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Table 1 Analysis of social media options

From: Using social media to support small group learning

Type of platform Platform(s) assessed Strengths Weaknesses
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Blackboard University supported; used by all students; other course material is readily available; links to web-based resources can be added; discussion forums available Limited ability for students to add web links; experience shows discussion forums usually rarely used by students; interface is not as user friendly as web-based applications; sharing of resources between students is difficult
Social media discussion Facebook Well known and used by students; able to post links directly into a feed and comment on it; can see who has viewed the post; groups can be set up with a variety of privacy options Students use Facebook for their personal social life – may not wish to use for work. Resources not collected in one easy-to-access place. Group collaboration on same document is not intuitive and auditable. Not supported by university and cannot integrate with VLE.
Wiki Campus Pack Wiki Available as an add-on in the VLE. Good for group collaboration tasks on same document; edits are auditable – can see who has contributed; can add additional pages easily; allows upload of documents as well as hyperlinks to web-pages Need to be familiar with the document structure to navigate effectively; sharing of documents does not occur outside of wiki group; accessing can be difficult with multiple steps
Online content curation
Aesthetically pleasing; easy to add web-based resources to pages via a “bookmarklet” and to add a commentary; can share resources to other social media sites; groups can contribute to same topic pages Not supported by the university; new tools, so students and staff will not be familiar with how to use them; some integration possible with VLE, but often limited with free and education versions.
Blogs Cardiff blogs University supported; can post articles and commentaries with web-links; can comment on posts Not as “spontaneous” and easy to use for capturing learning as other platforms; too structured and needs time to learn how to use; usually public-facing