Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Flickr Group-Map Apps?

I had the idea today of using the Flickr group and map applications as a centerpiece to try and build an online community for the college. Since most of our students are working adults and never see each other and are spread out all over the state, the country and even the world, the opportunity to see other student pictures and bios and where they fall on the map might be a good hook to build student participation.

The biggest obstacle in my opinion with our older student population (ave. age is c. 34) is getting them to buy into it. There are obvious time and technophobia issues with a percentage of this age group, but the recent report from Lee Raine on "2.0 and the Internet World" (via iLibrarian) has changed my opinion on this a little more. Sizable percentages of adults are now using social software and reading, tagging and creating content. Not to say that many of our students are on Facebook just yet, but there may be an opening here to begin to grow student involvement and community (which I think is almost non-existent at our institution).

Is anyone else trying this kind of thing with Flickr or a similar tool? Would it be better if bundled in with a more fleshed out suite of 2.0 apps like blogs, wikis, social networking, content tagging, etc? How might you go about marketing such a feature to distance learners? What kinds of privacy and security issues (such as posting of inappropriate content) would be involved in such a purely voluntary application?

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