Social not-working? Evaluating and building an online learning community

Colin Gray, Keith Smyth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Beginning with a short overview of what online institutional communities might offer around sustaining good learning, teaching and assessment practice, this paper then describes the rationale for and development of Edinburgh Napier Education Exchange (ENEE) as an ELGG-based social networking site for supporting project groups, special interest groups, and the discussion and sharing of educational experiences and resources across Edinburgh Napier. The results from a mixed-method evaluation of ENEE that involved usage analysis, surveys and in-depth interviews, and which focused on value perceptions, current and anticipated use, and issues around further engagement with the resource in the institution, are then presented and discussed. The evaluation, which incorporated a case study of how ENEE was beginning to be used to provide additional support opportunities for a fully online distance learning programme, highlighted a range of ways in which ENEE was proving effective particularly in helping users to 'keep abreast' of educational practice across the institution as well as in supporting small groups dedicated to specific purposes and activities. On the less positive side, lessons learned around ease of use, the challenges of engaging in 'multiple spaces', and achieving 'critical mass' in meaningful use are also brought to the fore.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication6th International Conference on e-Learning 2011, ICEL 2011
PublisherAcademic Conferences Limited
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781622766727
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event6th International Conference on e-Learning 2011, ICEL 2011 - Kelowna, BC, Canada
Duration: 27 Jun 201128 Jun 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on e-Learning, ICEL
ISSN (Print)2048-8882
ISSN (Electronic)2048-8890


Conference6th International Conference on e-Learning 2011, ICEL 2011
CityKelowna, BC


  • Collaboration
  • Social networks
  • Social presence
  • Staff development


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