Sunday, July 27, 2008

Facilitating Online Communities

Tomorrow is Day 1 of the 17-week Facilitating Online Communities course led by Leigh Blackall. If you're familiar with the good work at WikiEducator or have a strong interest in networked learning and open content, then you've probably heard of Leigh.

I first became acquainted with Leigh and his work when volunteering as an "organizing partner" for the 2006 KnowTips online conference. Through that experience my awareness of the value and importance of openness was raised several decibels, in fact to the point of embarrassment for being involved in organizing a very closed online conference.

Leigh asked questions. Lots of questions.
"Will the recording of my presentation be available to the public?"
"How long will the recording be available?"
"Will my Moodle space be open to the public?"
"Can the discussion for my topic take place at TALO instead of the conference site?"
"What happens to the money collected from conference fees?"

As the person in charge of presenters, I took each question back to the conference committee. Who is this person, they asked? Someone we should listen to, I answered. :-)

Once I joined the Teaching and Learning Online Google Group I got a glimpse of Leigh's work. I really admired his facilitation style, his energy, and most of all his devotion to the future of education. It took a bit of convincing around the planning table, but I think (I hope) we were able to accommodate all of Leigh's requests. His conference presentation was outstanding.

Now, look at this great opportunity! Leigh and his colleagues from Otago Polytechnic have developed this online course AND they are offering it for free. No limits on the enrolment, no complicated registration process, no fees. Just introduce yourself to indicate your interest on the course discussion page and get oriented this week! It's not too late to join. All details are on the course wiki.

See you there!


  1. Sylvia, I didn't know Leigh, but as I started to read him I suspected the valuable facilitator he is. Your post confirms my suspicion.
    I also loved the registering process, simple and open.

  2. Hi Sylvia,
    I know Leigh only from his blog and posts in Wikieducator Google group. He was very active discussing lots of stuff I dind't understand quite well. You tell us a lot about him which conveys a good idea of the man who is facilitating this course. We are in good hands.
    Thanks for the great post.

  3. Hello Sylvia!

    I am trying to get through everyone's blogs and leaving a little note. I am excited about this online experience as well. I sure that we will get out of the course what we put into it. I believe that we are on the right path right now in establishing an online community. Looking forward in hearing more from you online!


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