Last updated: 21.09.12

Welsh college launches Facebook e-learning course

A college in north Wales has claimed to have developed the world's first ever online learning course, to be delivered via Facebook. The Coleg Harlech Workers' Educational Association has launched a new online photography course, providing an overview of photographic techniques and compositional rules while encouraging students to post their own work on the social networking site, Western Mail reports. Developed by IT and innovation consultant Chris Headleand, lecture in creative technologies at the college, the course will go ahead following the success of its pilot scheme. According to Mr Headleand, all feedback has been positive, with students claiming that they felt more comfortable communicating with each other over Facebook. “Facebook cannot take the place of traditional distance learning methods for longer types of courses, but for the shorter courses we are looking at it would be great," he was quoted as saying. He commented that it could benefit those who are not particularly confident using IT systems, as they will not have to adapt to new software. One student, Ann Thomas, enrolled in the college's ten-week BTEC photography course on top of a full-time job as an administrator because it was only held one night a week. After realising that she could swap the long commute to Bangor for the Facebook course, she was full of praise for the educational technology. "I use Facebook about half an hour a day and I found no disadvantage in not attending classes because you could see the work of the other students and you felt part of a group because of the constant feedback," she added. It is likely to help those living in areas far from the college and nightshift workers, according to Ms Thomas. Don Krug, a professor at the University of British Columbia, pointed out last week that if used properly, educational technology can improve learning and the digital devices emerging from a "changing world" should be embraced.