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Monday, 7-Jan-2013 10:39 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Redesigning the Social Bookmarking System and Activity

In investigating the use and impact of any technology system, there is always a cyclical process in which a system is designed, tested, and revised. This is done in order to repeat this process with the goal of improving the system for its new purpose. The social bookmarking submission services, as described here must follow this same process. Based on the usage data that indicate users browse most frequently in the first few pages of the content items list, a modification to the software system may be necessary to present content items in a more compact and efficient manner. In order to better meet multiple learning objectives, it may also be advantageous to allow the bookmarking instructor some level of editorial control over which items are presented in the first few pages.

One modification to the software system that might address these issues would be to allow a moderator to move relevant items to a “featured content” section on the first page. This would allow various types of articles to be presented to all users regardless of their preferences. For example, items that are related to “Ed Tech Research” that would not otherwise be easily seen by users and students of bookmarking could be moved to a more prominent location that may increase the likelihood of students viewing and rating this less popular content. However, it is important that the user centered nature of the system and activity be retained in order for students to remain the primary contributor and evaluators of information. Thus, a redesign of the user interface to allow users to view “featured content” as well as the list of other items sorted and filtered according to their preferences may help find a balance between user preferences and the need to meet various learning objectives. While these modifications will differentiate the system from the more common and cheap social bookmarking service and applications, it is this type of modification that will adapt the activity to some teaching and learning environments in which the activity is implemented for specific types of learning objectives.

There is little doubt that much remains to be examined regarding the use of any technology system for teaching and learning. The results of this study suggest that there is value in using social bookmark submission service and applications in academic environments. However, one important facet to consider is that of user engagement. It was noted in this study that overall activity within the system showed a slight downward trend over time. While the connection between overall activity and student engagement was not investigated, this should be considered in future studies. Now, social bookmarking is a relatively new and novel idea. It is possible that this novelty will begin to wane, and students will no longer be engaged in activities such as this when they become more commonplace. Identifying which facets of the social bookmarking activity are most closely associated with student engagement will assist in the future evolution of this activity in teaching and learning environments.


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