Guided Assessment Or Open Discourse: 
A Comparative Analysis Of Students Interaction On Facebook Groups

Lenandlar SINGH

Web 2.0 and specifically Social Networking Software have become ubiquitous tools for communication over the last five years. Across many disciplines, practitioners and researchers have been exploring these technologies with the hope of tapping into their perceived potential. Not least in this endeavor is the field of Education. Educators and Researchers have been engaged in active research on the practical and pedagogical benefits and implications of Web 2.0 and Social Networks. This paper explores the use of Facebook Groups in the Undergraduate Computer Science Program at the University of Guyana. Specifically, Guided Assessment strategies using Facebook Groups are compared with unguided and non-assessed Facebook Groups. Specifically, this study provides a comparative outline of the usage patterns of two (2) Instructor-Guided and Assessed Facebook Groups with three (3) student-led, non-assessed Facebook Groups that supported a form of Open Discourse. Results suggest that planned and guided, instructor-directed activities provide more focused responses from students compared to Open Discourse. However, information sharing and communication is common among both groups and in similar patterns. Particularly, students shared links, videos, and blogs with their colleagues. Planned activities are recommended for specific course objectives, while students should be encouraged to evaluate and share information among their peers.

KEYWORDS: Facebook Groups, Web 2.0, Social Networks, Structured Learning, Higher Education.