Many thaks for the responses to my enquiry about IT banning social networking sites. The speed and and number of responses suggest this is quite an issue in the FE sector and a debate that is likely to continue.
Overall I had 28 responses, not all from colleges.
About 19 said they have an outright ban, 1 or 2 didn't agree with this ban but others were grateful saying that it had improved behaviour in the LRC.
Only 1 said it wasn't banned because it was made use of in an educational context but 1 of the 19 colleges said there ban was likely to be overturned because some tutors wanted to make use of it.
The remainder of the colleges were policing use through various pieces of software including ICAM, ABT Tutor, I-SPY etc and this was usually combined with having a clear code of conduct and policing.
Some other interesting points that some of the respondents made. One college had banned Bebo on child protection grounds because they had under 16s. One college found behaviour and use had improved when a separate social IT area had been set up combined with banning access in the LRCs.
I think implicit in many of the responses was that if the sites could be made use of in an educational and structured way then were no real objections to use, as I believe the 1 positive response to use does, but if not used in this way then the virtual socialising becomes actual in the LRC, creating a social, rather than academic, space.
Many thanks to all those who responded, your insights were extremely useful.
City of Bristol College
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