Title: The Café: creating the 'collaborative application for education'; a dedicated e-learning environment in Facebook

Authors: Josh McCarthy

Addresses: University of South Australia, St. Bernards Rd., Magill, 5072, South Australia, Australia

Abstract: The pedagogical value of e-learning has led to the increased use of online learning environments within universities around the world. Facebook, the most popular social networking site in the world, affords learning qualities not commonly found within traditional online learning environments, such as learning management systems. Facebook's intuitive interface, immense popularity and social focus make it an excellent host for an engaging and interactive online community, particularly for commencing students, who are new to university culture, and international students, who are potentially isolated within a large cohort. This paper explores the development of 'the Café', a new application housed within the Facebook framework, designed using five established principles of user-interface-design - visibility, usability, relevance, accessibility and interactivity. 'The Café' has been developed to take advantage of Facebook's popularity, and to provide institutions with a dedicated e-learning environment that meets the needs of modern-day tertiary students and teaching staff.

Keywords: social media; higher education; Facebook; user interface design; social presence; online learning environments; collaborative learning; e-learning; electronic learning; higher education; universities; visibility; usability; relevance; accessibility; interactivity; new students; international students.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMILE.2013.057460

International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments, 2013 Vol.1 No.4, pp.419 - 438

Received: 08 Mar 2013
Accepted: 17 May 2013

Published online: 28 Feb 2014 *

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