Designing the undesignable: Social software and control

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    88 Citations (Scopus)


    Social software, such as blogs, wikis, tagging systems and collaborative filters, treats the group as a first-class object within the system. Drawing from theories of transactional distance and control, this paper proposes a model of e-learning that extends traditional concepts of learner-teacher-content interactions to include these emergent properties of the group. It suggests that this feature of social software can facilitate an approach to e-learning that is qualitatively different from and capable of significantly augmenting traditional methods, with especial benefits for lifelong learners and those outside institutional boundaries. The paper goes on to explore some of the dangers and issues that need to be addressed in order for this new model to fulfill its promise, and to suggest a framework of principles to be used by designers of educationally-oriented social software.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)60-71
    Number of pages12
    JournalEducational Technology and Society
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jul. 2007


    • Control
    • Self-organization
    • Social software
    • Transactional distance
    • Web 2.0


    Dive into the research topics of 'Designing the undesignable: Social software and control'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this