Due to one of the speaker’s not being able to attend, we had to find, at the last moment, a couple of speakers to take part in the opening session at IWMW 2008. I was pleased that Claire Gibbons, University of Bradford and Mike Ellis, Eduserv, were able to provide brief presentations which helped to engage with the IWMW 2008 theme of The Great Debate.

I videoed Claire’s talk, in which she described why the University of Bradford had set up a social network using Ning. I have previously commented on institutional use of Ning, including Bradford’s service, but it was good to hear why this social network was established (to support newly arrived students) and how it is envisaged that the social network is expected to have an impact only during the first term of the new academic year. Such social networks, according to Claire, don’t always have to have long term sustainability – and maybe a social network can be for just until Christmas.

Please note that this video is available on YouTube (and further details of Claire’s talk are available on the IWMW 2008 Web site).