Monday, November 10, 2008

Conference end (more to come)

Well, the Mini Conference is over and many thanks to those who ran an event, and a big extra thanks to those who attended events, Especially to Nellie - who I think must have been at every one! And to Minhaaj who I caught in one at 3am his time!

Thankfully recordings where made of many of the events and some have updated their event entry in the wiki with a link to their recordings and/or notes. If you have notes or a recording, please make a link to them in your event entry.

From my perspective we had a line up of very interesting topics in the conference. I think many of us learned a lot from the experience, especially the need for promotion right up to the last minute. In many of the events I attended, I think promotion was far too light, and so I found myself in a last minute flurry of instant messaging everyone I knew who might have had interest in attending. In my experience over the years, it is instant messaging at the last minute that gets people there. Twitter is great for it! It pays to be already well networked online, with your own online communities to call on mind you...

So, this week we simply kick back and reflect on what has just past. The week after we are looking for blog entries that critique our own or each others events. And with that the course will be finished! Elaine is already ahead of it all with her great reflection on her and Kay's event.

Some people have contacted me to say they could not organise an event in the week of the conference, but would like to organise one in the coming weeks. I think this is great to see. Remember the lesson learned though - promotion promotion promotion. If you are going to organise an event in the coming weeks, get it in the wiki as soon as possible, make it concise and easy to join, and promote it right up to the last minute. This will be harder for you because you won't be able to rely on a group of conference going people to call on.

So well done to the conference organisers, get your recordings and notes up, and have a long think about everything that has passed in this course. Get ready for your final post that sums it all up for you.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Conference update

I was entirely gutted to have to miss Grant Comber's interview in Second Life this morning. I thought the blockages for my access to Second Life had been fixed, but when I tried, they were not. Such is life when trying to work from within institutions :( I really hope Grant will let us know how it all went, and that someone grabbed a postcard of the meeting.

I did manage to catch Vida's session discussing an audio recording Vida had published, asking a Civic Facilitator about his work. I couldn't use voice, another limitation in my institution it seems, but the chat was alive. Nellie is all over these events and really helped Vida's session along. I think we have an interesting discussion in Chat conference with several of Nellie's contacts.

Bronwyn Stuckey, Jeffrey Keefer, Sue Wolff and Sylvia Currie's week long discussion about multimembership is going nicely, with a great Voicethread capturing a lot of audio discussion (see in embedded below). Below the VoiceThread are a range of text based discussion threads all discussing ideas and methods about managing workload and membership online.

Some of us may be experiencing low turn out to our events. This is to be expected and is something to learn about. It is a false idea to think that "if we build it they will come". Much of that thinking comes from the rhetoric and media hype about the Internet - the World Wide Web, the Global Super Highway.. and fears about everyone watching you online. The truth of the matter is that it takes a lot of work to facilitate and bring together a successful online event - let alone develop an online community. My hope is that low numbers will give us pause to think about this point.

What's coming up? (remember, these are UTC times)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Facilitating Online Communities Mini Conference 2 - 9 November 2008

Participants in the Facilitating Online Communties course have come together to coordinate an online mini conference. Below are the range of events scheduled so far. Keep an eye on the conference wiki for up to the minute details. See you there!

A mini conference for Facilitating Online

From Facilitating online communities

Date: 2 - 9 November 2008

All times are in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) unless stated otherwise. Use this time convertor to work out your times.

2-9Nov Community Leadership Development

Title: Community Leadership Development - review and feedback
Date: online discussion
Duration: throughout the conference period
Facilitators: Valerie Taylor with guests and friends
Venue: blog posts, discussion page threads


Community Leadership Development - online, open education and skills development for individuals and groups working with community-based organizations to provide leadership training, needs assessment and planning, coordination and management of projects to benefit the community.

As Community Leadership Development is a new course modeled on FOC08 and CCK08, participants in the FOC08 Mini Conferences are uniquely qualified to provide input, feedback and suggestions.

Throughout the Mini Conference, questions about the content and the process for the course will be posted for review and comment. Summaries and links to contributions will be posted each day.

Questions, offers of collaboration welcome.

2-9Nov Managing Multimembership in Social Networks

Title: SCoPE seminar discussion: Managing Multimembership in Social Networks: Oct 27-Nov 9, 2008

Facilitators: Bronwyn Stuckey, Jeffrey Keefer, Sue Wolff, Sylvia Currie

Description: How do you track and keep up with blog conversations? How do you manage your time as you engage in social networks? What are our limits as we integrate social learning into our work environments? When you do find yourself becoming disconnected from your networks and organized activities, how do you return to the fray? As facilitators how do you manage multimembership for your participants?

Many of us confess to fumbling along and we engage in multiple networks. Yet, many networks are essential for the projects, sectors and people that we work with, and for staying abreast of hot issues. Multi-membership and multi-platform overload is becoming a BIG challenge!

During this 2-week discussion we invite you to share tips for managing participation in social networks. This seminar is organized as part of the Facilitating Online Communities course mini-conference. There are many ways to participate! Take our survey, leave a Voice Thread, and join the asynchronous discussion.

Venue: SCoPE is an open, online community supported by BCcampus and hosted by Simon Fraser University. Membership is free and open to the public and our discussions are facilitated by volunteers. Access the seminar discussion directly.

Planning for the event: A record of our planning steps is on a subsequent wiki page: /multimembership

5Nov-7pm The Role of an Online Facilitator

Date: 7pm on Wednesday 5th November UTC (8am on Thursday 6th NovemberNZ DST) Check the time in your zone.

Duration: approximately 1 hour

Facilitator: Vida Thompson

Venue: Skype (contact skype user: vidathompson in advance to join this session)

Description I recorded an interview with a Community Facilitator here in Alexandra, Central Otago, New Zealand. For the mini conference I would like participants to listen to the inteview and then discuss their perception of the role of an online facilitator and how that compares to the role of a face to-face community facilitator. This discussion will be held on skype on Wednesday 5th November at 7pm UTC. (Contact skype user: vidathompson in advance to join this session).

All interested people are welcome to attend. It would be good if participants could listen to the interview before the event. Note: The interview does take a while to start as I edited the beginning out.

Please contact Vida Thompson in skype prior to the event so you can be included in the event when it starts (contact skype user: vidathompson or by e-mail There is a limit of 9 participants who can talk but no limit to the chat contributions.

5Nov 9pm Interview About Second Life in Second Life

Title: About Second Life

Date: Wednesday 05 Nov UTC at 9.00pm (Thursday 06 Nov 10.00 am New Zealand Time)

Duration: 30 Minutes

Facilitator: Grant Comber (aka Avatar: Clinty Inglewood)

Venue: Explorer Island in Second Life

How to get there? Click on this SLurl Link and then click on the Teleport Now button to zoom to Explorer Island. The Second Life Grid coordinates for the Venue are 195,208,22 (PG) Your Host Clinty Inglewood will meet you.

Reminder: Min computer specs - RAM: 500mb (preferably 1 Gig) Chip speed: 800 MHz Pentium III or better, Screen 1024x768 pixels Internet Connection: Cable/DSL Microphone/headset needed for Chatting

Description:An interview between newbie Grant Comber (Clinty Inglewood) and seasoned Second Life user Harold Atkinson (Hat Carter). General questions on the use of Second Life and sharing of unique experiences. Opportunity for all avatars in FOC to gain some insight into using Second Life especially those who are newbies like Grant!

So if you want to philosophize, go didactic on us or just talk some technical turkey issues please pop in for this casual interview.

My thanks to our guest Harold Atkinson who is a fellow teaching colleague of mine with much Second Life experience. See you there! Signing Off: Clinty Inglewood

6Nov-8am Stigmergic Collaboration: The Evolution of Group Work

Facilitated by: Daryl Cook with guest Dr. Mark Elliott.

Mark completed a PhD in 2007 that developed theoretical frameworks for collective activity and mass collaboration in conjunction with a number of real-world projects and now runs a consultancy that provides services surrounding online collaboration and social media / web2.0. In our meeting, Mark will assist us to explore:

  • Stigmergic collaboration as a means of explaining how co-ordination is achieved in ad hoc, massively scaled collaborative contexts (i.e. Wikis)
  • How we can, as facilitators, use Wikis to collaborate, share and learn
  • His experiences from the Future Melbourne project — the world's first, wiki-based, collaborative city plan.

The one hour session, will include a very brief presentation, but will mostly be informal and conversational. Definitely no Powerpoint.

Please join us!

DATE: Thursday 6th November 2008 at 7PM EST or check the time in your time zone.

VENUE: Join this online event at the Elluminate Meeting Room

Beforehand, please ensure that you computer is ready to use the web conferencing software (Elluminate).


ENQUIRIES: For any enquiries and/or for any assistance with Elluminate, do not hesitate to contact me.

6 Nov-10pm International Online Collaboration Group meets FOC08

Title International Online Collaboration Group

  • Date and Duration - UTC Thursday 6 November 10pm-11pm UTC (Friday 7 November 9am – 10am East Australia time)
  • Facilitators: Kerry Trabinger (CIT Australia) and Leigh
  • Description

This is a FANTASTIC opportunity for the group to meet with teachers who are currently completing a subject called Facilitating Learning Online in Australia. Come and discuss your experiences. Topics will include: - Introductions (where are you from and what area are you teaching in) - Virtual Classrooms - Do you like this platform? Will you use it with your students? Why or Why not? Any tips on using these platforms. - Time Management - How does your Institute allocate time for online delivery? Is it the same as for face to face? - Marketing - how can you get students or participants to join in an online dicussion or virtual classroom session? PLUS you have a chance to try a different virtual classroom platform.

  • Venue - VET VIRTUAL (a virtual classroom used in Australia VET Sector -

6Nov-1030pm TLC (Think, Learn & Create) Using Mind Maps

Title: TLC Using Mind Maps (TLC - Think, Learn & Create) - Online Discussion, followed by Presentation, - Friday 7 Nov 2008 11.30 am - 12noon NZ DST (10.30 pm - 11 pm Thursday 6 Nov UTC)

Facilitators: Kay Lewis and Elaine Dittert


  • Have you had difficulty keeping up with the 'overload of information' during this course?
  • Got confused or lost by trying to view all the discussion threads?
  • Have you jotted down some thoughts and ideas you've read and heard but by the time you're ready to go over your notes they make no sense?

If this sounds like you, this 30 minute session may be just what you need. It is designed to give you some pointers to help you gather and organise large amounts of data and provide a clear overview, analyse your thoughts, identify problem solving ideas and generate more ideas with clarity, efficiency and accuracy.

We plan to have one special guest speaker:

  • Jennifer Goddard, BBus (Admin), Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Master Trainer in Buzan Advanced Learning Techniques, inspirational Director of the Buzan Centre in Australia and New Zealand and co-founder of Mindwerx International. OR
  • Jennie Vickers, Buzan Licensed Instructor (senior advanced coach), Masters of Management, Diploma in Business Administration (University of Auckland), BA Law (Honours). Jennie is also an Alumni of the Leadership NZ Programme.

Venue: From your feedback in the discussion here [1], we will use 24/7 Meeting Room (Elluminate) or Skype to host the presentation.

7Nov-4PM EST Storytelling

Title: Storytelling

Date: November 7, 2008 at 4PM EST or check the time in your time zone.

Duration: 60 minutes ?




  • Do you think of stories when you look at a photo, a video, or listen to music? Does the topic interest you as a tool for instruction and learning or are you just curious? In any case, for whatever reason you may have, you are invited to join this storytelling mini conference.
  • We will have a live storytelling event on WiZiQ or Elluminate. Please refer to the main page of Connecting Online for further discussions on the topic.

Further Information

8Nov-Midnight Heart2Heart Online

Title: Heart2Heart Online

Date: Tentatively Saturday, November 8, 2008 00:00 UTC Time

Duration: 90 minutes

Venue: TBA (Skype, Elluminate Meeting Room or WiZiQ)

Group Size: Maximum of 8 people

Facilitator: Greg Barcelon assisted by partner Ivy (guest)

A place where we can simply be ourselves… sharing ourselves at a deeper level without the fear of condemnation, unsolicited advice, interruption or being judged.

Traditionally we got this deep level of connectedness with our true selves, and assist others in doing the same, from our families. But, with many people experiencing difficulties in their family life today, we need communities that can become "Schola Amoris," a School of Love, in which all learn to first of all accept themselves as they are, and then in a greater way accept others unconditionally – the greatest yearning we collectively have.

More about it here.

8Nov-7AM Connecting Online in Developing Countries

Title: 8 Nov-7AM GMT - Connecting Online in Developing Countries

Date: 7AM GMT, Saturday November 8, 2008. Check your time here.

Duration: 60 min?

Faciliatator: Joy Zhao & guest speakers

Venue: Wiziq

Description: We are connected online and forming various online communities. Do you know what problems people living in developing countries meet when they try to join in online communities and maintain the connection? What is the situation of online communities in developing countries? Our guest speakers are all very experienced and skilled in this topic. Come and share your thoughts and you will get more information than you expected.