Andy Powell commented on a blog post on Facebook and the Institutional Web I published recently which he followed up in a post on Facebook application growth which described some of the reservations he had concerning certain types of developments using the Facebook platform. Similar reservations were expressed in Paul Walk’s post on Playing in the sandpit, while the novelty lasts and Paul Miller explored the issues of The Platform and the Web – what can Facebook and Talis tell us? in Talis’s Nodalities blog, which highlighted the dangers of use of a closed platform.

Whilst agreeing with many of these points, I still feel that we can’t ignore technologies which appear to be successful (let’s not ignore Microsoft Windows, for example). So I very much welcomed “MyNewport – MyLearning Essentials for Facebook” – Michael Webb’s submission to the IWMW 2007 Innovation Competition.

MyNewport is the VLE/portal used by staff and students at Newport College, which includes access to course material, news, blogs, forums, library access etc. MyNewport is a Facebook application that allows students to access to MyLearning Essentials resources from Facebook. In effect this allows students to start creating their own personal learning environment in a platform other than the one provided by the University. Newport College have targeted Facebook at the moment as it’s the fastest growing community, but if the users like the idea but want to work in another environment then that is fine – as applications can be created applications for them as well.

Apparently it took about a day and half from conception of the idea and joining the Facebook developer community on 10th July to launching it as a viable application for our students to use (or comment on) on the 11th July. It was straight forward as the college’s VLE is built from components that can easily be repurposed and uses open standards such as RSS to allow information to be passed to the Facebook application.

Further information on this submission is available on the Submissions page of the IWMW 2007 Web site.

(Note this post is one of a series which describes submissions to the Innovation Competition at the IWMW 2007 event, to be held at the University of York on 16-18 July 2007. Further information about the series of posts is available in a post published previously.)

MyNewport - available on Facebook

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