Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Book chapter and presentation

Earlier this month Patricia Delich, Paul Stacey, and I presented our chapter for the upcoming book Education for a Digital World - Edition 2.0. (more details in earlier post) The presentation itself was a bit of a challenge -- an overview of a chapter in 30 minutes, giving enough of a context so it made sense to people who haven't read the chapter, and allowing enough time for questions. This is where collaboration really shines. Patricia was ACE at managing the preliminary planning for this. She prepared the presentation, offered several options for how to structure it, and guided us about how much time we should spend on each portion and what to emphasize. Best of all, she started EARLY with the whole process. Paul is the ultimate web conference facilitator, but he stepped back so that I could get some practice. Like Patricia, Paul emphasizes the importance of planning ahead. That involves writing a script, rehearsing, identifying roles, and arriving early to upload files, test audio, and so on. There's a lot more to this than people realize! I've learned so much from participating in live sessions with Paul, but I have a long way to go!

For our session we introduced ourselves, each talked briefly about our communities, then highlighted some recommendations based on our experiences with each community. Then we zoned in on common themes that emerged for us in the final analysis of our case studies. In keeping with the 30-minute time frame we held off on responding to questions until the end, but encouraged participants to post questions in the text chat as they came to mind.

Here is the latest draft of our chapter: Cultivating communities of practice: Analysis of 3 cases studies using the 7 principles and the Elluminate recording of our presentation.

As a side note, at CPSquare we've started a practice of rehearsals as a way to get feedback from community members on upcoming presentations. A nice idea, and it's proving to be very worthwhile!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Online Communities: Indicators of Success

In my role as community steward and moderator for SCoPE I'm always looking for indicators of success. I do the usual routine checks, like how many people are creating accounts, logging in, contributing to discussions, accessing resources, and so on. (I say "and so on" realizing that I don't do enough in this area, and I have a lot to learn about what that "and so on" should include.)

I also keep an eye out for blog posts that mention SCoPE. Some bloggers help to spread the word about SCoPE events, and others link back to SCoPE discussions, such as this recent post by Clint Lalonde on his reflections during the Tools for Collaborating Online seminar.

But sometimes these indicators jump out at me in twitter, like Nancy White letting me know she mentioned SCoPE during her keynote presentation at the eLearning 2010 in Forth Worth, Texas (slides are here, and it's also available to watch online).

Nancy also added a couple links to contributions by SCoPE members on her History and Future of Online Facilitation wiki page.

Other times positive feedback from SCoPE members will land right in my inbox.  This is a recent post by Colby Stuart, a member since 2007.
Through my decades of collaboration in everything from the creative industry through to academic scientific communities and into the WWW or social networking, I have found SCoPE to be a place where the sheer joy of sharing, participation and playful encounter comes alive. In this space we share ideas, demonstrate tools, take each other into experiences with tools, platforms and spaces.

SCoPE has captured the essence of what creates a safe collaboration space. No one is left behind. There is room for each person to contribute and ask questions and never feel like they fall short in doing so. Even if we have no time, we still can follow and join in when time permits. It's our choice.

The platform and tools in SCoPE have grown as the people and group have communicated what they needs to grow. In other words, SCoPE services the continual growth of communication and collaboration by listening with resonance. Through that, SCoPE has serviced us all - so that we can focus and continue to share and learn from one another - on all levels.

SCoPE "is" a fine example of collaboration and the value that comes from that.
Thank you, Sylvia and everyone for that. We appreciate how much we enjoy this space to share, learn, contribute.
 And a few others in the last month or so:

Theresa Weel, in a forum post:
Scope is a great source for learning about collaborative tools, particularly because we roll up our collective sleeves and use them.
And in the same forum, a post by Deirdre Bonnycastle:
I agree even though my time is really minimal, I try to read something from SCoPE once a day.
So THANK YOU SCoPE members. These are all great examples of indicators of success in an online community! This type of feedback sure perks me up.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Some solutions for your community, anyone?

There is a lot of chatter today about the announcement by NING that they will no longer offer a free hosting option. In fact, if you do a twitter search on 'ning' you'll see many, MANY new updates waiting for a page refresh within a fraction of a second of accessing the page. Aside from sympathy for the employees at NING who were laid off, and also for those who have invested a lot of energy into their NING communities without realizing that they can't move their content elsewhere, I'm feeling indifferent about this move. I've never warmed up to NING as a platform, and got a little bored checking out all the new communities popping up that sounded interesting, but alas, fizzled very quickly. Perhaps a fee-based service will help to reduce the number of inactive spaces.

In any case, the real reason for this blog post is to point to something fantastic that is happening RIGHT NOW as a result of this announcement from NING. Alec Couros fired up an Alternative to Ning Google Doc that took off like wild fire. He posted this to Twitter:

There was such a rush to collaborate on this project that many people were getting error messages when trying to access the document. I fired up Jing to record the the first few minutes of editing in progress. It's cool to watch! I also added a snippet about SCoPE, since we'll gladly offer Moodle SIG space for educational practitioners and researchers.

This project could develop into quite the useful toolkit for community stewards!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Culturally Diverse Learners

We're gearing up for a SCoPE seminar on a topic that should be of interest to all educators: Culturally Diverse Learners, facilitated by Emma Bourassa, Kyra Garson, and Wesley Eccleston from Thompson Rivers University. The seminar is anchored on a series of filmed scenarios aimed to enhance intercultural competencies by providing a spring board for dialogue and reflection on best practices for intercultural learning environments. There are eight videos altogether -- in addition to the scenarios there are four "extras" that include interviews and a couple segments on the making of the series.

The seminar kicks off with a live session April 12 at 12:00 PST, 19:00 GMT in Elluminate.

As with all SCoPE seminars, this event is free and open to the public and designed for busy professionals. You can participate according to your own time and interests. All seminars are moderated by volunteers in our community and are archived for future reference. We welcome newcomers and latecomers, and reading along is VERY acceptable.