Wednesday, March 16, 2011

FO2011: Summary of week 2

We have come to the end of the second week and by now you should have had a good read of the course outline and weekly schedule so you have a thorough idea of what's going on. At this stage of the course I would expect that you have your blog up and running, written a post about who you are and what you want to achieve during the course, left your contact details on the course wiki, connected with a few of the other course participants and left comments on their blogs.

How do I know when someone has left a comment on my blog?
One of the best ways of learning in this course is to connect with others and tap into their knowledge and expertise. The more comments you make on other people's blogs, the more they will visit your blog and give you feedback.

The best way to know when people have left comments on your blog is to set your blog so that you get an email every time someone leaves a comment. If you have a Blogger blog, go the your dashboard and click onto "Settings".

When you get to "Settings", then click onto "Comments".

Once you get to the "Comments" section, scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your email into the "Comment Notification Email" box.

For any other questions you may have about how you monitor comments on your blog go to Blogger Help, or have a search on YouTube for videos that will show you what to do. If you have a Wordpress blog, go to the "Support" for information on how to set up comments.

How can I make sure people can follow my blog?
The other thing you should do when you are setting up your blog (again, I am talking about Blogger - if you have a Wordpress blog, go to "Support" information) is make sure people can follow your blog. My best advice is to add a gadget to the side of your blog called "Follow by Email". To do this, go to "Design" and then click on "Add a Gadget".

Another window will appear with a number of gadgets that you can choose. In this case, choose "Follow by Email" and then click onto "Save".

You will then see the gadget appear on the side of your blog which will allow your followers to receive an email every time you write a blog post. There are other ways of following a blog, but for newbies, this is probably the easiest way.

We had two live meetings this week, going over information about how get going with the course. If you wish to watch a recording, can I recommend you watch Thursday's session. In this session we were joined by Greg Walker and his iFacilitate class. It was really interesting to find out what the participants of that class are up to and finding out that their main problem is finding the time to engage properly with online communication - is that a problem you are finding? In the meantime, please say 'hello' to them on their blogs...I am sure they would love your encouragement, and vis versa.
What FO2011 participants are saying this week
On the whole, people have been focusing on getting their blogs up and running, like Lorna who is looking forward to "learning how to apply new communication technology to facilitate adult student's learning". Florence has joined the course because she wants to work out how to be more innovative when she teaches French to her teenage students. Chris has taken things one step further and has been thinking about 'fancy' ways of following other participants' blogs. He did recommend Pageflakes but there have been problems with it - if you check out Chris's most recent post, you will catch an interesting discussion about alternative ways of following blogs. Morag is doing FO2011 because she wants to catch up with her students in terms of online communication. However, she feels there is a tension between becoming more active using blogs and Twitter and protecting her privacy. What do you think? Is privacy and online communication a contradiction in terms? How can we protect ourselves yet still engage online? If you have an opinion, pop along to Morag's blog and let her know what you think.

Look forward to reading more blog posts this week. Sarah

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