Academic Digital Event

Guy Saward (@guy75) – Social Bookmarking #iblc10




Impact on teaching & learning

Practitioner in teaching, manages lots of daily information, business/IT background…

Online resources – accessible anywhere in the world (losing information between machines).

Do the students have the same needs? How do they save bookmarks? Use in multiple contexts?

Online (social) bookmarking? Uses?

  • For active/problem based learning?
  • Chickering & Gamson, boast to reciprocate & co-operate online
  • Promote collaborative learning?
  • Who is the online target for this (is it just the innovators or the mainstream?)

Replace the button in the browser with the use of Delicious, where it’s saved in the cloud! Digg, Furl, Google bookmarks, all same basic principle – capture information seamlessly so continue to browse.


Social features – use tags to organise bookmark. A folksonomy develops based on repeated use of popular tags (or that’s the theory).

Tag clouds display prominent concepts.

Can find via structured URLS (

Act as personal, short urls – e.g.

Why do we need more technology?

  • Learning Resource links/news/readings lists
  • Discussions
  • Blogs (modules/groups0
  • Wiki
  • BUT – can find it easier to find all in one place (better link density, others require specific action on the VLE, ‘editing’ is higher, other areas may be e.g. read-only)

Blogs provide good spaces for reflection & comment, starting point for discussion, narrative to show development of ideas.

Most posts used to share, not expound, brevity is key & ?

How do students manage information and what role could bookmarking play – especially in aiding collaborative work? 50% own their own laptops. Internet commonly used for all activities – more bias to using for assessment activities. Mixed preferences of print over web based resources.

Bookmark: 10% in browser, rest on paper, in word/notepad or emailing to self // none VLE, no mention of online/social bookmarking… focus group 2 years ago. Generally open to sharing, although some worries that others would ride on the sharing.

Why not really being used?

  • Too complicated?

DESIGN SOLUTION: SLIDE (password by proxy so still retained some control. From StudyNet: Tags link to external resources. Didn’t need to go to Delicious specific site. Computer literate colleagues over-complicated it.

  1. Needed customised ‘bookmarklets’ into the browser.
  2. ?
  3. ?
  4. Tagging page gives suggestions based on module resources
  5. Saved page will end up in the module account.


All students used the page, around 25% uploaded material. 50 new materials to module, 25 by students. Had core group of early adopters, most are lurking. Editors ensure that people are tagging correctly so folksonomy has consistency.

At end – were increasing digital literacy – they might use the same tool. Most wanted to save outside the VLE.

Second Pilot

Kept the module account, but each individual tweet, use for:mcom0104 to gather suggestions. Meant staff had to be more active as suggestions came to the tutor who said yes/no.

Students downloaded own third-party apps/bookmarklets for delicious. Students saved in own account, but put “it was for” and it pulls up.

The more web savvy tended to use the Delicious interface, the less through the VLE.

But still, WHY would you want to promote bookmarking. As a core digital literacy, obvious. Do we promote as collaboration? Chickering & Gamson – get people to spend time on task, so need to find learning activities which will show them HOW they are useful!

  • Find a case study approach – help them manage the resources that they find.
  • Students sharing stuff – did help reciprocity.
  • Staff-student-student contact improved, by-produce of user identification/sharing activity.
  • High standards – promoting discussion of quality of resources.


It IS a useful tool for supporting learners in their study.

Very much the Cinderella of Web 2.0 technologies

Early adopters need to drive critical mass to generate perception of usefulness

Make bookmarking a core information skill

Focus on usefulness via personal accounts rather than ease of use (VLE)

Future Work

Twitter/Delicious integration (via Twitterfeed)

Mobile Platforms (easy to access bookmarklets?)

Developing support materials & events to increase digital literacy & promote mainstream adoption.

Use of Delicious via ‘network bundles’

Delicious as part of UH browser customization, so students can use easily on every system.


  • A: will find interesting material, the C students will find material they think is interesting (but really is quite dull); can you filter to put the best students towards the top? Maybe add user tags for each user so can see who they come from? Can add comments. Use the measure of number of times quoted as measure of quality (doesn’t really work). Can build own API which runs as a filter.
  • Diigo – can go to pages and annotate them… See them in context. Could be useful for academics in ranking, etc resources. Are specific academic platforms, but this seemed better.

Think I might set up a blwinch Delicious account – or just a TAG – one way to get people to use it in a simple way.

Academic Digital

Diigo: Research Techniques

Diigo V4: Research ~ annotate, archive, organize from diigobuzz on Vimeo.

I thought that Diigo was very much like Digg and Delicious, so hadn’t looked into it all this much, but this video explains how much more can be done with Diigo, and I can see real potential for use in online research, a real chance to save just those bits of a website that are useful, and then annotating them – rather than printing off the whole page (or cutting/pasting doc/url), and creating a collection of data which is stored in the cloud (data is hosted on Amazon’s servers). I look forward to using it more, and have installed the toolbar into Firefox (which I am now using in preference to Chrome)