Picture of two students looking at a computer screen. Picture of a professor with a computer teaching a small group of students. Picture of a student working at a laptop.

Ning

Introduction

Ning is a web based social networking creation site. Ning uses a customizable interest-based approach to social networking. Thus, professors may create a web page within the Ning URL that showcases topics that are related to their courses. Ning allows for the posting of pictures, audio, video, and links in combination with discussion boards.

Research findings from faculty and student interviews and surveys have shown that faculty-student and student-student engagement is one of the main challenges in online courses. A second challenge to the online learning environment identified by both faculty and students is course organization. Ning is a mechanism for providing both course content and faculty-student engagement in one place.

 

Please click below for an audio of the introduction to Ning.

 

Instructions on How to Use Ning

Please click here PDF download to download a pdf version of the instructional guide to Ning.

 

Please click below for guides on how to use Ning.

Guide: Sign Up for a Ning Network

Guide: Create Your Perfect Ning Network

Guide: Customize the Appearance of Your Ning Network

A variety of articles regarding "Getting Started on Ning" can be found at:
http://creators.ning.com/getstarted

Technical Requirements and Where to Access Ning

No specific hardware or software is required to use Ning. Ning will work with any operating system and Internet browser.

 

Go to www.ning.com to access Ning and create a site.

Go to http://blog.ning.com/2010/06/pearson-to-provide-ning-mini-for-free-to-ed... to learn about a free version of Ning for educators.

 

Picture of the Ning name and logo.

Reviews

Every e-Tool in the e-Toolbox was reviewed by either a UDI Online Project research and design team member, or one or several faculty at five partner institutions who incorporated a specific e-Tool into an online or blended course they taught. Faculty from these partner institutions also requested that students review the e-Tool included in a course or products created through the use of the e-Tool (e.g., documents, videos, audio clips, or other items). Likert scale surveys with open-ended questions were used by respondents.  Feedback from the reviewing UDI Online team member or faculty who used a tool is presented in addition to student ratings when available.

 

e-Tool Review Results

Faculty e-Tool Review Results
Number of faculty reviewers: 1

The one reviewer of this e-tool felt this tool was easy to find on the web. She strongly agreed with the statement that the e-tool was easy to incorporate into her course. The professor used the e-tool to reduce the physical demands placed on learners allowing maximum attention to learning, facilitate communication with and between students, explain course requirements, and allow students to demonstrate understanding or mastery of content. She strongly agreed that this e-tool exemplified the Principles of Universal Design for Instruction within her course. The reviewer commented that the benefit of this e-tool was that “Students were capable of communicating easily between all four TAs/instructor/ALL students in class. Ease of posting materials for later student access for review purposes. Discussion forums allowed students to interact outside of class to ask questions or further investigate course topics (this worked both with instructor/student and student/student relationships). Ease of distributing messages and announcements to large class sizes. Students had 24-hour access to course materials. Provided central location for relevant videos, links, photos and other course materials that are accessible throughout the semester.” The instructor also commented that a drawback of using this e-tool was that “It does take some effort to keep it updated, but it's not too bad. Requires use of several outside programs to maintain a good site (Scribd for document links, Slideshare for ppt viewer, etc.). Also, some knowledge of html editing is helpful although there is a useful WYSIWYG editor designed for Ning that helps with this.” The reviewer would use the e-tool in another course to reduce the physical demands placed on learners allowing maximum attention to learning, facilitate communication with and between students, explain course requirements, and allow students to demonstrate understanding or mastery of content.

 

Student e-Tool Review Results

Number of students who took the survey: 31

Number of students with learning disabilities who took the survey: 0

1. The tool was easy to use.

Picture review result -29% of student reviewers strongly agreed that this e-tool was easy to use. 54% of student reviewers agreed that this e-tool was easy to use.  7% of student reviewers felt unsure this e-tool was easy to use. 7% of student reviewers disagreed that this e-tool was easy to use. 4% of student reviewers strongly disagreed that this e-tool was easy to use.

2. The tool assisted me with the following: (Select all that apply)

Picture review result of -100% of student reviewers used this e-tool to understand course requirements.  73% of student reviewers used this e-tool to reduce physical demands and to allow maximum attention to learning.  68% of student reviewers used this e-tool to facilitate communication with other students in the class. 73% of student reviewers used this e-tool to facilitate communication with their instructor.  68% of student reviewers used this e-tool to demonstrate their understanding of the course content.

3. Please comment on the benefits of using the tool in the course.

  • It's helpful to have all the different resources on there and the assignments instead of on a piece of paper that could easily get lost.
  • This tool allowed for better access to assignments and an easier time with handing in homework.
  • Online submission is convenient.
  • Communication with others in the class was easier and assignments were more readily available.
  • Is relevant to most students' regular usage of technology.
  • Nothing really, there is already a perfectly fine system in place.
  • It was always there so no need to wait for a teacher to respond to an email and I always knew what was required of me.
  • It was helpful.
  • Easy to use.
  • No benefits.
  • Easy to navigate and communicate with your peers.
  • Made it easy to communicate with the other students/TAs/professors.

4.Please comment on any drawbacks of using the tool.

  • The ability to converse with the other students was limited to a degree when using the chat on the website.
  • It takes away from the effectiveness of student-teacher communication.
  • It undermines anything the university has put forth to achieve the exact same results.
  • It erased certain info after a particular amount of time.
  • Some of the documents weren't able to be downloaded.
  • Not as convenient as using other platforms.
  • Sometimes was hard to find where material was.