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    Introduction

    Social software offers a variety of tools to engage students and promote higher order learning.  What is social software, and how does it differ from earlier internet tools? What are the tools of social software, and how can they be used productively for teaching and learning?  This website (ATLSS) explores these questions, and provides practical examples from six years of experimentation in a number of courses,  including a first year seminar, principles of macro & micro, intermediate macro, introduction to research methodology, and a variety of senior-level seminars.

    This website is designed to be an introduction and a resource for instructors who wish to explore the use of social software tools to enhance learning in their economics courses. The website is split into multiple modules and can be traversed in several ways.  (As a result, you can expect to encounter some duplication of material.)  It was originally constructed for use as a presentation tool at the Developments in Economics Education conference at Cambridge University, September 2007. You can view the presentation by starting at the tab labeled ‘Presentation’ and then following the links on that page. The presentation offers an outline of talking points, some examples, and further links to more detailed discussion of each topic. The presentation pathway is designed to be a quick way to surveying the range of content offered by the website.  You can always go directly to any module by clicking on the appropriate tab on the right sidebar.

    The website is designed so that, with a minimum of effort, readers can find out what a tool is, how it works, and how it might be used in teaching.  Each tool has its own page, easily accessible via tabs on the right sidebar.  Details about the tool can be found by following the links on the page.  Links to how each tool has been used in specific economics courses are also provided.

    The material behind the website started life as a paper, which has been divided into pieces which are accessible by clicking on the links labeled “Commentary on …” at the bottom of the tool pages.  These links provide a more detailed explanation of social software and its tools than is provided on the upper level pages.

    The tab labeled ‘Courses’ lists the courses in which I’ve used social software.  The links to each course briefly discuss how the tools were used. Of course, your mileage may vary.

    You should note that this website is dynamic rather than static.  Unlike published articles, this resource will change over time as I explore more tools and learn more about existing ones.   You can think of this digital resource as like a book which is under continuous revision.   The bottom right sidebar on many pages contains an RSS feed of delicious tags on the page’s topic.  What you see will change over time as the feed changes.  (For more information on this, see the pages on Social Bookmarking and RSS feeds.)