Thursday, October 30, 2008

FOC08 miniconference

The Facilitating Online Communities (FOC08) course mini conference begins next week. The conference program is taking shape! There's a nice variety of topics, venues, and modes of communication.

This mini conference is a it of a culminating project in FOC08. Early on in the course Sue Wolff, Jeffrey Keefer, Bronwyn Stuckey, and I identified "managing multimembership" as a topic deserving some attention. We found ourselves fumbling a bit trying to keep up with new ways to communicate and network, not to mention the tools that were popping up almost daily.

Although the mini conference is schedule to run one week, we decided that our event should begin a week early because it is asynchronous. We felt that participants needed more time than a week to ease into the topic.

In fact we began even earlier than that with a survey to gather some information about how people are coping with multimembership. Then after some careful planning the facilitation group decided to launch the event with a Voice Thread. Aside from offering a different way for people to contribute their stories, we believed that one of the "management" issues we face is the vast amounts of text we deal with on a daily basis. Technically the survey and the Voice Thread were meant to gather data and stories, then the forum discussion would really get going during week 2.

We're now into day 4 of the SCoPE Managing Multimembership in Social Networks seminar. So far we've had 12 fabulous contributions to the Voice Thread, close to 60 respondents to the sruvey, and about 14 people contributing to the forum discussion. It's interesting to note that there isn't a huge overlap in participants who chose to use their voice and those who are using text. I guess that means our plan is working! The participants have shared some neat observations about their personal habits and strategies, and they've raised some excellent questions.

Hopefully we've designed this event so that you feel welcome to join in any time, and participate as much as you can. At SCoPE we're all about informal learning and no pressure. Hope to see you there!

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