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Understanding the Buddy network

Networking in uSpace, the social learning network within Ultranet, is focused on the concept of having “Buddies” – similar to making friends in other social networking sites. The purpose of the buddy network is to encourage good use of social networking and peer feedback/forward on the content held within uSpace. Having easy access to other student’s work opens up great opportunities for students to engage with others they wouldn’t normally work with in the physical classroom.

Getting Started

uSpace does not come automatically enabled for new users to your site.  For information on how to enable uSpace, view this article.  Buddies as a feature also needs to be switched on - this is a default setting, but Buddies can be switched off globally if desired (see below).

Finding and managing buddies

Students can search for other users and request they become their buddy, by clicking on the Find Buddies link at the top of each uSpace page.

buddies.png

Type a portion of the name in the search box, and click Search Users.  Hover over the desired Buddy and click on the green "Add" symbol.  This student then needs to accept the request in order for the Buddy relationship to be in place. Anyone within your Ultranet user base can be buddies, and thence some interesting collaborative work can begin across different age groups in the school.  Schools have a choice on how they envisage the buddy network working within each classroom, whether

  • Students should ensure they are buddies with every other class member, or

  • Students are free to make buddies as they see fit.

If students start to have a large number of buddies, they can be organised into groups, for example, “my class”, “others in my year group”, “my buddy class”.  This can be done within the Buddies menu item in uSpace, on the left hand side of the page.  In this window, click on the Edit icon and select Manage Groups

Buddy Groups

Buddies can be deleted from the Buddies page by hovering over the selected buddy and clicking on the Trash icon.

Note: Teachers don’t need to be buddies with the students, as they can view their students’ uSpace profiles from the ClassSpace class list. Perhaps the only reason for a teacher to be buddies with the students is if they were modelling particular use of the system in their profile and they wanted students to be able to access it readily.

Can I turn the buddy network off if necessary?

Yes, uSpace buddies can be disabled globally through Administration > Module Management > Enable/Disable Modules.

Note: Disabling the buddy network is global, and will mean the Buddies menu item in uSpace will be removed for all users.
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