- considered articles on leadership and facilitation
- reviews of Downes' work
- Positive reinforcement of identity and ownership
- reflections on the different approaches to online learning communities, and enthusiasm for new ideas
- fun takes on learning to swim and scaffolding.
- and quite a few more...
What's important to note in some of these posts is the presence of comments from others in our group! This is a very good sign so early in the game. I think the strategy of some - to announce their recent blog posts on the email forum - has helped to draw attention and discussion to their blogs, and having a few experienced bloggers has also helped. Great work.
It is important that we find natural ways to sustain this distributed and networked dialog. It is a sophisticated and long term way of communicating and helping each other learn that we need to properly explore in order to appreciate networked learning communities.
- Remembering to visit each other's blogs just to see if anything new has been added is far too time consuming;
- continuing to use the email forum to announce our articles could be one way to sustain distributed dialog;
- checking the titles coming in on the right hand pane of the course blog could be another way to maintain currency;
- or setting up and using an RSS news reader is probably the best way.
Some people have asked about this thing called RSS already, others are already using it, one thing is for sure - RSS is the glue that sustains many professional and networked learning communities.
Here is a video that introduces the concept of RSS and the news reader.
RSS in plain English by Leelefever
Make sure you click pause and let the movie load a little.
If you don't have broadband, the Wikipedia article for RSS is quite informative.
Here is a video that demonstrates how to set up a Bloglines news reader
How to Organize and Track Favorite Blogs by Annetics
If you don't have broadband, you may find that printing out this bloglines demo and listening to the audio a bit more accessible.
There is lots more your can do with RSS, such as all the content that is coming in on the right hand pain of the course blog, that's all RSS. Its an important skill and understanding to have for facilitating more sophisticated online learning communities.
I'll continue to refer to RSS over coming weeks, so there's no big hurry. This post is more for those who feel comfortable with their blogs and are ready to take on another challenge. Hopefully we as an online learning community will figure out how to leverage the benefits of RSS and network our blogs together and develop a distributed online learning community, rather or as well as the central email forum and Bb discussion board ;)