Thursday, November 18, 2010

How To Look Good Glaikit

How To Look Good Glaikit may seem an odd title for a CPD event but it looks like it's going to be an interesting couple of days. The two-day event will look at ways of creating and sustaining online learning communities in Glow.

{Live-ish blog to capture some of the things that strike me as the day progresses.}

© R. A. J. Muir 2010. Used with permission.
Chinese proverb: When the winds of change blow, some people build walls while others build windmills.

CPDScotsman says, "You can't lurk collegiatly". Can you force people to contribute? What about the concept of virtual learners? An interesting discussion developed initially in the room but then in the Twitter backchannel. One Tweet that caused a bit of discussion came from @ewanmcintosh:
Fact: 90% of users won't contribute anything. But without them your community dies. Taking w/out contributing is part of ecosystem
I was going to comment on this and include some of the other discussion but I think it deserves a blog post of its own. I'll try to do something on it tonight.

We had to list five things we want our online communities to achieve. My five are:
  1. Foster a sense of belonging. The online community should support social as well as educational activities.
  2. A place to learn. This should allow people to learn by watching as well as by contributing - it is possible to over-emphasize the value of contributing.
  3. Effective contributors. Different levels of participation possible but as people become more comfortable in a community, they may grow into being effective contributors. (See Salmon's Five Stage Model.)
  4. Creative users. The online community should free people to be creative, not constrain them to one way of working.
  5. Help rather than hinder. If the online tool gets in the way of learning, find a better tool! See the cartoon above - the tray is supposed to help you, not add to your burdens.
It was a think, pair share type exercise and, eventually, four of us working together came up with an agreed set of five aims. A dot voting exercise (see for an online example of this type of activity) was then employed to identify the aims that got the most votes from the community. The voting will be summarised and shared later and I'll try to post the results here when they are available.

Towards the end of the day, there was a demonstration of a CPDMeet web part which was designed to make it easy to set up online events. This template included a series of buttons (Glow hotspots) in a follow up activities section. One of the buttons was, "Say thank you", which sends an email to the organiser/presenter. I like this. If you want to up participation levels and minimise lurking, make the participation bar as low as possible. In facebook terms, give users a Like button to click.

It is now the end of the day, and to be honest, I'm not sure I did what I was supposed to do (i.e. set up or improve a Glow group) but I learned a lot, participated in some cracking discussions and shared resources... and I had fun! I may get into trouble tomorrow for not doing what I was told to do today but I'll cross that online bridge when I come to it!


Bob Hill said...

Teachmeets and Twitter (plus Facebook) are examples of successful collaboration, contributing, them what you will. So what is the magic ingredient?

paulmartin42 said...

Your five points of community sound like you belong to some sort of church. One of the magic ingredients for a church is right-place right-time particularly for the leader and his team cf Genesis' One for the Vine.

David said...

Hello Bob

I'd say one element of their success is how easy it is to contribute.

Hello Paul

Timing is something we discussed (and is perhaps hinted at in my number 3 idea). It may take time for people to become comfortable enough to contribute and some users will take longer to get there than others.

Ewan McIntosh said...

Contributing REALLY late to this one, but I'm so glad that you wrote up some of these basics. 140chs was not enough for me to explain what took Gilly Salmon a couple of hundred pages, but I also believe quite strongly that this kind of understanding is and has been sorely neglected by those who run communities in so many sides of public service, from health to education. Some CIOs really get it, but they're rarely the people who end up running these communities.

Most preposterous, though, was the concept of a community where only those who contribute explicitly are allowed to stay. One way to make an 'elite' (and VERY small) group anyway, but certainly no community.