Monday, August 31, 2009

Discussion groups

I am currently a member of 6 different discussion groups- all have education and/or politics as their focus.

Those connected with an identified course tend to be rather more both facilitated and moderated than the others. Summaries etc appear that help you keep track of things and pose development questions.

Those that are interest groups have a very loose and flexible structure. I think with them the idea that you have the interest at heart i.e. "passion"- is taken to mean that you will make sense of all of that for yourself.

My son belongs to 3 discussion groups that are open and unfacilitated and he says that often he finds it very frustrating that threads seem to be left hanging.(I did ask him why he didn't do something about it, but that was not well received!!!!)

Moderation is an essential aspect of all these groups. the moderator checks posts and comments for libelous/vulgar etc contributions And in one group, requests for membership are put out to all members.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

politics discussion group

This is an open discussion group on US politics that anyone can join and where messages from new members are moderated.

I found it quite difficult to find open groups really- many that interest me seem to be closed. I wonder if the Blog is taking over from the open discussion group.
I do notice though that webpages such as the e-portfolio page will often have what amounts to a discussion for people who are trying technical things in the application.
Also the Communities in platforms such as the AkoAotearoa one must surely be discussion groups.

Friday, August 14, 2009

scratching or is it hunting?

you can look at Nan's Blog for several interchanges about teacher,facilitator,moderator. Is this one the hunter?

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Some days just seem like this don't they? some of us wandering with heads out of view, some scratching around on the baseline. An ideal online day is one in which all the images match all the perceptions, or is it? Which of these creatuires is the teacher? which the facilitator? which the moderator?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

community online?

Community carries for me notions of shared purpose, some reason for relating, some suitable level or frequency of contact. We have work communities, geographical communities,communities of interest, and in this instance a community of learning and possibly also a subgroup- the community of practice.

Online is simply a community- a group- that functions in the ether. (or doesn't as the case might be. I have just spent several minutes trying to establish a hyperlink to a 2007 presentation by Stephen Downes around access to personalised technology with no success at all, so here is the URL and you will have to find it for yourselves. )

There is much discussion (often quite heated) around the use of technology to create or inhibit community and I found Michael Wesch's ethnography of YOU TUBE quite compelling. He uses (as you could expect an academic to do) his discipline to interpret the phenomenon of user driven and generated contirubtion, filtering and editing, distribution control. He points out that a significant portion of the material on You Tube is personal and targeted at a domestic or family audience. Issues of authenticity and identity get posed. I was interested in the "looking glass self" a concept from psychology
being invoked as a way of looking at identity where context that we are used to collapses. I wonder if this both inhibits and encourages a sens of community to those who are comfortable inhabiting the ether.

I guess for me there is an professional imperative to learn to move in this environment as I have to relate at a distance to people I work with and will not meet f2f. chromatic writes in O'Reilly that online communities develop a sense of ownership of their space and develop a shared history and culture. I'm curious to observe this community and myself in it in this regard. (He? also remarks that the first visit needs to be successful to encourage return visits. How many times is the technology not what it promises on a first visit? OH my.)

Stay strong people.