Descriptive Study of Students Reacting to Ning Network


The purpose of this proposed study is to prove the positive effect of social network applied to the learning process among students studying English. As the most effective learning can take place in the informal environment, the research should take into account the effectiveness of the knowledge acquisition in terms of traditional system of education and the e-learning as an alternative to it. The approximate social network to be used is the Ning that has recently gained popularity among students and educators. As every individual can creative a personal profile, this information can be used to share information and search for relevant data through the internet with no need for cataloging and storing data that can be found online. The research concerns learners of 9-12 grades that study English; it is aimed at proving the positive effect of using informal communication, counseling, discussion, explanation, and reasoning for the same purposes as the formal one conducted in class.

Overview of Study

The past and current education system has faced criticism for its lack of ability to engage students in the class activities. This presents a challenge to teachers and educators. The previous decades has turned the teachers into narrators while the students have been turned into listening objects. This shifts the essence of learning as it is curtailed by memorization of information rather than its understanding. The dilemma appears when both parties of the learning-teaching process experience difficulties: Students are bored with the information they acquire and the educators are puzzled due to the ways of making students participate. The importance of education is to apply lifelong knowledge and skills to students through engaging them in the teaching process. The purpose of Ning applied to the learning process consists in making students participate in class activity via online discussion and counseling of academic subjects in the social network. Informal dialogues can be more effective as they are not limited by teacher’s commentaries like those in the class. Besides, students can give their peers some hints on academic issues using informal language and more understandable expressions. This leads to a better understanding between the teacher and the student (Wells 2007).

This learning environment has brought in the Ning network which is described as a platform that enables the formation and creation of one’s social network. Ning first appeared in 2005 but was later initiated officially in 2007. These social networks have seen the lifestyle of many people and can enumerate a number of the most common topics for discussion including search for information on education, dating and employment opportunities. Nowadays, people are able to get useful information through social websites and transmit it to other people who may need it as well. There are, however, a number of negative factors that are associated with social websites, misuse of other people’s personal information and malicious attacks on ordinary users. A social network is a form of communication and information structure made up of nodes which can be individuals or entities that are tied up in different interaction levels ranging from families and close friends to sovereign nations worldwide. Technology has made it possible for a worldwide network to transmit and receive different types of information through instant messaging and emails. As reported by Brewster (2009), users can also create their profiles that are at times broken down into categories of internal social network (ISN) and external social network (ESN).

Despite the discouragement of usage of social networks in academic institutions, statistics have shown that most students discuss educational information while using such sites. It has been found that sharing useful information on learning happens through social sites such as MySpace, Twitter, and Face Book. A person seeking higher education can also get relevant information and details from such sites through counseling. Most people are likely to offer their assistance and give you links to appropriate websites. There are several preferences that a user can opt in. The first option is where the client or user may decide to be offered the service for free but with the surety that his/her account can be used for push advertisement by the people owning Ning. The second option is where the user may decide to have a paid account and avoid the adverts running in their pages. The fee imposed is mainly paid every month.


Ning has a wide variety of users who range from individuals to multinational companies seeking for newer and faster ways for their employees to engage and share knowledge. Ning network is both restricted to schools and institutions and enables families to use this service for interpersonal communication. Educators have also used the technology in order to share ideas on curriculum development. Ning comprises forums, videos, and pictures capabilities that assist students and teachers to take part in the real time chats. Another advantage introduced by technology is that it is accessible to everyone to every Internet user. Class projects can be organized with the teacher having a prior survey of students’ opinions on their knowledge of the subjects and some suggestions for debates. A Ning network enables teachers to further continue and offer more time to students even after class. Time in the classroom is always insufficient for the teacher to satisfy the needs of each and every student in class. Through Ning network, discussion of the topic can also be expanded outside class supported with blogs and discussion boards.

Adoption of the Ning Network

There are various platforms that can be used for the improvement of education level in the classroom. Ning network was first implemented for educational purposes in 2005, shortly after it was introduced by cofounders, Marc Andreesen and Gina Bianchini. Ning is a Chinese word that stands for peace (Bianchini, 2007). Ning offers features that allow educators to form their own social networks. These networks can be centered on particular interests with each displaying certain and specific designs. The adoption of Ning and other forms of social media for the purposes of teaching is a new idea that has not been fully embraced by all educational instidtutions as there are various barriers that need to be overcome in the school setting. These barriers are manifested through lack of computer resources in schools and also lack of efficient personnel with relevant knowledge on social networking.

This new phenomenon creates an opportunity for teachers, students, and administrators to collaborate and share knowledge. This will result in advancement of the learning-teaching level and development of a curriculum that is engaging as opposed to the current system which lets the teacher dominate the learning process therefore discouraging initiatives.

Problem Statement

This research proposal is aimed at proving the positive effect of the social networks used in the teaching-learning process by giving an example of the Ning social network that can enhance student activity inside and outside the class and facilitate choosing of challenging, encouraging , and thought-provoking topics for debates by educators via informal surveys.

Rationale for Research

The current educational system is claimed to be discouraging for students that are expected to listen to explanations by teacher, whereas both parties of the teaching-learning process suffer from negative effects of such approach. It is obvious that social network is widely used by those enrolled into distance learning, though the Ning network enables teachers and students of the traditional learning system to share knowledge freely without constraints of time and space. Through the use of the web, learning becomes more and more attractive to the students. When social networking tools are used for education, they become tools and engines for growth and self-improvement within the educational sector. Educational networks are utilized for the purpose of creating and engaging the learning community to dialogue with each other, hence, leading to active participation in the learning process.

Question for Research

Do the surveyed students view Ning network as a positive approach to learning, find that it helps them learn, and do they like using it?


The student participants chosen for this study will view the Ning network as a positive approach to learning English.



The priority of online communication was shifted and now it incorporates mailing as well as sharing information via messaging, video chats and interactive forums; education is a large sector that has been largely improved with the help of online communication (Tavangarian et al., 2004). Online learning is used for counseling and informal debates and the only element that is necessary for this activity is the computer with the Internet (Risham, 2010). The Encyclopædia Britannica Online (2010) suggests the following definition of e-learning and relevant issues:

…form of education in which the main elements include physical separation of teachers and students during instruction and the use of various technologies to facilitate student-teacher and student-student communication. Distance learning often focuses on nontraditional students, such as full-time workers, military personnel, and nonresidents or individuals in remote regions who are unable to attend classroom lectures.

In other words, this form of learning enables students to acquire knowledge without being physically present in class.

Knowledge management

Knowledge management is defined as the management of the human knowledge in institutions through collection, synthesis, and dissemination of knowledge in a well-organized and functional manner. Knowledge management entails making people think of the knowledge in their hands and the capture of this knowledge in a selected location, and later disseminating it to the right people (Robin, 2004). Collection of knowledge is much simpler than in earlier periods, given the development of technology and the web. In this respect, knowledge management is a method of appropriate collection of information and adequate distribution of it.

Social networking

These is defined as web-based services that permit people to either build a public or semi-public profile inside an enclosed system. These services can access a catalog of other individuals’ profiles linked to the user. These profiles can also be seen and list traversed.

Educational networks

These are user-friendly user-generated settings. They are also a media used to advance partnership and cooperation; all these are needed in a true educational environment, be it a classroom, boardroom, or an online discussion board. These features can be improved in an educational environment that uses educational networking. Educational networks can sustain social networking and project-based education methods where educators and students can mutually contribute to different capacities. This type of education is referred to as social learning (Foss, 2004).

Review of Related Literature

Literature Review

As suggested by Hargadon (2010) in the article “Educational networking: The role of web 2.0 in education,” the Internet has revolutionized the way businesses and organizations are run and this also applies to education as we are now seeing more and more cases of educational networks being applied in schools and other institutions of higher learning. Software developers are coming up with more innovative means for educators to pass on their lessons and knowledge without the constraint of both time and location to students. The students on the other hand can be able to discuss and generate dialogue with their counterparts on how best to solve problems that may afflict them. The first step towards the creation of educational networks was to make sure knowledge was accessible to everyone at all times.

A school can decide to incorporate an Intranet that will be used for storage and display of information such as documents, forms, charts and graphs, pictures and scanned image, databases and corporate and organizational calendar. The Intranet can be commissioned by the school and can contain relatively static information, somewhat dynamic information and highly dynamic information. Within the relatively static information are: Benefits descriptions, policies and procedures, forms, school charts, newsletters, document templates, facility locations and maps and minutes of meetings. Some of the dynamic information listed on the organization’s Intranet includes phone listings, internal job listings, project data, including their summaries and schedules. Highly dynamic information on the website incorporated daily news, corporate contacts, individual student data, email address listings, and school calendar.

Using Educational Networks to Integrate Knowledge Management and Learning

Associations formed to link social networking tools to educational institutions and organizations are increasing. The drift in telecommuting and virtual classes has alienated students and reduced chances for unofficial face-to-face knowledge-exchanging sessions. This challenge has led to schools and institutional organizations searching for ways for students and educators to share information and connect the tools to existing educational programs. Educational networking tools such as Ning and Classroom 2.0 can bring individuals as one to share, and capture the knowledge transfers (Kotelnikov, 2010).

Developing an Educational Networking tool for Education


The first step consists in treating schools and educational establishments of higher levels as market of useful information. In this respect, the knowledge acquired by students can be considered good investments to successful professional career in future. Besides, the market needs a place (a school where the teaching-learning process is conducted), the process of selling-buying (educators provide students with an opportunity to choose relevant information, collect it, and use it during specific activities aimed at developing their academic and intellectual skills). Moreover, the knowledge market under consideration should be supported and maintained properly in order to enable educators to share their knowledge and experience and encourage students to collect information and put theory into practice.

The second step concerns the rules for knowledge market operation. As every sector of human activity requires certain rules and guidelines, the same principles should be adopted for education. Regarding this, every student should respect the rules and observe those as well as educators who should encourage students, mentor them, and monitor their knowledge.

The third step consists in establishing and developing a specific media network for knowledge market operation. This network should include facilities to collect and comprehend information, share it, and develop the existing knowledge. Thus, the process should include receiving and delivering options.

The fourth step includes knowledge databases aimed at collecting, processing, storing, distributing, and upgrading information. Certain catalogues should facilitate the process of searching for necessary data according to the principle utilized for Internet search engines. Personal profiles of educators and students can be updated regarding their experience and achievements in different sectors of learning. Collaboration on various multi-task projects can help individuals develop their skills on working with databases and using information for diverse assignments. Necessary data can be stored in academic sources in a codified form requiring students and educators to establish specific principles of its cataloging.

The fifth step includes the establishment and development of infrastructure relevant to the operation and maintenance of the knowledge market. Certain tools, gadgets, devices, and other issues of technological advancement can be designed in cooperation with the Information Technology Departments. As reported by Foss ( 2008), the infrastructure can also be improved due to interpersonal communication.

The sixth step presupposes that knowledge management is applied to knowledge market in order to make all process more coordinated and well-organized. It is possible to begin with the information and communication technologies to develop the tools. However, it is better to start with analysis of the current issues and an overview of approximate steps that are expected to bring in certain improvements. In other words, it is necessary to list all measures to be taken in accordance with the knowledge management operation.

Benefits of Educational Networks

Almost all educational analysts and participants concur that incorporating social networks into official educational strategies signifies major reforms in the way schools and other institutions of higher learning have coached and developed skills. Although social learning is not able to swap officially with e-learning, there are still some requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to distribute content, gauge performance and follow compliance for structured education. However, educational networking can be utilized to collect knowledge and information to integrate into the strategies of e-learning.

Ning has been claimed to be a first-rate tool for educators and student orientations and schooling programs. Most institutions usually present a standard orientation that focuses on the schooling community. Schooling departments could generate wiki or blog threads on their particular departments that are purposely geared to supplementing students and educators with all the schooling community having critical components and designs that can manipulate educational success in schools. The goal would be to provide sustained support for students and teachers that can be tailored to meet the developmental requirements of specific groups of students and other educators within the institution (Simmers, 2008).

Educational networking is being spread into many schools and learning institutions all over the world. This concept might comprise initiatives such as partnership and collaboration on projects or offering support and counseling in the learning process. Knowledge management keeps an eye on and includes shared knowledge across a learning institution to guarantee that learning processes are properly conducted and skills and abilities shared with all the members of the school community. Educational networking allows its members to locate educators for just-in-time help through the Internet. Spontaneous support forums based on certain issues and concerns can also be formed in order to help users with immediate problem-solving. Appropriately enthused, knowledge and intelligence can grow exponentially when distributed among members. When individuals share ideas, each stands to benefit, and these result in other people’s achievements.


Undoubtedly, there are serious obstacles to knowledge sharing, with one of them being the lack of a connection linking the source and the beneficiary. Educational networking technology permits people to connect on general subjects. Individuals divided by location can link and generate virtual interactions so that knowledge transmitting can take place. One of the difficulties of networking through this technique is that education needs to be merged with high quality social relations (Zedram, 2008).

An institution can utilize social apparatus to bring together knowledge that develops formal learning. Blogs in an educational class allow members to share their skills and understanding, construct case studies for prospect e-learning classes, or utilize information irrelevant to the formal educational process. Provision of structured educational networking for students after an e-learning class, or online module that develops face-to-face guidance permits an institution to record the valuable data shared by the class members during post-course conversation.

It repays the school to expand a procedure to capture and broadcast the casual learning that happens through online educational networking. If data is not captured, the school misses out, as it cannot make certain that the shared knowledge is precise and suitable for the school, and students will not distinguish the worth of the knowledge they have.

The difficulty also comes in classification to make sense to a larger group. The next difficulty exists in sharing knowledge with others in a manner which is searchable and can be equal to the correct knowledge to the right people. An institution must join the individuals who require the knowledge with those who contain it. Knowledge management delivers the knowledge to students’ head, and social networking apparatus are a way to collecting this knowledge. Educational networks such as Ning could then take this information from one individual’s head and transform it into a form that other student can utilize. Research has shown that knowledge is the application of facts in order to solve problems that could be hindering a person. Knowledge is often described as an infinite asset because it is the only asset that increases when it is shared. It is also described as information received and applied in the performance of activities. In addition, knowledge is related to the experiences of people in organizations and societies.

Many scholars and researchers have forwarded the concept of knowledge as a resource and an intangible asset and forms part of the so-called intellectual capital of an organization. In order to fully understand how knowledge based value creation works, an understanding by management on what it is and how it relates to the competence of the firm is crucial. Most times it is information combined with understanding and capability. It lives in the minds of people and is based on individual experiences, beliefs and expectation. Scholars have often put it that knowledge provides a level of repeatability, reliability or predictability that usually stems from the recognition of patterns. For example, an astute executive knows the significance of the dollar figures on his /her company’s income statement and this makes him/her capable of taking positive action. It also guides action, whereas data and information can merely inform or confuse. Knowledge is the product of individual and collective learning which is embodied in products, services and systems (Bontis, 2002).

Tools and Applications to Collect and Share Knowledge

Almost all educational networking tools like Ning that has gained popularity have been utilized for learning in one or several forms. All schools should regard all social tools including Ning in their classes for the purposes of their training and development.

Blogs are sites retained by persons with regular postings of thoughts, views, and news. Any person with access to the website can scrutinize the entry and comments. reports tracking 0.5 million bloggers in January 2009 with 20,000 blog posts in 24-hours. Blogs are a precious instrument for linking knowledge management and e-learning. A school can develop blogs as a method for transferring knowledge since they allow students see what is inside one’s head. An institution can set up a blog forum based on community blogs by department, topic, project, or issue. Content can be extracted so that data can be distributed and reused for external content.

Wikis are like blogs but allow many members to donate to the content on the site. It is a joint knowledge-sharing implementation, and the content can be effortlessly and speedily updated, making it appropriate to ‘just in time education’. Wikis permit the student to be lively in knowledge sharing, while allowing ‘just in time’ methods to implement and distribute knowledge with many individuals operating on a collective project (Bontis, 2002).

Twitter is a networking micro-blogging website that permits learners and educators to ‘pursue’ other’s messages. For knowledge management, Twitter allows an individual to ask colleagues a question. By trailing the communication thread, other members are able to view answers and solutions. An institution can gather all the ‘tweets’ in a database to class, tag, and share. A student can employ Twitter to track a mentor, connect to other educators, check new ideas, and continue conversations after class.

Face Book & MySpace are examples of social sites that attach individuals with familiar interests or interactions. Members can generate and search profiles, construct networks, and share data. For a school institution, they offer the ability to create profiles of students and teachers to categorize subject matter, specialists, incidents, and working relations. Designers can establish subject matter, specialists for class growth and those in quest of advisers can look into profiles. Teachers can search and look for other staff with similar experiences to think on problems and answers.

Instant Messaging (IM) involves real-time contact that links two or more individuals online or by cell phones, for SMS communication. Precious knowledge can be shared as individuals share incidences, work through problems, or talk about current ventures. Since IM utilizes text, it is simply confined and shared, for repurposing in educational contents. An IM discussion on a problem can be captured and then re-utilized in a school blog sharing a last answer, and the procedure used to come to the answer.


The teacher and the student are engaged in curriculum development with a bias on the needs assessment of the student in the context of the general society. Collaboration must be sustained between the student and teacher in designing the lessons and the content of the curriculum. The modern technologies facilitate the process of teaching and learning as it appears to educators and students. In this respect, different tools and gadgets as well as software programs and academic innovations are aimed at improving the level of knowledge acquired by students regardless of their enrollment in the traditional or distance learning.

Collaborating between students and teachers facilitates the learning with process by reflecting on curriculum content in a practical manner (Smith, 2007). Quality teaching is therefore achieved through a procedure that allows for feedback from students on the subject matter. Teaching entails approaches and techniques which are practical in nature. Regarding this, the use of social networks like Ning and others can contribute greatly to the data acquisition in terms of an opportunity to get a feedback from learners outside the class. It is obvious that students can assess their knowledge and gaps in it more adequately while being set into an informal environment. Moreover, informal communication enables educators to learn more about certain preferences and orientation of students within the curriculum and establish mutually-beneficial strategies. For instance, students may be interested in issues opposite to those offered by an educator for discussion in class. In this respect, educators can create challenging tasks appealing to students without being puzzled and introducing additional aspects such as collaboration and vital debate into the learning process.

The curriculum is designed in a manner to actively engage learners on current issues in the society while teacher serves as the reference resource on the content and concepts taught in class. Students’ needs are continuously assessed before and during learning in terms of the different abilities and potentialities of the learners (Berlin, 2005). The relevance of the teaching method is evaluated according to application of the curriculum content to different needs of learners. The curriculum serves as the yardstick in evaluating relevant teaching approaches that best apply with learners’ needs in different contexts. Thus, the curriculum should be re-designed with regard to the e-learning concepts in order to satisfy learners’ needs and expectations and be effective in terms of the knowledge intended for students.

Ning is approached as an effective alternative for the current educational system. The benefits of this program are obvious regarding the contemporary growth of information and communication technologies popularity. Besides, learners can share their knowledge and discuss academic issues being in informal environment. Ning social network does not limit the access for educators who can also take part in the debates of different issues. As a rule, extracurricular counseling can happen to be more effective than in-class explanations. If a student know that the question can be adequately put and answered via user-friendly and familiar method, he/she is not likely to neglect this opportunity.



A sample of convenience will be used to identify participants from a small, rural high school English class in Missouri. The sample will consist of approximately 30 students, both male and female ranging from grades 9-12.

Research Design

After receiving approval from the Missouri State University IRB, I will be conducting research in September of 2010. After obtaining permission from the high school and talking with the English teacher, this proposed study will include surveying the students with a questionnaire that was developed by the researcher and an English teacher (who currently uses the network), which is located in Appendix C. The researcher will obtain parental consent before conducting the survey. A number will be assigned to each survey and 30 participants will be randomly selected from the number system. A descriptive study will be conducted on the 30 surveys collected for the research on the Ning network.

Data Collection

This will include surveying the participants with a questionnaire, which is located in Appendix C,

Proposed Analysis of the Data

Results of the Data

Results will be examined to determine whether a Ning network will provide a positive approach to learning using an online educational network.

Potential Benefits

The educational Ning network has been a great tool for a lot of educators. The blog allows the students to not only use this technology at school, but for those who have Internet access at home; they can use the blog after school as well. The students are able to share their ideas with others and turn assignments in to the teacher. Another benefit of the network is allowing teachers to collaborate with others through support forums. When individuals share ideas, each stands to benefit, and these benefits spread to other people.


The limitations of educational networking pose the problem of social interaction, which would not allow the students to share their knowledge fact to face. Also, if data is not captured, the school misses out, as it cannot make certain that the shared knowledge is precise and suitable for the school, and students will not distinguish the worth of the knowledge they have.


Bianchini, G. (2007). The story behind the Ning name. [Weblog]. Web.

Bontis, N. (2002) The strategic management of intellectual capital and organizational knowledge. New York: Oxford university press.

Brewster, C. (2009). Ning: The latest in Social Apps. London: Oxford Publishers.

Distance learning. (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Web.

Foss, K. (2005) Knowledge Management and Intranet Solutions. New York: P.K. Foss.

Hargadon, S. (2010, Mar. 1). Educational Networking: The Role of Web 2.0 in Education. Web.

International Medical Center. (2010). Grand Opening: King Launches Private Health Sector. A Dream come True, Says CEO of Jeddah’s High-Tech Hospital. Web.

Kotelnikov, V. (2010). Tacit knowledge as a source of competitive advantage. Web.

Risham, B. (2010). The next Frontier in Education. Perth: Ocean View Publishers.

Robin, C. (2004). Knowledge Management. New York: CRC Press.

Simmers, C. (2008). The Internet and School Transformation. London: Sharpe.

Tavangarian, D., Leypold, M., Nölting, K., & Röser, M. (2004). Is e-learning the Solution for Individual Learning? Electronic Journal of E-Learning, 2. Web.

Wells, H. (2007). Theories of Social networks applications in our Education System. New York: Springer.

Zedram, A. (2008). The latest in Internet Technology for 2008. New York: CRC Publishers.

Appendix A

Human Subject Review Certificate

CITICollaborative Institutional Training Initiative
Human Research Curriculum Completion Report
Printed on 6/30/2010
Learner:Charla Teague (username: cmt1986)
Institution:Missouri State University
Contact Information Department: MAT
Email: [email protected]
IRB Reference Resource:
Stage 1. Basic Course Passed on 06/26/10(Ref # 4587483)
Required Modules Date Completed
Belmont Report and CITI Course Introduction 06/26/10 3/3 (100%)
History and Ethical Principles – SBR 06/26/10 4/4 (100%)
History and Ethical Principles 06/26/10 7/7 (100%)
Defining Research with Human Subjects – SBR 06/26/10 5/5 (100%)
The Regulations and The Social and Behavioral Sciences – SBR 06/26/10 5/5 (100%)
Basic Institutional Review Board (IRB) Regulations and Review Process 06/26/10 5/5 (100%)
Assessing Risk in Social and Behavioral Sciences – SBR 06/26/10 5/5 (100%)
Informed Consent – SBR 06/26/10 5/5 (100%)
Informed Consent 06/26/10 4/4 (100%)
Privacy and Confidentiality – SBR 06/26/10 3/3 (100%)
Social and Behavioral Research for Biomedical Researchers 06/26/10 4/4 (100%)
Records-Based Research 06/26/10 2/2 (100%)
Genetic Research in Human Populations 06/26/10 2/2 (100%)
Research With Protected Populations – Vulnerable Subjects: An Overview 06/26/10 4/4 (100%)
Research with Prisoners – SBR 06/26/10 4/4 (100%)
Vulnerable Subjects – Research with Prisoners 06/26/10 4/4 (100%)
Research with Children – SBR 06/26/10 4/4 (100%)
Vulnerable Subjects – Research Involving Minors 06/26/10 3/3 (100%)
Research in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools – SBR 06/26/10 4/4 (100%)
Vulnerable Subjects – Research Involving Pregnant Women and Fetuses in Utero 06/26/10 3/3 (100%)
International Research – SBR 06/26/10 3/3 (100%)
International Research 06/26/10 1/1 (100%)
Internet Research – SBR 06/26/10 4/4 (100%)
Group Harms: Research With Culturally or Medically Vulnerable Groups 06/26/10 3/3 (100%)
FDA-Regulated Research 06/26/10 5/5 (100%)
Human Subjects Research at the VA 06/26/10 3/3 (100%)
HIPAA and Human Subjects Research 06/26/10 2/2 (100%)
Workers as Research Subjects-A Vulnerable Population 06/26/10 4/4 (100%)
Hot Topics 06/26/10 no quiz
Conflicts of Interest in Research Involving Human Subjects 06/26/10 2/2 (100%)
The IRB Member Module – “What Every New IRB Member Needs to Know” 06/26/10 6/6 (100%)
Missouri State University 06/26/10 no quiz

Appendix B

Application for Review and Approval of Activity Involving

Human Subjects

  1. Brief description of the purpose of the proposed project, including specific goals.

The purpose of this research is to identify and highlight the benefits of information technology networks and its use in the field of pedagogy. Social network tools such as face book, Twitter and Ning enable interaction and dialogue among the student community and also between the teacher and his/her class. This interaction results in a positive impact on the teaching process and wider educational achievement by both participants. Past concerns and research have concluded on the need for better and more engaging pedagogy techniques and Ning is just one of them. This research paper discusses on the possibility of such techniques being adopted on a full time basis in our schools. The methods section identifies these techniques and discusses on the impact that they can bring in the school environment. Incorporating these social networks within the educational framework for the purposes of teaching is discussed.

  1. Research protocol

The participants are from a small high school in a rural area. The sample size will be around 30 students and will consist of both male and female students. The focus of the study will be based on an English class. The age range for the participants will be from ages 15 to 17 years old. The sampling procedure will consist of conducting a survey on social networking in the classroom and the effects it will have on motivation. The survey will take approximately ten minutes.

  1. Benefits:

The educational Ning network has been a great tool for a lot of educators. The blog allows the students to not only use this technology at school, but for those who have Internet access at home; they can use the blog after school as well. The students are able to share their ideas with others and turn assignments in to the teacher. Another benefit of the network is allowing teachers to collaborate with others through support forums. When individuals share ideas, each stands to benefit, and these benefits spread to other people.

  1. Risks: Describe the risks to the participant. This includes physical, psychological, and/or sociological risks.

There will not be any risk to the participants and the participants can withdraw at any time.

  1. Analysis of Risk/Benefit Ration When Relevant: This is the researcher’s own evaluation of the balance between potential risks for participants and potential benefits from the project.

As the researcher I don’t foresee any potential risks for the participants from taking part in the survey questionnaire. The potential benefit from the project would be having the school incorporate a blog site for the students to use in the classroom to interact with the teacher for the use of educational purposes.

  1. Procedures for Minimizing Risk: Describe precautions that will be taken to minimize the risks described above, including more detail about how data confidentiality will be maintained, and the final disposition of data.

The researcher will be the only one that will have access to the data and the survey questionnaires will be confidential.

  1. Procedures for obtaining informed consent:

Any consent forms will be sent to parent/guardian for signature.

Appendix C

Survey Questions on Web Blogs

  1. What do web blogs mean for you the student as a writer?
  2. What do web blogs mean for you the student as a reader?
  3. What are the quality of the literature responses and comments on the blog?
  4. Do you find that blogging in the classroom helps to keep you engaged in the lesson?
  5. Do you find that blogging in the classroom helps to keep you motivated in the lesson?

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