The Cloud-based Learning Tools Notification serves to inform students and faculty, and to record student consent to use (or opt- out of using) third party cloud-based tools in their RRU course work.

Do RRU courses require students to use social media and other cloud-based applications?

Most RRU courses currently use Moodle for presenting course content, for the discussion forum, for some learning activities, and for the gradebook; plus Blackboard Collaborate for real-time web-conferencing.

Many instructors and students would also like to have other options for collaboration and knowledge-sharing, beyond these environments. The reason that we ask you to complete this form is to ensure that we are complying with BC FOIPOP laws while also allowing students and faculty to explore additional web tools and applications available, without limiting the learning experience at RRU to “just Moodle”.

Why do you call this “Cloud-based”, not "Social Media"?

The big picture of how we name these network-based social software environments is tricky. There are so many online tools available, and they all fall along a spectrum of use cases, from the “very personal” (like Facebook) to the “professional” (like LinkedIn) , to the “corporate” (like Hootsuite’s role in corporate social media marketing). Where would we position Pinterest? Or YouTube? Or Google Hangout? Or Skype? Or Dropbox? Or Flickr? The range of tools and use cases is so broad, that we need an umbrella term. We have decided to use the term “cloud-based" to encompass a vast ecosystem of tools.

Is the Cloud-based Learning Tools Notification primarily directed at the use of popular social media tools like Twitter and Facebook?

No, the Cloud-based Learning Tools Notification is not about using Facebook in your course. Instead, it is intended to open up the options to use social media and 3rd party cloud-based tools for creating digital stories, for using wikis and blogs for self-publishing and reflection, for collaborating on documents, and for connecting with experts.

It is unlikely you will ever have a formal learning activity at RRU that explicitly asks you to participate and develop artifacts and/or ideas through your Facebook account. Facebook is a generally seen as a “personal” social media environment, rather than a “professional” one.

Take Twitter for example… Let’s imagine a potential learning activity where an instructor expects learners to monitor a public event or emergency through Twitter for a comparison between the information provided from Twitter versus that provided through more mainstream broadcast media.

This could inform a critique of information presented between various news outlets. In this case, the student may already have a Twitter account that they could use, or they may choose to set up a separate Twitter account from their personal one. Alternatively, the student could choose to opt-out entirely and the instructor would then assign an alternative learning activity for that particular student.

Is the opt-in/opt-out information meant primarily for RRU faculty?

The opt-in/opt-out information is intended for RRU faculty. If you do choose to opt out, your instructor can then work with you to participate in an alternative way. For example, Instead of creating a digital story, using a tool like Mozilla Popcorn Maker, you might be asked to turn in a paper that tells your story in a traditional manner.

If someone on my team opts-out, does that constrain me from using web tools with them?

The opt-in/opt-out is a personal choice, not a team choice. This might mean assigning “opt-out” participants to a different team. The instructor will have to be flexible. We expect that most RRU students will want to use contemporary social media and cloud-based web tools in order to work together effectively.

We will monitor the issues and opportunities that arise with the use of social media and cloud-based tools, and from that, we will be able work with faculty and student teams to accommodate.

Can I opt out of the cloud-based tools only, but still use other available web tools?

You can opt-out at any time if you are not comfortable with the use of any social media or external cloud-based tools that may be assigned in your academic work at RRU as part of a learning activity. Before opting out though, you may want to consider how that may influence team work assignments. Of course, you will always have the option to choose to personally use cloud-based tools, independent of your assigned RRU course-work.