Raising Awareness

"A centre of excellence in digital information management, providing advice and services to the library, information and cultural heritage communities."

UKOLN is based at the University of Bath.

Institutional Implications of the Emergence of Social Software


Brian Kelly gave a talk on Institutional Implications of the Emergence of Social Software at a HeLF event on the theme of social software which was organised by the Heads of eLearning Forum (HeLF). The event was held on 2th April 2008 at the TechnoCentre, Coventry. The talk took place from 14.30-15.30.


We are now familiar with the term 'Web 2.0' and technologies such as blogs, wikis and RSS feeds. And we're also familiar with social networking services such as Facebook and MySpace.

And some e-learning developers argue that such services can have a valuable role to play in supporting learning activities, including both formals and informal learning.

The educational benefits of such approaches are being widely discussed within the e-learning community. But what about the institutional implications of use of externally hosted services to support e-learning? Are such services sustainable in the long term? What will happen to the data if such services disappear? And what about the legal and ethical implications of using social software in an educational context? Do the risks of such approaches outweight the potential benefits and so should institutions seek to discourage such activities? Or should institutions acknowledge that there are risks in both doing nothing and in making use of existing centrally-managed services?

This talk reviews the potential benefits of use of social software in e-learning but acknowledges that there are risks. A strategy for the deployment of e-learning 2.0 approach is described which includes suggestions on risk assessment and risk management.



Institutional Implications of the Emergence of Social Software
[MS PowerPoint 97/2000 format] - [HTML format]


Accompanying Resources

For a list of related resources please see the social bookmarking Web site with the tag 'helf-200804'.

Biographical Details

Brian Kelly Brian Kelly has been involved in Web development since January 1993, when he helped to established a Web site at the University of Leeds (one of the first institutional Web sites in the UK). Since 1996 Brian has been employed at UKOLN, a national centre of expertise in digital information management based at the University of Bath in the UK. His responsibility is to advise the UK's higher and further community and the cultural heritage sector on ways of maximising the potential of the Web.