MBA students at school are Facebook addicts. Some may dispute this observation or suggest that I use a toned-down term, so let me restate: they're avid Facebook users. :) They spend a lot of time Facebooking, and it annoys them when they have to take time off from their favorite activity to do their assignments or collaborate with teammates on group projects.
But someone has invented Facebook groups, and voila! A new way to work on school stuff without having to leave Facebook. :)
So how does it work?
First, someone in your team has to create the Facebook group and add all team members in. You can set the group on Secret mode if you don't wish other people to see your posts (which should be the case all the time).
Second, there has to be some "rules" on how to use the page for collaboration. Otherwise, it'd be chaotic. In our group, we use the following rules.
We use this feature to record milestones or deadlines such as submission of final paper or exam or whatever. After creating an event, we invite all members in. Once they accepted, they get a notification when an event approaches, much as they would with other Facebook events (like birthdays, etc) outside of Facebook group.
We normally pair Facebook with Dropbox. We have a Dropbox folder where we upload all files relevant to our projects. If we want to notify team members of a new upload or update on a file, we go to the Facebook group Files tab and click Upload file. There's an option to upload a file from Dropbox.
We use this for posts that we want highlighted or tracked, like members' contact information, schedules, list of deliverables, etc. If we'd post these information as ordinary wall posts, they'd get buried later on when new posts come in.
This is the fun part. This is how we collaborate, discuss about projects, joke with other members, etc. We tag team members whenever we want them to be notified of new posts. This will work only if team members actually post. As a team, you'll have to agree and make sure everyone is aligned.
There may still be other ways to use Facebook as collaboration tool. My other friends use Facebook's group chat feature to discuss. Really, there's no shortage of ways to add fun into the poor, boring life of an MBA student. If you know of anything I may have missed, please holler or comment below.
I just completed typing answers to a whole bunch of questions in Blackboard Learn a few days ago. Believe me, the entire experience was an ordeal. I like the idea of giving students a dashboard where they can track their learning, but Blackboard is definitely not it!
I first got introduced to Blackboard Learn in Managerial Dynamics over a year ago. Dr. Lydia King spent an hour going through the tool and getting people acquainted. Many days later we were still struggling, asking questions among ourselves and Googling. It wasn't the easiest tool to use. It defied all rules of usability! It's messy, cluttered, and grossly anti-user. I wonder what the developers were thinking when they created it. And how much do they charge for this terrible thing? Even their site cannot tell you easily. Perhaps you have to call or talk to their sales reps and ask. Amazing, right?
For those of you who are not familiar, Blackboard Learn is a learning management system developed in 1997 by Americans Stephen Gilfus and Dan Cane. The tool itself is now widely used by many universities around the world incluing Ateneo GSB. There's a whole Wiki post about Blackboard here in case you're curious.
If you're thinking of getting Blackboard as a tool for students in the future, you might wanna think twice. Blackboard sucks, and here's why:
It is evident that the designers of Blackboard are not yet aware of Web 2.0 or the existence of people like Jakob Nielsen. Given its current condition, it'll take a while for this tool to adapt to modern times. You can check how it looks like through the image below. (This is a screenshot of my own dashboard. I covered the school's logo and the courses am taking as this post is not really about them. )
I still have a few more rants about Blackboard. I'll write more soon.
I'm passionate about business, art, and technology. For more about me, click here.
Not sure if you'll find this one helpful, but here's a book I co-wrote with a bunch of industry colleagues. You can click the image if you wanna check it out.
Ateneo Graduate School of Business
University of San Carlos