Social Media and Learning Environments: Shifting Perspectives on the Locus of Control


  • Ellen S. Hoffman University of Hawaii at Manoa



In the past, centralised technology departments had major influence over the choices of learning applications in higher education. With the emergence of freely available Web 2.0 and open-access tools, instructors and designers have been given greater ability to customize e-learning. This paper examines the historical roots of the impacts of authority from centralised technology units to an emerging user-centric control over learning environment design in higher education. A case study is used to illustrate the potentials and pitfalls in this more decentralised configuration for both learning and organization.

Keywords: learning applications; higher education; Web 2.0; e-learning; open-access tools

Author Biography

Ellen S. Hoffman, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Ellen S. Hoffman is a Professor of Educational Technology in the College of Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu, HI. Her research interests include technology policy, digital libraries, distance learning, and qualitative research methods. She has an extensive background in education, having taught at all levels from pre-school to college, and worked as an administrator in campus computing for 15 years. She served as a consultant to the State of Michigan Department of Education on technology policy, and has worked with community colleges and school districts on technology planning. She holds an EdD in educational leadership with a focus on educational technology from Eastern Michigan University, and has Master’s degrees in journalism and anthropology from the University of Michigan.