ATutor Social is a social networking module that allows ATutor users to connect with each other. They can gather contacts, create a public profile, track network activity, create and join groups, and customize the environment with any of the thousands of OpenSocial gadgets available all over the Web. ATutor Social can be used alone as a social networking application, or it can be used with the ATutor Learning Management System to create a social learning environment.
ATutor Social is based on the Google OpenSocial standard, implementing the Container part of the standard in ATutor. It essentially turns ATutor into a platform for OpenSocial applications. Applications are based on the Gadget part of the OpenSocial standard, and gadgets plugin to containers. Gadgets are available for a wide range of purposes, from simply linking a quote of the day app into the networking environment, to integrating sites like Flickr, Picasa, and YouTube, as well as other social networks like Facebook and MySpace.
Anyone familiar with iGoogle, can click on "Add stuff" to find a list of gadgets that plug into the iGoogle environment. Gadgets that work with iGoogle (or many of them), also work with ATutor.
How to get ATutor Social
ATutor Social is included as part of the ATutor Download. Follow the steps you would follow to install ATutor, but during the second step of the installation, choose Install only ATutor Social to install it on its own without the learning management system. Or choose to Install ATutor with ATutor Social (the default) to create a social learning environment.
ATutor Social Features
- Search Network: Search for people on a network to display basic information about them. Login to add people as contacts.
- My Contacts: Search the network for people you know and add them to your contact list.
- People you Might Know: To help build networks, contacts of your contacts (i.e. friends of friends) are displayed making it easy to add common contacts. Random selections of a few other's contacts display each time a page loads.
- Network Activity: Keep track of what other people in your network are doing by following their activities.
- Network Groups: Create interest groups, or join existing ones. Invite people to join groups you belong to.
- Gadgets: Select from thousands of OpenSocial gadgets available around the internet to customize your social network to your liking. Once a gadget has been used on a system, it becomes available to others on your network to add to their networking tools.
- Privacy: Select from a range of privacy settings to control who sees what parts of your profile, and control which parts of your profile are searchable by others.
- Turn off ATutor Social: ATutor Social runs both inside and outside of courses. Instructors may choose to disable networking inside their courses.
- Social to LMS Option: ATutor Social can be used on its own, without the LMS. ATutor LMS can be used on its own by disabling ATutor Social. Or, both ATutor Social and ATutor LMS can be used together to create a social learning environment.
- ShinDig Location: The ShinDig server acts as a hub for a social network. By default social.atutor.ca acts as the central hub for the ATutor social network. Administrators may choose to point to a different ShinDig server to create a private network.
- OpenSocial Standard: Develop your own OpenSocial Gadgets that will plugin to ATutor, or into other OpenSocial container applications.