Wednesday, August 20, 2008

To facilitate, teach or moderate

So begins another 2 weeks considering the semantics of words related to the topics in this course.
"Those who can not say what they mean, can not mean what they say"
Peter O'Toole playing Reginald Johnston in The Last Emperor
In the last 2 weeks we have been considering what it is that makes up a community - particularly an online community. Many of us have focused on Wenger's Community of Practice, but some challenged the notion of CoPs, pressing for an understanding of community regardless of a practice or not. Some have given excellent and thought provoking examples of their experiences with online communities; others have bravely tackled the groups and networks debate set up by Stephen Downes. Of course, it is not a question to be resolved, only one to be explored. By exploring this question together we have all brought perspectives and reference points for each other to consider, and so each of us will develop a preferred understanding to work from. There has been some wonderful blog posts relating to this consideration, and its great to see so much commenting and cross referencing happening.

Don't forget to browse and update your subscriptions with some of the 11 late comer's blogs.

To kick off the next two weeks where we will consider the differences and similarities of the practice of facilitating, moderating and teaching, 12 of us met online (link to recordings). 30 minutes of the meeting was spent on a wonderfully colourful round of introductions, with voices and blog links coming in from many corners of the world, including ElderBob from Texas joining us while he cooked up a stew of crookneck squash! :) We had a great discussion about the meaning of community with some very insightful comments made. I offered some advice for the coming weeks, and encouragement to stick with the course through these semantic periods - the fun stuff will be starting soon enough. I suggested that we each start keeping an eye out for interesting topics and ideas for our facilitation projects for the course mini conference in November.

Apologies to those who made it to the meeting session 13 hours earlier. We did have two time frames listed, and we will continue with that idea so as to give people in the various time zones an opportunity to join in. I was absent due to a delayed flight. I hear a meeting was held and that it went well. Unfortunately there is as yet no recording or account of it.

I hope we all find some interesting links and perspectives over the next 2 weeks. Personally, I find this topic one of the more interesting in the course :)

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