"As students become more mobile they increasingly require access to their educational resources anytime and anywhere. University courses are typically managed through learning management systems, which were established to enable access to their educational resources online at any time, but are these enough? We are interested in researching the impact that Facebook can have for online students in an introductory programming course. In particular we want to know whether any learning can occur in Facebook. A programming group was set up on Facebook for our cohort of fully online students who already have access to Blackboard, our University’s learning management system, for them to discuss, chat and brainstorm about programming. We compare the student participation to the two environments: the Blackboard Discussion Forum and the Facebook programming group, over the semester of the course. In this paper we analyse the student postings and identify the similarities and differences of the two environments and we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each environment. Our primary finding was that Facebook attracted more students (over Blackboard) due to its social and community learning benefits, encouraging students to support one another. Blackboard was viewed as the authoritative and valid medium for official course material. Finally, there is a need for further work to determine how the two media may be better integrated for course delivery.
Maleko, M, Nandi, D, Hamilton, M, D’Souza, D, & Harland, J. (2013) Facebook versus Blackboard for Supporting the Learning of Programming in a Fully Online Course: The Changing Face of Computing Education. DOI 10.1109/LaTiCE.2013.31