Web 2.0 If you block it, will you be missing a point?

Graciano Soares, JISC RSC ManagerIn our discussions within our team and with colleagues based in the learning providers we support in London the issue of Web 2.0 very often props up and a key question we have been faced with for a while now is, ‘Should learning providers allow open access to Web 2.0 technologies within the network or block it?

Some of the recommendations that we have been making to our colleagues in the region are listed below:

consider the pros and cons of blocking it or opening it before making a decision

consult and communicate widely so that the final decision is understood by all, including IT Services, academics and learners

have in place clear processes and procedures to manage staff and learners expectations

be aware of e-safety issues, such as deliberate or non-deliberate access to inappropriate material within the college network, cyber bullying and other dangers such as phishing and identity theft. After all, safeguarding should be top of the agenda whether face-to-face or online

consider how technologies such as social networks contribute to the achievement of your organisation’s goals.

Unfortunately, the easiest route seems to be a block-it-all policy. I find that very often that comes from a lack of understanding of what Web 2.0 is and how it can be used.

I am always happy when I see examples such as those of Warwick College:
http://www.facebook.com/WarwickshireCollege or Greenwich Community College:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/London-United-Kingdom/Greenwich-Community-College/13641387186.
These are smart uses of Web 2.0 outside the college’s network.

If you are interested in a long list of things learning providers could be doing with Facebook this will keep you entertained:
http://www.stumbleupon.com/s/#2vXDBC/www.onlinecollege.org/2009/10/20/100-ways-you-should-be-using-facebook-in-your-classroom.


Graciano Soares
RSC London Manager
@graciano

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