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Int. J. Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, Vol. X, No.

Y, xxxx

Social sharing in LearnWeb2.0 Ivana Marenzi*, Sergej Zerr, Fabian Abel and Wolfgang Nejdl
L3S Research Center, Appelstr. 9a, 30167 Hannover, Germany E-mail: marenzi@L3S.de E-mail: zerr@L3S.de E-mail: abel@L3S.de E-mail: nejdl@L3S.de *Corresponding author
Abstract: Web 2.0 is a challenging environment, in which knowledge resources are distributed among heterogeneous online storage tools. Whereas each single Web 2.0 application is specialised in a set of predefined tasks (such as storing, editing or discussing specific types of resources), the integrated LearnWeb2.0 environment provides a rich set of functions and a seamless overview of the entire set of distributed knowledge resources. This paper describes the main functionalities for lifelong competence development of individuals in LearnWeb2.0, which we are developing within the TENCompetence project, motivated by a real world knowledge sharing scenario. Keywords: e-learning; Web 2.0; social media; knowledge sharing; collaborative content creation; mashup; LearnWeb2.0. Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Marenzi, I., Zerr, S., Abel, F. and Nejdl, W. (xxxx) Social sharing in LearnWeb2.0, Int. J. Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, Vol. X, No. Y, pp.000000. Biographical notes: Ivana Marenzi is a PhD student at the L3S Research Center in Hannover. Her research interests are in e-learning, lifelong learning, and Web 2.0. Sergej Zerr is a PhD student at the L3S Research Center in Hannover. His research interests cover e-learning and social media as well as security and trust. He is the leading Developer of LearnWeb2.0. Fabian Abel is a PhD student at the L3S Research Center and conducts research in the fields of social media and semantic web. He is part of the team that develops the resource sharing system GroupMe!. Wolfgang Nejdl is the Director of the L3S Research Center and Full Professor of Computer Science at the Leibniz University Hannover since 1995. He published more than 200 scientific articles and has been a program committee and editorial board member of numerous international conferences and journals.

Copyright 200x Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

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Web 2.0 is a challenging environment, in which knowledge resources are distributed among a set of heterogeneous online storage tools, each of which provides specific functionalities. On their desktop, people often bring together documents that share similar types, topics or proximity with regard to time of creation (Nardi and Barreau, 1997; Rosenberg, 2001), which can then be used by the file management and search software to assist users in finding and aggregating resources related to a common learning activity (Bischoff et al., 2007). However, on the web, users are often forced to distribute related resources across different Web 2.0 applications according to the type of resource, e.g., pictures in Flickr, videos in YouTube and bookmarks in Delicious, even though all these resources belong to one and the same learning context (Demidova et al., 2007). Despite the variety of the available Web 2.0 tools, linking distributed resources related to a common activity, for example, development of a competence is not provided by existing applications. Most of the Web 2.0 applications and their orchestrations focus on finding resources related to user information needs. Although this is a necessary first step, aggregation and usage of the retrieved information is a different matter that has received insufficient critical attention so far. On the one hand, portals like iGoogle and Netvibes help to locate information distributed across different information sources. On the other hand, such portals typically provide no facilities for integration of the information obtained from these sources as they merely support creation of a personalised desktop made up of favourite links to knowledge resources, without providing a way of actually linking them together. Another important aspect of competence development, which cannot be supported by a single Web 2.0 application, is the desire to share findings related to common activities. Knowledge workers, in particular, need an environment, which permits direct sharing of resources in different formats (Rosenberg, 2001). Such an environment should enable users to execute desired actions directly in one step, even if orchestration of services provided by different Web 2.0 applications is required. To integrate models and tools for the creation, storage and exchange of knowledge resources, we are implementing the LearnWeb2.0 infrastructure (Marenzi et al., 2008), which makes Web 2.0 information accessible in ways that better support lifelong learning and competence development, which is the goal of the TENCompetence Project (http://www.tencompetence.org). Figure 1 depicts the LearnWeb2.0 architecture. Whereas each single Web 2.0 application is specialised in a set of specific predefined tasks (such as storing, editing or discussing specific types of resources), the integrated LearnWeb2.0 environment provides a rich set of functions and a seamless overview of the entire distributed learning space. Personal learning environments (PLE) (Van Harmelen, 2006) such as LearnWeb2.0 are not a pre-built collection of tools and content, but rather a framework that allows learners to assemble their own suite of applications and content sources. The integrated LearnWeb2.0 environment provides further advantages for the knowledge resource creation process, for example, it automatically produces rich metadata for newly created knowledge resources. In a fully integrated environment, knowledge workers can use data obtained from different information sources as building blocks for creating new content. Contextual information that is a part of the creation

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process, such as creation time or information sources used, can be automatically derived during the creation activity and reused as metadata for the new resources.
Figure 1 LearnWeb2.0 architecture (see online version for colours)

Figure 2 LearnWeb2.0 user interface and browser-based LearnWeb2.0 agent (see online version for colours)

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Figure 2 shows part of the current user interface of the LearnWeb2.0 prototype and, in particular, the LearnWeb2.0 agent (realised as a browser plugin, cf. bottom-right corner) that provides basic aggregation and annotation functions for Web 2.0 resources while browsing the web. Together with usability advantages, integrated environments such as LearnWeb2.0 bring numerous challenges relating to interoperability, user interfaces and security. For example, the integration of several Web 2.0 services into one environment requires identity management between the integrated applications (Lawton, 2007). Based on a real life scenario, this paper illustrates the ways in which people interact in their working environment to create, search and share knowledge resources and to develop skills that help them improve their work experience, which in turn are used to identify software functions that support such interaction. We focus on novel features that automate time-consuming user actions, increasing the usability of LearnWeb2.0. In this paper, we refer to the functionalities of the LearnWeb2.0 version V.2. The rest of the paper is organised as follows: Section 0 provides a detailed discussion of the platform functions that are being implemented. Section 0 describes a knowledge-sharing scenario related to the University of Pavia. In Section 0 we give a brief synopsis of LearnWeb2.0 and summarise how LearnWeb2.0 realises the features required in the scenario. After presenting related work in Section 5, we conclude our paper with a short summary in Section 6.

LearnWeb2.0 functions

In principle, knowledge resources relating to specific user activities (e.g., learning courses, events, etc.) can be grouped together. In the context of lifelong competence development, these groups are never complete, as knowledge resources appear, change and become outdated rather quickly. The current LearnWeb2.0 prototype supports grouping of knowledge resources as well as tagging and classification at resource and group level but so far, all of these activities have to be applied manually to every resource, which is a clear waste of users time. Motivated by our field research (see Section 3), in the next release of LearnWeb2.0 we want to enable users to specify the properties underlying specific aggregation, classification, tagging or sharing decisions, so that the system can perform event-driven group updates, for example, to automatically classify and share newly inserted knowledge resources. In this section, we describe the new functions, which will be available in the next LearnWeb2.0 release.

2.1 Resource selection and sharing

A LearnWeb2.0 user can select and share a set of resources based on a common property supporting search tasks such as those performed by the Pavia team as described in Section 0. The common property may be a tag, a file type, a timestamp or other properties and their combinations, including filter masks. A frequently used query mask can be stored as a standing query (Manning et al., 2008) in the user profile, enabling quick access to an up-to-date set of resources sharing the specified property (see Section 3.2 for an example). A further application of a standing query is to

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automatically share a suitable resource as soon as it is added to the repository and annotated adequately. LearnWeb2.0 uses automatic resource annotation to support collaborative searching. Once a resource in the search result list has been selected, it is automatically tagged with the corresponding query items. These tags can be used later on for resource recommendations to friends and colleagues. LearnWeb2.0s current search functions are not limited to a single Web 2.0 application, but integrate search results from a number of supported Web 2.0 services. The next release will contain user-specific search functions providing a seamless view of all knowledge resources stored in the various Web 2.0 accounts of a specific user. Users will thus be able to carry out search queries limited to their distributed Web 2.0 virtual working space (cf. Section 2.8) in much the same way as they would with a desktop search on a local machine. LearnWeb2.0 provides users with a generic search interface. That is, they can use the same interface for whatever kind of resources they are searching for (e.g., an image, a video clip or even social network contacts). In the future, the generic search interface will become adaptable to the users actual work context. For example, if a user indicates that she is seeking for a specific type of resources (such as contacts) she will be in a position to focus her search on certain attributes of that type of resources (e.g., e-mail addresses).

2.2 Annotating search results

Manually adding new resources or updating metadata of existing knowledge resources in LearnWeb2.0 is time-consuming. The next release of LearnWeb2.0 will provide resource selection and annotation functions using a filter mask as described in Section 3.1 below. Having selected a set of knowledge resources, users will be forwarded to the editing page, where they can perform metadata updates on all selected resources at once. For example, they can add new tags to the whole resource group or assign all selected resources to a specific category, as well as specify time, location, language and access rights.

2.3 Bookmark sharing and notification

During web browsing, users may identify and annotate interesting web pages. They might also want to notify colleagues and friends about these pages. To support this function, LearnWeb2.0 will use SpreadCrumbs (Kawase, 2009), which enables users to create a sticky note on any web page, specifically addressed to one or more recipients. This note will appear each time the recipient, a friend or a colleague, enters the web page. Additionally, users will find all notifications addressed to them in their LearnWeb2.0 profile. Furthermore, LearnWeb2.0 will provide traditional social bookmarking by exploiting Delicious and GroupMe! (Abel et al., 2007), which enable to construct notifications based on RSS feeds.

2.4 Resource aggregation and sequencing

The user may also be interested in grouping together a set of knowledge resources relating to the same learning activity or competence as described in the content

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aggregation and sequencing scenario in Section 3.3. LearnWeb2.0 uses GroupMe! for resource aggregation. Currently, only manual grouping is supported but the next release will base grouping on filter masks. Furthermore, a standing query will enable instant automatic group updates as soon as new resources are added to the LearnWeb2.0 system. LearnWeb2.0 provides web services, which export its functions to third party applications. This allows us to apply LearnWeb2.0 services for any sequencing tool. In the TENCompetence environment, resources are organised using the learning design editor ReCourse (Beauvoir and Griffiths, 2009). This editor allows the creation of learning designs and management of learning resources adapted to the learners current competences.

2.5 Resource upload

LearnWeb2.0 is an integrated environment, which supports resource upload using a common user interface as well as storage of these resources in the distributed user working space. The web is not the only place where users find resources related to a specific competence. Some useful resources might be located on the users desktop or may be acquired through other devices such as a camera. LearnWeb2.0 can directly upload a resource from the desktop or an external source to a suitable Web 2.0 tool and enrich it with useful annotations. To upload a resource, the user selects a file and the Web 2.0 tool(s) where the file should be stored. The LearnWeb2.0 upload functionality is supported through the APIs provided by the Web 2.0 tools. Before uploading, users specify an access policy for the resource (private or public) as well as further metadata and then upload the resource.

2.6 Aggregation and manipulation of social networks

LearnWeb2.0 users can easily create a social network. They can have friends or build groups of people and share things with these people, e.g., standing queries, GroupMe! groups and other resources like bookmarks, videos, etc. LearnWeb2.0 enables users to reuse their existing networks, possibly merged from different services like Orkut or Facebook. The generic search interface mentioned in Section 2.1 illustrates the process of aggregating social networks. Instead of performing a query in each social networking service separately, LearnWeb2.0 provides a uniform interface that lists contacts matching a query seamlessly. Furthermore, LearnWeb2.0 users can manage their social network(s) within the LearnWeb2.0 system. A LearnWeb2.0 user can add another LearnWeb2.0 user as a friend and send that information to selected networking services, where both users have an account. Managing connections to friends is thus restricted to LearnWeb2.0 users, i.e., within LearnWeb2.0 a user A can only add user B as friend if 1 2 A and B both have at least one account with the same social networking service A and B have both provided their account details for that account.

Hence, LearnWeb2.0 users are enabled to manage their social LearnWeb2.0 network. The social network can be exploited for sharing resources with particular users or groups of users (cf. Sections 2.1 and 2.3). Resource sharing is not only restricted to the social LearnWeb2.0 network. A user can also share, for instance, a bookmark with any other user (group) or with the public.

Social sharing in LearnWeb2.0

Figure 3 Collaborative content creation: web resources can be grouped via drag-and-drop, the groups can be enriched with text notes and users can discuss the content in the group by leaving a comment (see online version for colours)

2.7 Collaborative content creation

LearnWeb2.0 enables content creation in various ways. As mentioned in Section 2.4, users can create resource compositions by bundling different resources possibly relating to the same topic and/or activity. Resource compositions are created via a special graphic panel, in which users drag-and-drop resources belonging to different media types. Figure 2 shows a screenshot of the user interface that allows users to create such resource compositions via simple drag-and-drop operations. Users can also write notes (see the yellow note in Figure 3), HTML snippets or comments (see Discussion in Figure 3). In both cases, content creation can be carried out collaboratively, satisfying the condition where one user initiates a specific resource composition activity, for example in response to a standing query, while another user, with appropriate access rights, may subsequently refine this activity by modifying the set of resources or adding textual descriptions in terms of HTML snippets. Other users, with no resource composition privileges in specific

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cases, can influence the resource composition creation process by posting comments or annotating the composition. LearnWeb2.0 thereby promotes intercreativity that is a feature of the Web 2.0 revolution.

2.8 Virtual Web 2.0 working space

Users have access to the resources stored in various Web 2.0 tools centrally through the LearnWeb2.0 interface as well as directly through each Web 2.0 tool. To support the management of external resources, LearnWeb2.0 needs to detect resource changes that are made directly within an external Web 2.0 tool. To achieve this, LearnWeb2.0 maintains a resource index where the current state of play in the users account for each Web 2.0 tool is stored together with the links to the resources. If users access their profile in LearnWeb2.0, the system consults the index for the current update state for each Web 2.0 tool. Furthermore, it updates the resource index in the case of changes within the user account (i.e., a user has uploaded or deleted resources without using LearnWeb2.0).

2.9 Central secure indexing

LearnWeb2.0 supports secure sharing of private resources. In their profile, users have an overview of their resources stored on Web 2.0 tools and all resources that other users share with them regardless of their identity. This information is stored within the resource index that provides security guarantees. Only authorised users can obtain information about a particular resource. In the case where the central index is hijacked by an adversary, the amount of knowledge an adversary can get from the index is restricted.


Authorisation and access control

For each resource a flexible access policy can be added. These policies allow users to grant access to a particular resource and to a particular group of users. They are based on user properties (such as group membership, community relations, role, age and citizenship), user relations (friend, colleague) or time. Access policies are stored on the server providing the resource index (see Section 2.9) and are evaluated with help of a policy engine reasoning software providing an expressive rule-based language to describe and reason over policies and access control decisions ensuing from them.


Single sign on

Anonymous users can access LearnWeb2.0 and browse through publicly available resources. LearnWeb2.0 provides search results directly from the integrated Web 2.0 tools. As part of the design policy to promote user specific functions, such as resource upload and sharing, LearnWeb2.0 supports single sign on to the Web 2.0 tools integrated in the LearnWeb2.0 platform. When a user logs in, the system accesses the users profile, extracts the list of the Web 2.0 tools the user has access to as well as access data and, finally, logs the users browser into each tool.

Social sharing in LearnWeb2.0

Knowledge sharing scenario

We can now use a real scenario from the University of Pavia, which focuses on ICT technicians working in the information systems area at this university to see how LearnWeb2.0 works. The tasks performed by the technicians include management of the European Computer Driving License (ECDLTest Centre and organisation of learning courses. So far, these courses have been provided by a private company and the technicians have supported them as online-tutors or exam providers. Recently, a new task has been assigned to the group: the creation of two new e-learning courses relating to ECDL materials (Advanced Access and PowerPoint courses). Many materials related to these topics are already available on the internet, so our platform design needs to support proper organisation of the work, as indeed it does, by making this information easily available, for example, searching for and organising resources, as well as sharing them within the group. The ICT technicians intention is to use Moodle (http://moodle.org) as a platform to deliver the final content. Each technician will be responsible for a specific task: Gabriele will search for appropriate resources, Daniela will provide evaluation exercises, Enrica will organise the contents in keeping with the AICA Syllabus (http://www.aicanet.it). External contributions are also welcome: Luigi, who works on other tasks in the city of Cremona, supports the groups work, by monitoring the ICT groups activities. In the following subsections we illustrate the course construction process focusing on three main tasks: 1 2 3 searching for resources sharing search results aggregation and sequencing, thus connecting our knowledge sharing scenario with the functions we have described in Section 2.

3.1 Searching for resources

As part of the task assigned to him, Gabriele will search for available materials, useful for the course. He logs into LearnWeb2.0, accesses its user management service and edits his preferences. He provides login data for his favourite Web 2.0 tools to allow for automatic single sign on to these applications (see Section 2.11). This allows Gabriele to access all resources from their Web 2.0 place of origin, without having to provide different passwords. Because the LearnWeb2.0 agent (see top layer in Figure 1) is installed in his browser, Gabriele can identify important learning resources and group them together using the aggregation functionality, described in Section 2.4. He starts by searching the internet and his desktop for interesting resources. Through Slideshare he gathers PowerPoint files relating to MS Access Training; through YouTube he gathers video tutorials on the same subject using Delicious he also gathers links and bookmarks through the filter masks described in Section 2.1. He uses the LearnWeb2.0 resource upload function to upload new resources into corresponding Web 2.0 tools and adds them to the LearnWeb2.0 platform at one stroke as described in Section 2.5. The resources can now be grouped together. Gabriele adds this group to LearnWeb2.0 as a new resource. As soon as Gabriele drags a resource or file (e.g., a podcast describing MS Office features) into the LearnWeb2.0 window, the agent offers a selection of groups to which the resource or file can be added. Gabriele collects materials and bookmarks,


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using the annotation function and the filter masks. Gabriele now creates a new group, which he labels with Advanced Access and can drag the podcast into it. All the resources he has gathered can be accessed and shared on a collaborative basis with LearnWeb2.0 users and, in particular, with the other team members. Furthermore, the resource group, which Gabriele created and labelled with Advanced Access, can be enriched and modified by the other team members in a collaborative manner as well (cf. Section 2.7).

3.2 Resource sharing

In the meantime Daniela looks for evaluation resources (e.g., tests and quizzes) and uses LearnWeb2.0 in a similar way. She also finds other useful materials on the web. Since LearnWeb2.0 is a collaborative environment, Daniela can easily check to see whether Gabriele has already found similar resources based on his use of query tags, as described in Section 2.1. If he has not, she can decide to drop a short message into Gabrieles browser using SpreadCrumbs (see Section 2.3) asking him to assess the item and decide whether it is worth including in his Advanced Access group. Daniela navigates through the search results and finds a group of related resources created by a colleague from a partner university, who has already worked on a similar task and adds them to her Assessment group. Finally, she comments, tags and rates the resources and then, like Gabriele, shares her Assessment group with her ICT colleagues. When a team member adds a new resource, the LearnWeb2.0 agent provides notification to all participants in the work group. As Gabriele and Daniela both participate in the Advanced Access and Assessment groups, Daniela gets notified when Gabriele adds new content and can search for exercises in order to provide appropriate assessments related to the topic indicated in the notification. Vice versa, Gabriele also gets notified about Danielas actions and can act accordingly. Other ICT technicians, including those from other universities, interested in sharing resources and contributing, can also interact with the Pavia ICT group. For example, Daniela can easily share all the resources she has located and tagged with Photoshop filters with all her friends working on a specific project, which requires the use of a graphics program. The use of new standing query resources, added by Daniela subsequently, will automatically become part of the shared set as soon as they are annotated in an appropriate way. Hence, all the parties concerned can benefit from notifications caused by colleagues at the University of Pavia or colleagues from a partner university, who have already completed a similar task. For example, the University of Pavia has an annex in Cremona where the Faculty of Musicology is located. Students in Cremona might also want to use the online course envisaged, so that technicians in Cremona are keen to participate in the pooling of resources. Luigi has previous experience in creating online courses. He accesses the LearnWeb2.0 platform as an external guest, monitors the progress of the Pavia teams work (e.g., by subscribing to the RSS feed bundling all activities of the Pavia team) and gives them additional advice (e.g., by commenting the content creation process described in Section 2.7).

3.3 Aggregation and sequencing

Enrica is responsible for organising the contents of the ECDL/ICDL syllabus (http://aicanet.net/certificazioni/ecdl/advanced-level/syllabus). Anxious to avoid

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re-inventing the wheel, she focuses on work done by other colleagues, creating a Syllabus group and organising contents according to the specific requirements of the learning course. She accesses the LearnWeb2.0 home page to get an overview of the various resource groups created so far. She can also add her own related resources. She can browse through the complete set of search results obtained so far, as well as look up the details of a particular resource. She can also comment, tag and rate resources using the annotation functionality, described in Section 2.2. In the groups created by Daniela and Gabriele, she will find related resources, which can be included in a learning module. For example, she is now in a position to include multimodal resources (e.g., animations) in a learning module, possibly as a multimedia section in the course. Enrica restructures the content into a sequence using the learning design editor ReCourse mentioned in Section 2.4.


In Section 0 we presented three different kinds of tasks that characterise the functionality of LearnWeb2.0. Table 1 shows how the features, which we presented in Sections 2.1 to 2.11, are applied to realise these different kinds of tasks. For example, to make searching an easily-handled experience (Task 2.1 Searching) LearnWeb2.0 has to allow resource selection among the various Web 2.0 services (like Flickr, Delicious, etc.) that are integrated in LearnWeb2.0. Standing queries (cf. Section 2.1) enable users to persist their search tasks while annotation of search results (cf. Section 2.2) together with the bookmark sharing feature (cf. Section 2.3) facilitates future retrieval of specific search result items that are favoured by the user. LearnWeb2.0 forms a virtual Web 2.0 working space (cf. Section 2.8). Regarding the search process, this means that LearnWeb2.0 acts as meta-search engine, which also allows searching within Web 2.0 repositories, where access is restricted according to some access policies. The single sign on (cf. Section 2.11) reduces the login costs for the users. The central secure indexing (cf. Section 2.9) ensures that access rights are respected.
Table 1 Feature 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 2.10 2.11 Resource selection and sharing Annotating search results Bookmark sharing and notification Resource aggregation and sequencing Resource upload Aggregation and manipulation of social networks Collaborative content creation Virtual Web 2.0 working space Central secure indexing Authorisation and access control Single sign on x x x Functionalities required for the scenario tasks Task 3.2 Sharing x x x x x x x x x x x

3.1 Searching x x x

3.3 Aggregation x

Table 2

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Selected features of LearnWeb2.0 and Web 2.0 that are used to realise the features

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Table 2 summarises selected features in the LearnWeb2.0 platform. LearnWeb2.0 makes use of existing Web 2.0 services in order to realise the features (see the Services in use column). For example, the 2.1 Resource selection and sharing feature is realised by combining various Web 2.0 services: LearnWeb2.0 users can select bookmarks from Delicious and SpreadCrumbs, images from Flickr, videos from YouTube, etc. and the selected multimedia resources can be shared with friends. Here, LearnWeb2.0 exploits the complete social network that is visible to LearnWeb2.0, i.e., it aggregates social connections from Facebook and Orkut as well as connections to friends specified in Delicious, Flickr, YouTube or Last.fm. The collaborative content creation (cf. 2.7 Collaborative content creation) also highlights how the existing Web 2.0 services are used to realise LearnWeb2.0 features. LearnWeb2.0 users can bundle different bookmarks, images, videos, etc. related to some topic in a group using GroupMe! and its intuitive drag-and-drop interface. These groups of multimedia resources can be enriched with textual HTML snippets by using the HTML editor of Wordpress or Bloggers. The creation of these artifacts (GroupMe! groups enriched with HTML-formatted text notes) can be achieved collaboratively, where the contributors are selected from the aggregated social network. The comment functionality of the blogging tools is applied to foster discussions during the content creation process.

Related work

Ullrich et al. (2008) have shown that Web 2.0 services stimulate active participation of learners in the learning process and allow a sense of community in formal distance courses to be created. LearnWeb2.0 is designed to support learners in informal learning settings. The pedagogical implications of using Web 2.0 tools in the competence development process need to be investigated in the future as this paper restricts its focus to information access and retrieval. The majority of the available Web 2.0 applications are typically designed for a specific task like storage and management of videos or bookmarks. Netvibes or iGoogle, are examples of mashups, which provide access to different Web 2.0 applications in a single environment. However, these applications still remain separate (Thang et al., 2007). LearnWeb2.0 not only integrates many of the applications which have become well-known to the majority of potential users, but it also makes it possible to share the functionalities of these applications. Our goal is to bring together and manage resources in a fully integrated environment to help teaching and learning (Collins et al., 1997). In such an integrated environment users can access and manage their resources regardless of the actual storage application. The need for assistance in (multiple, flexible) filing and searching facilities to offer enhanced attributes in users desktops was identified in Bischoff et al. (2007). LearnWeb2.0 expands this concept into a virtual desktop, spread over a number of Web 2.0 tools. Typically, Web 2.0 applications do not go beyond the needs of individual users as islands unto themselves, whereas the TENCompetence project addresses the desire that people have in wanting to share with others what they have found, related to lifelong learning and competence development. One important contribution of LearnWeb2.0 is the collaborative search component. Recent studies have shown that social search techniques


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might improve the effectiveness of the web search (Agrahri et al., 2008). SearchTogether (Morris and Horvitz, 2007) is such an interface for collaborative search. In LearnWeb2.0 we will go one step further and allow the system to store and reuse the most successful queries for competence development.


In this paper, we used a real-world scenario to identify and discuss further challenges for integrating social software tools into the LearnWeb2.0 infrastructure. We sketched the main activities required and described the most important functions, to be introduced in the next LearnWeb2.0 release. Extending the manual resource aggregation and annotation, LearnWeb2.0 will provide resource aggregation based on standing queries and will enable instant updates of the results. Whereas the first release of LearnWeb2.0 was focused on interoperability, the functions of the next release will focus on community and notification support as well as sharing in a Web 2.0 environment, moving the LearnWeb2.0 environment towards social network software.

The work on this paper has been partially sponsored by the TENCompetence Integrated Project, contract no. 027087.

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Social sharing in LearnWeb2.0


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