Web 2.0 is changing the environment and the opportunities for course design. User generated content, a host of social networking tools and the 'gift culture' are some examples of this changing lanscape (Mason R. & Rennie F. 2008). The term 'social software' covers a range of software tools which allow users to interact and share data with others users, primarily via the web. Blogs, wikis, social networking websites such as Facebook and Flick, and social bookmarking sites, such as Delicious, are examples of some of the tools that are being used to share and collaborate in educational, social, and business contexts. The key aspect of a social software tool is that it involves wider participation in the creation of information which is shared. (Minocha, S. 2009.)
Tips to assess learning in social media
There is some reluctance to have formal assessment of the students' activities in social software tools and especially when the initiative is first launched, especially if the tool(s) are not within the institution's virtual learning environment (VLE) or control, or are in the public domain. Further, if the activity is performed in a common learning space by the students, there is a fear that they might delete one another's work, or attribute others' work as their own. (Minocha, S. 2009)
Educators' uncertainty about assessing the use of social software, in case technical problems arise at a critical point for the assessment. Certain facilities such as the enforcement of assignment deadlines are not available within social software environments in the public domain. Educators' uncertainty about directly assessing social software use may perhaps also result from a feeling that individual assessment is not in line with the collaborative ethos of social software. (Minocha, S. 2009)
According to Minocha's (2009) research assessment methods suitable for social media have been like peer-assessed podcasts, reflective reports based on students' blog writings, assessment of wiki activities, assessment of photo-book production and assessment of blog reflections.