Well...I don't know about you, but I have found this first week to be totally crazy...lots of blogs and comments to read and follow. Even I have found it a tad over-whelming, and I am supposed to know what I'm doing...But I am very excited to meet so many enthusiastic people from all over the world. I think we're going to have a brilliant time... so... buckle up and enjoy the ride.
I would say that the main theme coming out of blogs and the two live meetings is that people are feeling over-whelmed, especially those who are new to this form of course and technology. It is very normal at this stage to feel like this. It will take a few weeks for you to sort things out and as painful as it feels at times, this 'sorting out' is all part of the learning process.
I would like to echo the advice given by Derek Wenmoth who said to focus on one thing at a time, and not worry about the other tools that people talk about. I also liked what Chris Woodhouse advised - have a 'go', have a 'play', make the most of this safe and supportive environment to practice in, and remember...you cannot break the Internet!
Just the beginning
My personal advise is to remember that this course is only a beginning of your learning journey. You cannot learn all there is to know about online technology in this course. So don't be hard on yourselves...you've all done amazing things already in one week...set up a blog...added something to a wiki...and attended a live web conference...
Just imagine what you'll be up to in four months!!
Hooking up with others
The main advice Carole McCulloch has is to find people you can relate to in a deeper, collaborative way, in an action partnership. In order to help you find people that you may have a common interest with, I have listed participants in areas of employment on the wiki 'Participants' page. This may be helpful, but if it is not...please ignore it.
Chris Woodhouse has started to organise a group that may be interested in creative facilitation - get in touch with Chris if you'd like to know more.
People are getting organised in other ways as well. If you are interested in Twitter you may find it useful to look at the list of FO2010 participants that Claire Thompson has complied on her Twitter page.
We are a big group this year so there is no way you're going to have time to comment on every blog, and it is not my expectation that you should do that. As I have already said, you will naturally find a smaller group of people to interact with, and have deeper conversations. But I can confidently say that you will only get out of this course what you put into it.
What is online facilitation?
I'll leave you with two blog posts that I would recommend you read. The first blog post is by Malcolm Lewis called "Facilitation in the embodied world and in cyberspace". Malcolm has written a great introduction to what online facilitation is and how to work with online networks and communities.
The second post is a very detailed account by Mark Spain about his learning goals for this course. Mark is quite specific about want he aims to achieve. This will not only guide his path through the course but also give him something concrete to measure his personal outcomes against. If you're not too sure about how to develop your goals for the course, have a look at Mark's post to get some ideas.
Thank you all for your enthusiastic start to FO2010...look forward to continuing our conversations next week Sarah