They’ve seen that groups respond less to newcomers across the board, particularly in political and hobby groups. They then used machine learning to analyze messages to find self-introductory messages. Attempt to predict whether a given message will get a reply. Found that newcomers with a self-introduction are treated as well as old-timers without one. They found that messages with a group-oriented introduction (“I’ve been lurking here for a while…”) almost doubled the chance that a message would get a reply.

I wonder how this connects with the public profiles like in Facebook?

When will indivduals “join”?

Individuals evaluate potential benefits from the group. The reactions they get from initial attempts to engage the group will be especially meaningful. Hypothesis is that people will be more likely to continue to participate if people respond to them, and if the reply comes from people with higher status in the group and if they are positive in attitude. Found that only 20% of newcomers who don’t get a reply to their initial message are seen again, while 40% of those that do get a reply are active subsequently. The idea of the “welcoming committee”, like Wikipedia has, is very useful in developing commitment. The more central the replier is to the group, the more powerful it is for developing commitment of the newcomer. The tone of the welcoming language also has an effect.

I asked whether they’ve done any work in looking at the formation of new online communities and what factors might lead to success. It’s hard to research the formation of new communities because it’s hard to catch communities at the moment of formation. The problem with starting new groups is that there’s no content, so no reason for people to go there – a chicken and egg problem. One thing that helps is to find niche markets where people have a very high need for information sharing and will accept relatively low returns as worthwhile. Working with an existing organization might help.

Facebook is a fantastically successful community. Some of its success can be attributed to it having started with a small handful of communities (universities) that provide a pre-existing connection (students at the same institution), and then built on the early success, with the latest example being opening up the API to allow other people to build new services for the community.

In his courses they’ve been using Drupal because it offers lots more flexibility than course management systems. Even then they’ve had a hard time getting students to participate – so they’re learning how to issue challenges, use reputation-building systems, and other techniques to encourage participation. In on-campus communities, the hostility towards newcomers is less of a problem because people already consider themselves part of an existing collective.

[ECAR 2007 Winter] Guy Creese – Should We Work In The Clould?

Guy Creese is an Analyst with the Burton Group, talking about the Pros and Cons of Software as a Service. During 2007 the major players have all jumped into Saas productivity applications. From Burton’s point-of-view the market is immature, but over the next couple of years there will be lots of progress and it will … Continue reading “[ECAR 2007 Winter] Guy Creese – Should We Work In The Clould?”

Guy Creese is an Analyst with the Burton Group, talking about the Pros and Cons of Software as a Service.

During 2007 the major players have all jumped into Saas productivity applications. From Burton’s point-of-view the market is immature, but over the next couple of years there will be lots of progress and it will become a buyers’ market.

Different user types map differently into different parts along the Communication-Collaboration and Asynchronous-Synchronous axes. Some are better at living in the cloud than others, based on roles, generations, and skills.

CFOs love SaaS because they can treat it as an operating expense.

SaaS typically has faster development cycles than packaged software.

In commercial institutions SaaS is more epxensive than packaged software in the long run, though that’s not true with educational discounts.

You can configure SaaS, but not customize it. And it doesn’t usually support offline work. UIs are not as rich as local software, though that’s not quite as true as it used to be before Ajax.

A third party is hosting the content, leading to security and intellectual property concerns.

Customer has no control over product rollouts – clients instantly get what the provider releases.

Records management is difficult and requires extra qork.

Lots of players in the market now:

Adobe – going for platform-neutral collaboration, with flash-based apps. THey offer word processing (Buzzword), web conferencing (Connect), and document sharing (Share).

Cisco – Collaboration is key and will generate demand for network gear, They acquired WebEx primarily for the web conferencing, but got WebEx WebOffice in the bargain, which offers shared calendar, web meetings, email, and database.

Google – SaaS is the wave of the future. Premier/Education edition – 5+ GB mailbox, IM, Collab office apps (docs, spreadsheets, presentations), shared docs.

Microsoft – Software sandbox_comments.diff Sandbox.zip sandpress.zip services. Live@edu suite – 5 GB per mailbox, 500 MB of storage (SkyDrive), IM, Alerts, Collab.

Salesforce.com – SaaS is the wave of the future. Acquired Koral.com and is rolling it into Salesforce. Salesforce Content – Content tagging, automated content recommendations, community feedback and ratings, version control. Initially rolling out for CRM customers, but the company has worked a lot with k-12 schools.

Yahoo – strong email and API offering through the acquisition of zimbra.

Folks seem to accept as valid that SaaS is here to stay. For higher ed, better infrastructure at a lower cost is a big driver. Hosted email is the typical point of entry. Common calendar is next, then document collaboration. User segmentation is key.

Guy had a good list of evaluation questions to ask when evaluating SaaS products.

Clemson offered fac/staff an opt-in to Exchange, then asked students what they wanted, and students told them they wanted Google Apps. This semester: 1848 students opted in, but only 694 forward their clemson.edu mail there. 195 employees opted in to gmail, with 69 forwarding.

Bruce Maas from UW Milwaukee notes that the policy issues are key.

[ECAR 2007 Winter] Peter Scott – Knowledge Media for Live and Online Open Learning

Peter is Director of the Knowledge Media Institute and Centre for New Media at the Open University in the UK. There was a time when we thought we could stick knowledge in a box and students would like that – annotated video, navigation based on questions, etc – classic stuff, old fashioned and boring. Then … Continue reading “[ECAR 2007 Winter] Peter Scott – Knowledge Media for Live and Online Open Learning”

Peter is Director of the Knowledge Media Institute and Centre for New Media at the Open University in the UK.

There was a time when we thought we could stick knowledge in a box and students would like that – annotated video, navigation based on questions, etc – classic stuff, old fashioned and boring.

Then we thought doing it live was the ticket – webcasting to people in the field, text chats, etc. About ten years old – another example of things that don’t work.

Virtual graduation ceremony – Peter’s office ran it in 2000 as an experiment, helped the graduation office run it, stood behind them offering it in 2001 and 2002, and then turned it over for them to run it in 2003 – and they didn’t.

Examples of heroic failures – things that don’t work, but the technology works fine and it seems that they should work. The big question is how does it fit into our business and make it better? If it doesn’t, it’s a failure.

His main motto – let’s try to make life hard for our students and make them work for it – creatively, genuinely hard.

Open University – distance learning – students are terrifically motivated, but they lack time.

http://www.gotoquiz.com/the_connected_academic

Will give you a rating of how connected you are.

One of the things they do for the University is Foresight – looking forward for the next year, Gives them the opportunity to be provocative and tell people what they should care about. If it doesn’t make a difference in the next three years, we shouldn’t be bothering. Top 3 this year are ubiquity, syndication, and collaboraiton. Immersive VR is at the bottom.

Something that doesn’t suck, but could – Twitter: Manual Telepathy.

openlearn – where you can play with their stuff. What’s cool is the UI and what you can do with it. All open source, CC licensed.

Compendium – lets you draw visualizations and share them (mind maps).

IM component.

A flash meeting component. Trying not to recreate events that suck. For example – they don’t allow people to talk over each other in the tool. Users hate it – and that’s good. Sales slogan – “this is much worse than WebEx” All events are stored and reusable. Shows analysis of meetings, which Peter’s now using to try to help people understand how bad their meetings are.

All this stuff is plugged into Moodle – (“which sucks, but it sucks less than the other stuff in this space and we’re going to make it less sucky”).

Ambient video – users hate having a camera on all the time – but they’ve used it daily for four years in their office. The main failures are business communities that don’t want to talk to each other, even when they say they really do.

SImple / Powerful workflows are sustainable…

Peer power is undervalued…

Peer critique is next up…

Knowledge work analysis is the future…

[ECAR 2007 Winter] ECAR in Florida

I’m in Boca Raton, Florida for the ECAR 2007 Winter Symposium. The weather is beautiful and the company convivial, but at least at first glance the program doesn’t appear to have the originality and audacity I’ve come to expect of ECAR Symposia. That’s probably because Richard Katz, founder and director of ECAR, has been spending … Continue reading “[ECAR 2007 Winter] ECAR in Florida”

I’m in Boca Raton, Florida for the ECAR 2007 Winter Symposium. The weather is beautiful and the company convivial, but at least at first glance the program doesn’t appear to have the originality and audacity I’ve come to expect of ECAR Symposia. That’s probably because Richard Katz, founder and director of ECAR, has been spending this year traveling the globe for Educause and not doing the hands-on management of ECAR as much.

I’ll be blogging the sessions live as long as my MacBook battery holds out.

[ECAR 2007 Winter] Generation 3D – Michael Macedonia

Ron Yanovsky introduces the program for the Symposium – which is New Boundaries, or No Boundaries? by noting that social computing is often “anti-institutional” and that there is room for questioning how mature that attitude of socialness is. One way of reading the new technologies is that they eliminate the boundaries of institutions – people … Continue reading “[ECAR 2007 Winter] Generation 3D – Michael Macedonia”

Ron Yanovsky introduces the program for the Symposium – which is New Boundaries, or No Boundaries? by noting that social computing is often “anti-institutional” and that there is room for questioning how mature that attitude of socialness is. One way of reading the new technologies is that they eliminate the boundaries of institutions – people can find and join dynamic communities themselves, without institutional help, using outside systems that we have no control over. “We’re intermediaries – we’re getting dissed”.

But our background in higher ed of building communities move this discussion of social computing right into higher-ed’s sweet spot. New boundaries, instead of no boundaries. New technologies make the communities more responsive and agile. The question is how we take advantage of the opportunities that the new technology present?

Michael Macedonia is the VP and General Manager of Forterra Systems, which provides private virtual worlds. He gave a presentation of virtual worlds, along with a demo of some of the virtual worlds that they’re working with at Forterra.

Some notes:

The roots of today’s virtual worlds lay in developments that started 40 years ago. Where will we be in another 40 years?

His experience is in the military – we can embed experiences and memories in people that will enable soldiers to survive in combat, learn a new skill, or save a life in crisis – they call that training. The Army Science Board in 2001 found that the new soldier craved interactivity and experiential learning.

Where is this all going?

Army realized they need to develop first person thinkers, not first person shooters, who can think about when not to shoot.

Virtual worlds will become many people’s workspace. Mobile simulations will become prevalent.

University and research use – Eric T. Lofgren and Nina H. Fefferman – Lancet Infectious Diseases – use of WOW to study infections.

William Sims Bainbridge, NSF – Science 7/27/07 – Online virtual worlds as instrumented social laboratories.

Maryland I-95 project – modeling highways with Forterra software.

Stanford Med Center – modeling mass casualty exercise.

Appalachian State and Clemson have formed a virtual world consortium – Dick Riedl at Appalachian State.

They demoed a CPR event in a virtual high school class, where the high school building had been modeled from photos, and featured interactive audio, then moved into an auditorium and then a virtual Stanford Medical campus, and then a jungle.

The emphasis of Forterra is on massive environments where lots of people can interact. There are also efforts, sponsored by IBM, to create interoperable virtual worlds. The economics aren’t right for it just yet.