Monograph “The Impact of Social Networks on Teaching and Learning”. Introduction: Higher Education and the Promises and Perils of Social Networks

George Siemens, Martin Weller


The last decade has produced tremendous innovation in how people connect with one another online. Social networks have experienced a rapid increase in popularity, producing both concerns (privacy, content ownership) and opportunities. The articles in this journal can be viewed as attempts to answer the question: What should educators do about social networks? The advent of socially oriented tools, often grouped together under the Web 2.0 or social media banner, represents something of a dilemma for higher education. Social network sites (SNSs) can be a real benefit for learners as they encourage peer-to-peer dialogue, promote the sharing of resources, facilitate collaboration, and develop communication skills. These are all features of online learning that conventional learning management systems (LMSs) have struggled to realize over the past decade of intensive adoption in higher education. Yet SNSs seem to have accomplished this with remarkable ease and speed.


higher education; social networks



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