Profile picture uptake in CourseSites, Edmodo, Engrade

At the end of the term I plan to run student reaction surveys for Engrade, Edmodo, and CourseSites. That said, I know my reaction to the three packages, my likes and dislikes. I cannot help but wonder how the students feel about the packages. There is little to go on, but one facet has caught me eye. All three permit students to have a profile picture, but the rate of profile picture adoption varies between the packages. I have the highest rate of profile pictures in Edmodo, followed by Engrade, and then CourseSites.

Edmodo, like FaceBook, features a prominent profile picture with every interaction, every post, and in the grade book. Engrade only displays a small profile picture in discussions and messages. The profile picture does not appear in the grade book in Engrade. CourseSites, at least the manner in which I am using CourseSites, does not often display the profile picture. Just to find whether my students had uploaded pictures took me some stumbling around a section of CourseSites I do not usually use.

I cannot say what this means, but I perceive that by being able to post and display a profile picture of their choice, students feel a sense of ownership and personal presence.

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