Someone posted a spam thread on this forum for some closed source, commercial social networking service (SN). It got me thinking about user perception of SN platforms and expectations with regards to learning.
If we're interested in combining Social-Cultural Theory and Computer Mediated Communication, I think Moodle is an excellent overall choice for an LMS. However, I think it also has limitations and the social presence side of things aren't all they could be.
I'm interested in the Community of Inquiry (CoI) project at the University of Alberta, led by Randy Garrison, et al: http://communitiesofinquiry.com/socialpresence To me, it makes sense that learners need to get to know each other as well as possible and build mutual understanding and trust in order to maximise their cognitive presence and therefore their learning.
I've been experimenting with Elgg and BuddyPress, an SN plugin for Wordpress, and I can see a lot of advantages in these on the social presence side. I've also seen requests and some plugins for integrating commercial SN services like Facebook and LinkedIn. It could just be that SN services are the latest fad, after blogs and home pages and people want to jump on the bandwagon but I also think there is some genuine need for stronger social presence in Moodle.
What kind of enhancements could we make to Moodle to increase social presence?