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Poster title in Caslon - King's College London

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KINSHIP
King's Social Harmonisation Project:
Developing a pilot social network in medical
education
Bernadette. A. John1, Sophie. M. Strong1, Prof Patricia Reynolds2, Dominique Borel3, Catherine Brossard3, Dr Stylianos
Hatzipanagos4, Elena Hernandez-Martin5, Prof Alan Read6
1School
of Medicine, 2Dental Institute, 3Modern Languages Centre, 4 King’s Learning Institute, 5 Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning, 6 Department of English;
Kings College London
Background
Platform evaluation
Students entering Higher Education are increasingly ICT literate, although, as
evidenced by the recent
College Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL)
benchmarking review, they have some concerns about e-learning replacing faceto-face teaching (Hatzipanagos et al 2010). The informal use of social media for
learning is becoming evident, and so there is scope to evaluate the impact of a
custom made secure College-wide social network for education.
The Kinship (Elgg) prototype platform was developed and supported with
mentorship from Brighton University, who have an Elgg institutional social
network with 90,000 registered users. Kinship is hosted on a commercial
external, UK based cloud server (so UK Law applies to the content created),
mindful of College regulations and the TEL strategy. It has been piloted with 700
medical students for 3 months.).
Aims
Suitable open source platforms were evaluated for relevance in (Elgg, Ning,
Buddy Press, Mahara) . The core functional design of the 4 popular platforms is
not identical. Mahara has comparatively high developmental costs. Elgg is
primarily a social network whereas Mahara is primarily an eportfolio – so whilst
both have similar features, simply listing a set of functions doesn’t indicate how
well each platform executes these functions. Ning, although popular is
obviously different because it is a paid application hosted on a proprietary
website.
This College Teaching Fund project, led by students, aims to identify, customise,
and evaluate a social networking platform, to meet the diverse educational needs
in healthcare (Medicine and Dentistry) and the humanities (English and Modern
Languages). This platform is initially being piloted, in the medical school, to
establish if it can foster an improved sense of community, enhance
communication and serve as a space to model digital professionalism.
Specialist
social
networking
platform
Social Network
Built in PHP
and MYSQL
code
• Popular code, easy
to find developers
• Easy to integrate
with other systems
Active
community of
developers
sharing
plugins
• Cheap to develop
• Platforms built in
Elgg can evolve
quickly
Open Source
adjective
Computing denoting software for
which the original source code is
made freely available and may be
redistributed and modified
(oxforddictionaries.com)
Plug-in
adjective
Computing (of a module or
software) able to be added to a
system to give extra features or
functions: a plug-in graphics
card
(oxforddictionaries.com)
Established
use by large
organisations
Preliminary Findings and Discussion
A working social networking platform, built in Elgg has been developed in
keeping with College guidelines. It enables secure authentication using students’
own College logins and is simply accessible via http://kinship.kcl.ac.uk. Early
usage statistics and student feedback in Medicine have shown that the site has
the potential to create and enhance a genuine sense of community for our
students, who are more likely to be living off campus than ever before and
studying at various sites, scattered across London.
In order for an institutional social network to offer a viable alternative, it must
have the ability to develop at a pace - this can be inexpensive if using an open
source platform.
Students have high expectations of the functionality within social networks and
the long established, active community of Elgg developers, collaborating and
sharing their extensive catalogue of plugins is a valuable characteristic of this
platform. Elgg is written in a popular code termed �php’, so it is a large number
of developers.
Noun
A dedicated website or other
application which enables users to
communicate with each other by
posting information, comments,
messages etc
(oxforddictionaries.com)
Next Steps:
пЃ± Clarify what user preferences are with regard to functionality, privacy settings
and access
пЃ± Establish institutional support required to enable adoption of KINSHIP by
KCL
пЃ± Secure funding to enable roll out across the college
References:
Hatzipanagos, S. Warburton, S. Reedy, G. (2010) Technology-Enhanced Learning Benchmarking Report. King’s College
London.
Hatzipanagos, S. Warburton, S., Blackmore, P. (2009) A review of e-learning at King’s College. King’s College London.
Oxford Dictionary. 2012. Oxford Dictionaries. [ONLINE] Available at: http://oxforddictionaries.com/words/the-oxford-englishdictionary [Accessed 14 June 12]
Stanier, S. 2009. Communty@Brighton : The Development of an Institutional Shared Learning Environment. In: O’Donoghue, J.
ed., Technology Supported Environment for Personalised Learning: Methods and Case Studies. [s.l.]: IGB Global, 2009, pp. 5073.
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