Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Our first meeting

A group of 16 of us met in the Elluminate (24/7 meeting room) today. Here's a recording. (I will make an MP3 of that recording soon. As expected, others had some technical issues and weren't able to make it, others found their way into another meeting room entirely! And the meeting room that we did have dropped its connection for a moment there, which really freaked me out. All that aside though, it was a good meeting and we covered everything that needs to considered for this orientation week.. namely:

  1. Everyone focus on setting up their blog
  2. Updating their introduction on the course wiki with a link to their blog
  3. Setting up an RSS News Reader

These 3 steps are very important if we are to benefit from each other through this course. The wiki entry for this week has help resources on how to do those things if you are new to all this, and the email forum will be a great place to ask questions and get help. Please use them!

Regarding that meeting room. I thought I'd be tricky and set the meeting to begin from the 25 July and run until 24 December. I did this so we would all have constant access to the meeting space if ever any of us needed such a space at a time other than our allocated times. The link to that space will always be the same and is listed at the top of the wiki, and in the links on the course blog. Look for the link that says 24/7 meeting room. I plan to make MP3 recordings of our meetings for people to be able to listen in on commutes etc.

If this meeting room proves to be unreliable, we will move to one of many options. Lets see.


  1. Set up your blogs
  2. Update your intro
  3. Set up an RSS news reader

Monday, July 28, 2008

Making a start!

Well, Welcome all! We have quite a number with us for this course.. 63 people at the time I write this.. most of them coming in at the very last minute and from all areas of the world! I'm bound to have missed people, so please double check my lists.

This afternoon I have been going through the expressions of interest for participating in this course - that being all the introductions made by people to the course wiki - and adding emails to the Google Group email forum.

I wanted to keep email loads initially low for everyone and so I asked introductions to be made on the wiki. If some how you see that your name IS on the Google Group, but NOT on the Wiki introductions, please amend as you see fit. In the end, and at the very least, you want to have yourself on the Google Group email forum, as this is the end point for further instructions, and obviously a space for general discussion. Remember, if you want to keep email to a minimum, you can adjust your membership to any number of options such as daily digest or no email at all. Visit the Google Group archive for further details.

Our first web conference.

The following instructions are repeated in the full course outline on the wiki. (Repeated for importance :)

At 10pm on the 28th of July Universal Time Code (UTC) - That's 10am on the 29th for us in New Zealand (other time zones here and appologies to those who are outside a reasonable hour for the meeting) we will attempt to connect voice to voice for the first time. You can do this by clicking the link to the 24/7 Meeting space about 30 minutes before the time. This will leave you enough time to load the required software (Elluminate) and test the connection (no password required).

This being our first try at connecting via web conference, we should expect that some of us may not be able to connect for various reasons such as workplace security settings, computer set up, hardware or just the mystery of computing and networks. For this reason, the webconference will be recorded so that those that cannot be there can at least access the recording. The 24/7 Meeting room is always open to anyone who wants to use it for there own meetings about this course - perhaps at better times for you... just click the link at the agreed time :)

Other instructions for week 1
(copied from the wiki)
A week spent orientating yourself into the course, the commitment required, the assignments and what else is involved. For those new to this way of learning online, this week will seem daunting. Get through it and the rest of the course will flow for you nicely.

To do

  1. Set up a blog for your weekly work in this course. If you already have a blog, you are welcome to use that so long as you can clearly indicate what posts are for this course. If you are new to blogging, refer to this resource for getting started. If you are based in the Otago region, Otago Polytechnic offers learning support in setting up a blog through its Learning Centre (for enrolled students) and Community Learning Centres (for the wider community).
  2. Attend the web conference meeting room (No password required) at UTC 10pm 28 July (10am 29 July NZST, see World Clock) to discuss the orientation to the course. Please try to introduce yourself to the course discussion page before this meeting begins. This meeting will be recorded and made available directly after if you cannot attend. You can test your computer and network settings prior to the meeting by using the meeting room link any time. Trouble shooting and help at the Elluminate support page.
  3. Post to your blog what you hope to get out of this course. Include any concerns or questions you may have.
  4. Introduce yourself to the course in the discussion page. When you have your blog set up, add your blog's web address to your introduction.
  5. Set up an RSS News Reader and subscribe to the blogs of others in this course. Again, refer to this resource for getting started with an RSS News Reader to subscribe to blogs. More information on RSS available via CommonCraft

Extra resources


So many thanks for all your interest in this course, I hope it lives up to your expectations and I hope you will give back by making the most of your time with us and these topics. Collectively I am confident we will be a valuable resource for each other. There is a wealth of experiences among us.

You should allow around 5-6 hours per week for the course, if you are going over that time stop and ask yourself why. If its because you are really enjoying the topic or activities, then great. But if its through technical difficulties and just general management of the course requirements, please get in touch with me and we'll see what can be done to help. It shouldn't be a heavy workload. Good luck and enjoy yourself!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Next course starts 28 July 08. Open participation, all welcome!

Chat Room - A photo by iBoy Daniel

That course we ran last year is coming up again. I've tweaked it quite a bit - free at last from the learning management system it was locked up inside, running in a wiki schedule, backed up by blogs and an email forum.

This course has been developed by staff in the Educational Development Centre of Otago Polytechnic and is designed to help both formal and informal learners access and interpret models, research and professional dialog in the facilitation of online communities. After completing this course people should be confident in facilitating online and/or be able to critique and offer advice to other people in the facilitation of online communities.

The next facilitated course starts 28 July 2008.

Participation in this course is open. You will need to have regular access the Internet and be comfortable with independently completing tasks. To join simply introduce yourself to the discussion page and include an email address that can be use to add you to an email forum for the course.

In formal learning terms this is a level 7 course registered on the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. Formal learning participants engage in this course for a period of 10 weeks with an indicative time commitment of at least 6 hours per week. Formal learners will receive concentrated learning support throughout this period, and assessment services and formal recognition at the completion of the course. Some people may prefer to engage in this course informally and to set their own pace through the work using the schedule as a guide. Informal engagement is welcome and arrangements can be made for formal assessment and recognition at any time with the course facilitator.