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Social bookmarking: Creating and sharing content in postgraduate learning

Tomkins, A. and McLoughlin, D.ORCID: 0000-0002-7512-2075 (2009) Social bookmarking: Creating and sharing content in postgraduate learning. In: 8th European Conference on eLearning (ECEL) 2009, 29 - 30 October 2009, Bari, Italy


The use of Web 2.0 technologies in education has been widely explored and documented. Despite the lack of agreement regarding a definition of the term Web 2.0 (Alexander, 2008), it is generally accepted that the label refers to the aspects of the World Wide Web which allow individuals to create their own content and to share that content with others (Jarche, 2008). In the United Kingdom a number of reports have been produced under the auspices of bodies such as the Joint Information Systems Committee (Anderson, 2007; Franklin & van Harmelen, 2007) and the Teaching and Learning Research Programme (Selwyn (ed), 2008), which explore the current and possible future use of Web 2.0 within the educational sector. The publication of these reports reflects a trend for students to become increasingly familiar with Web 2.0 technologies, and for teachers to explore methods of incorporating such applications in their pedagogic practice (Alexander, 2008). Interaction and collaboration are becoming increasingly prevalent within the e-learning landscape, allowing students to become co-constructors of knowledge and members of a community of practice. Such notions are contrary to the traditional parameters of educational practice. Much of the shifting of educational boundaries has been facilitated by the use of social networking sites, such as FaceBook, and social bookmarking sites, e.g. Delicious (Wheeler, Yeomans & Wheeler, 2008). Social bookmarking enables individuals to bookmark their favourite web sites, which are saved remotely, and to share their favourites with others. Users can attach keywords to each favourite, known as a tag, and it is possible to seek out others who use identical tags. This may be indicative of a shared interest and by examining the web sites saved by such an individual further useful web sites may be discovered (Anderson, 2007; Franklin & van Harmelen, 2007). This paper will address a case study involving the use of social bookmarking in a UK university. An opportunity arose for the establishment of a collaborative partnership to promote the use of Web 2.0 technologies between members of Learning Services and the Faculty of Education at Edge Hill University, a new university in the north west of England. A lecturer within the Faculty was approached with the view to setting up a pilot project involving the use of a social bookmarking site by her students. These students were studying for a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education, and they spend large periods of time on professional placement, away from the lecture theatre. It was felt that social bookmarking would help overcome the pressures that distance education places on these students. Furthermore, it was felt that the social bookmarking site known as Diigo contains features which could be advantageous by those undertaking study or research. A closed group was established for the students, which they had to ask to join. This paper will analyse the following: Interaction, Appropriate use of Web 2.0 technologies, Feedback and evaluation of the pilot study and The wider academic context of Web 2.0 technologies. This paper will draw conclusion from the case study and from the wider academic literature. The underlying argument will be that whilst social bookmarking can facilitate the co-construction of knowledge and the development of a community of practice, these do not occur automatically but require a supportive environment in order to occur.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Publisher: Academic Conferences Limited
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