Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Are you ready?

Next week is it! Starting November 2 we host an online conference about facilitating online communities. You need to finalise your plans this week, post them to the conference wiki and set to work promoting participation at your event.

If you need help, contact me.

The 24/7 Meeting room is always available should you need a space to meet and coordinate.

If you need to review the assignment outline, here's where to go.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Social Networking Platforms

This week (the one that's now over) we were supposed to be investigating social networking platforms. Out of interest, I searched one of the platform Ning for existing social networks about facilitation. There are quite a few!

I hope participants in this course will get in there and investigate these existing online communities on Ning, and perhaps even consider organising an event for our course mini conference where we can all take a look at what you've found, hear from some of the members, and discuss what makes social networking platforms like Ning so attractive to people.

Others might want to check out other platforms like Facebook, Myspace, Bebo and others.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Our Second Life Meetings

It was really interesting to be a part of our meetings in Second Life. We had 2, and one was entirely different from the other. In our first meeting, only 2 from the FOC08 course made it, myself and Amy. But it didn't take our host Jo long to fill the space with her contacts and before long we were having a rich discussion about community in SL and techniques for facilitation on SL. The chat log was recorded and is available here. I did the best I could in minuting the voice discussion.

Later, I asked Jo what location was the hot pic in SL at the moment. Jo took us to the amazingly romantic Tempura Island which could well represent an emerging culture in Second Life coming from Japanese developers. Jo explained that the space was developed by a couple of Japanese guys and it had attracted a lot of attention in SL recently. We could see why - it was a truly mesmerizing and immerse work of art, and it was wonderful to experience it with real people joking, laughing and talking through their avatars.

The second meeting saw a much larger group from FOC08.. I think there were 9 of us. I could only stay for 30 minutes so can't really say how it went entirely. Jo was a great help once again, as we had a lot of "newbies" - people new to using SL and needing a bit of help with the controls. Once everyone was reasonably up to speed with using their avatar, we all went to the Online Therapy Institute, where therapists are using SL to counsel people and to display information about mental health and other aspects of therapy.

In all, I felt it was the first meeting that more truly explored ideas of community in SL and techniques for facilitating, while the second seemed more focused on developing skills in the use of SL and legitimising the platform with an obvious example. I hope we will see posts on participant blogs that will go past the use and legitimisation issues, and look more deeply at the very real existence of communities in Second Life, and the strategies for facilitating such communities. You really can't get anyone more experienced in this than Jo Kay (Jokay Wollongong) who facilitates the Jokaydia sim.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wk 10: Looking for online community: Virtual Worlds - 13 - 19 October

Meeting with Grad Students in Second Life - a photo by Pathfinder Linden Pathfinder Linden spoke at a weekly meeting held by grad students who are using Second Life as part of their academic research. My discussion focused on the importance of research ethics in virtual worlds. Fantastic group of folks, and they have an excellent wiki with more information about their work:
A virtual world is a computer-based simulated environment intended for its users to inhabit and interact via avatars. These avatars are usually depicted as textual, two-dimensional, or three-dimensional graphical representations, although other forms are possible[1] (auditory[2] and touch sensations for example). Some, but not all, virtual worlds allow for multiple users. Wikipedia July 2008.
This week we will be focusing on the use of Second Life as a platform for interaction through an online simulated environment. It is recommended that you access are modern computer and you will need to install the Second Life client to do this week's activities. If you live close to an Internet cafe, they will be able to set you up for an optimal experience

To do

1. Download and install the Second Life client and post to your blog your Second Life user name.

2. Add your Second Life user name to the list of user names for people doing this course.

3. Once you have installed Second Life on your computer click this link taht will start Second Life and log you in directly to Jokaydia. We'll use the 24/7 Meeting room as a backup meeting space. In this meeting you will be shown how to use Second Life and then be taken on a tour of interesting venues and projects in Second Life.

Meeting times

3. Read through the Wikipedia entry for Second Life and conduct your own research into the platform to develop a perspective on what sort of communities exist there. Write a post to your blog with ideas on how you might operate as a facilitator for a community communicating on Second Life.

4. Continue preparations for your facilitated event at the course mini conference

Extra resources

Friday, October 3, 2008

Meeting recording available - preparation for course mini conference

We had a good couple of small meetings earlier this week to discuss preparations for the course mini conference. 7 people made it to the first meeting, and 3 to the second meeting, with about 5 sending in apologies. Here are the recordings of the first meeting.

It is great to see progress already in the preparations for the
course mini conference development wiki

The conference will take place starting the 2nd of November UTC. The week leading up to that date is last minute preparations.

So, for people participating in the course and aiming to do this assignment in the course, you should be arriving on an idea and implementation plan now (ish) and writing it up on your blog. Seek feedback, read other ideas and develop it more before adding it to the conference wiki page. It doesn't have to be a fully formed idea to be added to the wiki, the blog step is so you have a record in your own space, before putting it on the wiki for collaborative development.

Some people have started a new subpage to the conference wiki for their event. This is great and it would be good to see generally over time. But for now, just focus on getting something on the wiki so we can start securing times and dates, and thinking about collaborations.