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ConnectYard Launches Hosted Social Learning Service on Facebook

ConnectYard has launched new social learning services, ConnectYard Student and Enterprise Editions, which provide virtual learning communities and are powered by Facebook Connect. Both editions are Web 2.0 services that leverage social networking to help students expand student-to-student and student-to-faculty connections for collaboration beyond the classroom. The student edition, which will include advertising, is free; and the enterprise edition, which provides for institutional branding, is subscription-based.

ConnectYard uses Facebook Connect, which allows user Facebook profile information and messages to be passed to Facebook through ConnectYard. Participants can keep personal details hidden from study partners, students, and faculty. The service incorporates a matching engine that "pushes" to students study partners, content, and events that are relevant to their interests based on variables such as rank, class, and major, as well as social and learning interactions on the site.

"We know that a number of universities have had great success integrating learning into students' physical living environments through the establishment of living learning communities," said CEO Donald Doane. "Similarly, ConnectYard allows institutions to establish virtual learning communities, or Yards, that are integrated with popular social networking sites like Facebook as well as university services, which serves to keep students involved and engaged both in and outside of the classroom."

The service facilitates the formation of study groups, the sharing of educational information and materials and helps users find educational assistance and stay informed of campus-related events.

The enterprise edition of ConnectYard contains a suite of tools for both synchronous (chat, teleconferencing) and asynchronous (group walls and discussion boards) discussion modes, as well as whiteboards, chat, teleconferencing, calendaring, and document sharing.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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