We have been looking this week at the value of institution specific virtual learning environments (VLEs) versus other general internet platforms which may be more familiar to learners.
I love Facebook. I was an early adopter and I still log on several times a day. I use it for socializing, debating, organizing, asking questions. I find the layout and features very intuitive and each new version adds more usability and value (although I bitch about it like everyone else for a few weeks after it starts to look different!)
I would like if more of our H800 / OU experience was more like Facebook. I'd prefer if the forums were presented in that way - so I could respond to individual comments rather than adding to a thread. I'd like to be able to 'like' a comment without having to comment on it. I'd like to be easily able to add links and pictures (it's not hard in the forums, it's just easier in Facebook) and I'd like to be permanently logged in on my phone as well as my laptop.
At present Facebook may not offer the specific features necessary for the whole course. Private areas can be organized but maybe not secure enough to ensure appropriate privacy. Handing in assignments may be tricky without first publicly posting them online. It would also require everyone had a Facebook account which I know may not be what everyone wants.
I would love it if Facebook could develop an associated service called 'Facebook Scholar' or similar with the appropriate functionality.