Re-Thinking E-Learning Research (free) Seminar at SCoPE

Rethinking E-Learning ResearchI just learned about a new 3-week online seminar that just began at SCoPE: Re-Thinking E-Learning Research. I purchased this text after reading about it earlier in the year, and this is a great opportunity to begin reading it, especially given that my doctoral studies are in E-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning. As I take such a broad view of what elearning and e-research are, this session may be just the thing I am looking for.

I am really interested in the 3 topics that will be covered and discussed:

  1. Introduction to e-learning research: What is it? Where are we?
  2. Narrative: What is the case for narrative methods in e-learning research?
  3. Critical Theory: How can methodologies associated with critical theory contribute to the field of e-learning research?

Perhaps I will see some of my colleagues online during this event, and we can experience how all this works within an online community of practice as well!

VoiceThread for Managing Multimembership in Social Networks

Our SCoPE session, Managing Multimembership in Social Networks, begins tomorrow, and to prepare for our discussion, we have created a VoiceThread for this:

This will be on the SCoPE page, and it is used by clicking the right-triangle button on the image, which is the traditional “start” button for videos. It will then begin with Bronwyn  Stuckey, who asked the question, and then continue with other people who added their voices to the conversation.

Here’s to a new discussion on multimembership!

How Do You Handle Multimembership?

What, not sure about what Multimembership is?

In a succinct way, multimembership refers to being a member of several social networking environments, communities, platforms, and technologies at once. You know, I blog here and Tweet there and participate in Facebook over there (among many others); but how do I manage all this?

Managing Multimembership in Social Networks: Oct 27-Nov 9, 2008

If you are as interested in exploring this issue, you may want to join our upcoming discussion: Managing Multimembership in Social Networks: Oct 27-Nov 9, 2008. We are holding this discussion in conjunction with the Facilitating Online Communities class, where class attendees were asked to participate in a mini-conference. We are thinking broadly about our topic, and want to reach as wide an audience as possible to get the most ideas out there from the many people who face the same challenges.

Multimembership Survey

Want to participate before the session itself formally begins? If so, consider taking our quick and painless online survey so we can get some data to share with the participants when we begin in another week and a half.

Did I mention our online Multimembership discussion is free, thanks to the support of SCoPE? Please, invite your friends—there is wisdom and power in the network!

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The Search for Online Community (FOC08)

How time flies!

Week 6 of the online class I am taking, Facilitating Online Communities, is just finishing, and our assignment is to search out an online community and identify the features of why it is one. To be fair, the assignment is a little more involved, but this is the part I am planning to focus upon.

SCoPE arrows SCoPE jumps to mind. Sylvia Currie, one of my colleagues at a distance who is also taking this class and with whom I have participated in several online events, is the community organizer of this wonderful online association.

When I started attending professional development workshops at this online community, with the by-line “SCoPE brings together individuals who share an interest in educational research and practice,” I really was rather new to the concept of online community. In fact, the only reason I attended after all is because I did not have any other available professional education and development opportunities at the time. I had no concept of it as a community, nor was that something I would have sought out even had I recognized it as one. At the time, I saw education and professional development as something that one (me) does independently to improve one’s own classroom experiences. I had no idea about the collaborative and connected power of getting people together who have some common interests and experiences to share and develop together. That is something that came about from attending a number of the SCoPE sessions where I gradually experienced these benefits.

I have learned and reflected a lot on online communities over the past couple of years, and am finally trying to put into words what identifying features I now think I am looking for in an online community:

  1. Similar Interests — I am looking for people who have some similar interests, whether professional interests, academic interests, hobbies, or the like. I find it easier to work with people I meet in SCoPE who have similar interests in online learning, qualitative research, and educational technology for adult education. That many of these people also are interested in professional development opportunities and gladly share what they have learned to help others (me) not re-invent the wheel is an added bonus.
  2. Passion for Work — A number of the people who I have met along the way and with whom I am always happy to share continued online opportunities and sessions are those who are not afraid to work for something they want. They have a passion for going above and beyond the minimum in order to have (and share) the best experiences they can toward similar and related goals.
  3. Active Communication — Good communication is one of those hidden factors that supports or dooms communities. Maintaining connections online, with the variety of social media and communication media available, can be a challenge at times, and those who communicate in ways that their listeners and colleagues can best hear their messages and reply are those who are most effective at building and supporting communities.

There indeed may be other factors to consider, and for them and for other perspectives on this topic I will in turn look at my own community in this class, such as Illya Arnet-Clark, Mike Bogle, Nellie Deutsch, Barbara Dieu, and Amy Lenzo. What better resources than colleagues considering some of the same issues?

To end this thinking here, I suppose facilitating these factors involves the similar interests, passion, and communication that I listed above. Of course, organization and time management and project planning and staying current are also important. This reminds me of the Technology Stewardship discussions that other colleagues, John Smith, Nancy White, and Etienne Wenger, have been building and sharing with the larger community.

I think I have a lot of good examples to continue to learn from!

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Facilitating Online Communities Class

I just learned from my colleague Sylvia Currie at SCoPE that there is a new, online class that begins today–Facilitating Online Communities. Facilitated by Leigh Blackall at Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand, this seems like another of the intersting summer learning experiences to be aimed at a global audience of community facilitators and educators.

I just signed up for it, and am looking forward to several weeks of learning and meeting new colleagues. I am thinking more and more about a class as a virtual community of practice, and am hoping to learn some ways to integrate this into my online teaching, especially my upcoming Principles and Practices of Online Course Creation and Instructional Design course and the online graduate courses I will teach thereafter.