Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Orientation complete? What is an online community?

It has been quite a week! The email forum has been going berserk with enthusiasm, confusion, chaos and insights. Reminds me of that moment you first walk into a fun park... trying to do everything at once :) It was good to see all this, and I think we managed to keep a balance in the orientation week's discussions.

The email forum is not a requirement for the course. It is a space for those of us who enjoy discussing the weekly topics and socially constructing our learning. The minimum requirements for the course are listed on the course wiki. In week 1 - Orientation, everyone should have by now set up their own blog, set up an RSS news reader, and introduced themselves to the course wiki with a link to their blogs.

It is now my job to create a list of everyone doing the course with their contact details and blog addresses. This should make it easier for the rest of us to subscribe to each other's blogs. We don't have to subscribe to everyone's blogs - just the one's that interest us. It is my expectation that little networks will naturally form based on what we can make out about each other through our blogs. Some of us will gravitate towards the more technical aspects of what make online communities work, others towards the more human aspects, and so on. So long as we cross reference each other from time to time such as by making hyperlinks to each other's blog posts from our own posts. Through tis linking a good over view of our network forming will emerge - just in time for week 7 - Blogging networks.

As was discussed in week 1 by some of the participants, a tag word for the course is being used as a way to collect and centralise all our dispersed work in this course. FOC08 is a way to label each of our posts so that they can be collected in one place. It is a nice way to quickly come together if any of us are already established online elsewhere and don't want to have to set up a whole new account and space. The search engine technorati is already starting to pick up references to FOC08, and a few of the participants have manually started collecting people's work into the one place for quick reference. To get your blog posts included in those places, just add the FOC08 tag word in the field below where you type up your blog post and it will appear. Its easy networking! I know.. it sounds complicated to those who are not familiar with it.. but it IS a very handy thing for people who are already set up online.. it saves a lot of time.

So, we now begin week 2 and 3 focusing on the question - What is an online community? We are meeting at 3am UTC (That's 3pm NZ time, and other times here). Just click the link to the 24/7 meeting room before that time and you won't need a password to join. A recording will be made available if you can't make it.

Things to do for the next 2 weeks are outlined on the wiki. Please take your time with it, you have 2 whole weeks (10-12 hours) on the question of what is an online communty? I think it is one worth reading up on, discussing in the email forum and posting a response to your blog. Already there has been a promising start to a discussion in the email forum on the subtle differences between blogs and forums for communication. Don't forget to cross reference to other people's posts, and of course to include other reference's in your post that show's you are researching and learning :)

Good luck, and watch this space for updates.. this space being the course blog - add it to your shiny new RSS News Reader ;)


Bronwyn hegarty said...

This is a very motivating and reassuring post Leigh. It is a crazy idea of mine to keep some sort of spin going on what is happening in the course....but I am curious to try some of the rides in the fun park in between thesis writing - gentle rides not the screamers/rollercoasters - that is so unadventurous isn't it?!

How do you think the communities will form and how will you know?

Anonymous said...

It looks like we've got some great reading and resources for this next module, and I'm very excited about this course even though I've been unable to join the live sessions or access any of the live session recordings so far.

I look forward to the list discussion, and to the blog interactions as it develops.

Dr. Nellie Deutsch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Nellie Deutsch said...

What a great question, Leigh. I associate an online community with a learning community. I am looking forward to learning what others think.

Jennifer Verschoor said...

This community is really very active. I left 2 week to attend WorldCall in Japan and have a long list of email to read!!
This course is well organized and easy to follow.
Now it´s high time to catch up.
Warm regards from Argentina

***** said...

I found this course on the day it was opening so I decided I was too late and to just follow along though I'm not officially a participant. I am hoping that there will be another course in the near future, organized by some of the current participants.