Monday, October 29, 2007


All the detail about the assessments has now been put on the wiki page for Facilitating Online and Online Communities.

Wiki assessment - barn building
Several people have made a great start to their wiki page. I thought you might need a bit of help with it in preparation for the face-to-face session on wednesday 31 october 1 - 3 pm. If you can only come for part of the session that is fine. Venue to be announced. Auckland people - I am organising something with oriel and Lisa.

Here are some questions which might help you formulate your ideas for your wiki page.

If you go to the wiki page ( you will see under projects what people have already started doing. If you need help with editing a wiki & wiki protocol please look at the tutorials and cheat sheet (in help pages) to help with this. use the following questions to help with what can go on your page.
  • Who are you trying to help inform about being part of an online community? Is it students or other staff?
  • what sort of information do they need?
  • What information is specific to your discipline?
  • How will you convey this information? For example, will it be part of some activities, will it be a list of guidelines or instructions, will it be audio visual?
  • Do you need to create the information or link to material which is already available?
As part of wiki philosophy and communication within the class (online community), you also need to look at other people's pages and give feedback and suggestions. Remember to use the signature tool when doing this and to also use the discussion tab with signature and also to set your wiki page watch tab so it is on.

Facilitation Plans
The facilitation plans are past due so we will now make the date for submission 7 Nov so people have time to create them, discuss them and also see if you would like to use Second life as a venue for your facilitation event. You do need to hand in the facilitation plan before your event so the faciltiators can give you feedback on the design.

Timing of facilitation event
You will need to time your facilitation event for the weeks 12 & 19 Nov so you have time to prepare assessment 4 - reflection on the event on your blog. The following are excerpts from the learning guide on Blackboard.

Facilitation Plan

15 Oct

Planning to facilitate

How do I plan opportunities to participate?

What is an engaging activity?

Theory of online facilitation e.g. five stages (Salmon).

Discussions focussed around guest speakers and resources provided by this learning community. On Elluminate, group email and blogs.

Submit Assessment 3 Facilitation Plan


5 Nov


Facilitate and take part in groups

Make notes as you reflect on this.

Assessment 4 Part 1 Facilitation

12 Nov

19 Nov


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Our first venture into Second Life together, and a reminder about Facebook

Sarah Stewart initiated an impromptu meeting in Second Life this arvo - just for those who wanted to get their head around it a bit before we look at it more seriously the week after next.

Carolyn (pictured), Bronwyn, Sarah, Yvonne and I met up and just happened to bump into Aaron Griffiths from Nelson Marlborough Institute. Aaron's SL name is Isa Goodman (as in is-a- good-man :) and he briefly told us a bit about the NMIT project and SL generally, as well as helping the newbies get used to moving around and the like. Isa's a legend at helping people get used to SL, as well as a programmer and builder of environments in SL. He built NMIT and other places.

Pretty soon conversation moved to the "what can we do educationally in SL?", so with the little time we had left, and for those that weren't having technical issues (sorry Carolyn), we visited Virtual Hallucinations - a project from UCDavis designed to simulate everyday life for a schizophrenic. I was mighty impressed by it the first time I went through, but as Sarah pointed out - she was having a hard enough time just moving about in there before being able to appreciate the simulation, so as with all these things we need to have a good grasp of the tech before we can leverage the learning through them.

Isa started talking to us about the extensive community base in SL - much of it educational. (Well, all of it educational I 'spose - depending on your definition..). Isa pointed us to the Kiwi Educators group - who meet up in SL every Sunday to tour new venues or "sims" (simulations) as they're called. This Sunday they are meeting up to tour the new IBM sim.

You can subscribe to Aaron's blog to get updates on New Zealand projects in Second Life and the activities of the Kiwi Educator's group. I'd highly recommend connecting with Aaron and his work if you are at all interested in the potential and early adoption of simulations, virtual meeting spaces, machinima, 3D virtual worlds or any of the seemingly infinite applications for this platform.

More photos of our first meeting can be viewed here. Remember that we will be looking at Second Life as a platform for online learning communities starting week after next.

This coming Monday at 7pm NZST
(that's Monday 6am UTC for our international followers), we will be hearing from Ellen Stewart, a young New Zealander who uses the social networking platform Facebook to stay in touch with international friends. Ellen will help us consider the question of whether Facebook has a sense of community within it, if it is or could be used for learning, and some suggestions on how we might consider facilitating learning through platforms like Facebook.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

wikieducator development meeting / Barn raising

Our online meeting about our work on Wikieducator did not amount to a Barn Raising mainly because it was our first meeting between people who did not previously know each other and because the topic proposed for a concentrated collaborative effort is pretty broad and needing of explanation. An in depth discussion was had however, touching on a number of thought provoking topics. Links and notes for this meeting can be found at the Wikieducator Development Meetings page.

Here's the recording of the meeting in MP3 - 70 min, 12 meg.
Here's the recording of the Elluminate session.

Thanks to Sue Waters for providing us with an Elluminate meeting space at the last minute. The Otago Polytechnic's Elluminate meeting space is back online now so it will hopefully be smooth sailing from here on in.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

10 Minute Lecture - Derek Chirnside - Community in courses

Derek Chirnside gave a bang on 10 minute talk on his concept for developing a sense of community in courses. It stimulated quite a bit of discussion around the open and closed course debate.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

ready setty?

A wedding photo ;)

So we are starting to come on back from holidays. A new series of 10 minute lectures is getting lined up, so get your typing fingers ready so we can look forward to some fresh and insightful blogging from everyone about what we are about to discover.

  1. Derek Chirnside is going to talk with us about community in formal education courses on 15 October.
  2. The week after we will spend a little more time looking at wikis in that we have a barn building event lined up for 22 October where we will use Elluminate to coordinate with those taking part.
  3. Then we will start focusing on social networking sites like Facebook, and the new educational versions like Ecto. I think Sarah is lining up a few people on the 29th to give us a 10 minute lecture on Facebook, Bebo and Myspace.
  4. After looking at social networking sites it might be about right to focus in on Virtual Worlds and reschedule Sean FitzGerald from Australia (remember when Elluminate broke down?). My brother in law is also willing to give a talk about World of Warcraft too.

So if you feel like you need a short background reading on Virtual Worlds, George Siemens recently pointed to this little summary by Mark Glaser at Media Shift. Adding to that is my own attempt to explain the virtual worlds at a Wellington web developers conference earlier this year.

We've already had a little look at Ecto by watching the promo video. Hopefully that video has helped people recognise the functionality and potential of these services for online community building. If not, try watching a few more Youtube videos about Ecto submitted by other users. Has anyone come across other good resources about social networking sites? There's the tried and true Social Networking in Plain English of course.

As for wikis and barn raising events, hopefully the Barn Raising event scheduled next Monday will attract experienced barn raisers and we can see and learn from them.

And if you have a few minutes before Monday 15 October, have a read through Derek's blog in readiness for his talk.

So, there's 4 topics to look at over the next 4 weeks. Try to make notes to your blog that summarise your understanding from the readings and resources and add links to other related resources that you find in your own research. Try and make it to the Elluminate sessions so we can have an energised discussion about the things we are looking at. And remember - 5 hours per week is your expected time allotment to this course, use it wisely. Use your blog to document what you do with that time and if you find yourself running out of time, make a note to your blog on the reasons.

Ok, that's it from me. Is nice to be back and feeling energised to explore some fascinating new areas of online learning communities with you all.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Did you catch any whitebait?

Don't holidays go all too fast. I chose this pic (Whitebaiting off the Devonport wharf by wonderferret) because it struck me recently that what happens in the whitebaiting season is an excellent example of a community of practice. People gather and work alongside each other, they have a common purpose and goal - to catch whitebait, they share, they help each other yet get a bit tetchy about boundaries and territory, they collaborate, they talk and laugh, they cry - when the fish don't run. They celebrate.
What do you think?

How many of you managed to tick off some of the things on the list I left you with? The list is still on the course blog if you need to refresh.

Activities for this week and next
Today Monday 8 October, David McQuillan is going to facilitate an Elluminate session at 730 pm to brainstorm some strategies for dealing with technology when it breaks down. David will send out an email today with an overview of what he is planning for the session.

This week you need to start thinking about your plans for facilitating an online event. I will put some guidelines up on the course wiki in the next day or two.

Next week 10 minute lecture
On 15 October at 730 pm we will have another 10 minute lecture on Elluminate: - Derek Chirnside speaking about Adding a community flavour to our courses.

Remember the 22 October is labour day and we can all go off fishing again.