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Social networking as a university teaching tool: what are the benefts of using Ning?

, Università degli Studi di Pisa, Italy ; , Università degli Studi di Udine, Italy

Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society Volume 7, Number 1, ISSN 1826-6223 e-ISSN 1826-6223 Publisher: Italian e-Learning Association


Recent research shows that the abilities and competencies of the so-called ‘digital natives’ have often been overrated and that children and young adults often use such technologies only to play or to communicate. In this respect, it is necessary to provide the digital natives with a suitable scaffolding in order to encourage more ‘advanced’ applications of such technologies, that could also involve the creation of learning networks. This paper describes a case study: the use of a social network as part of a formal course of Management at the University of Pisa. The institutional Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) – based on Moodle – has been integrated with a student support group hosted on Ning. Problems and opportunities for using Ning have been discussed in small groups and students feedback will be reported. The shift from Learning Management System (course-centric) to a Personal Learning Environment (PLE, people-centric) and then to Personal Learning Network (community-based) is also been discussed and a framework was provided for a further implementation of the platform.


Martini, A. & Cinque, M. (2011). Social networking as a university teaching tool: what are the benefts of using Ning?. Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society, 7(1), 67-77. Italian e-Learning Association. Retrieved May 19, 2019 from .



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