# Facilitating online learning communities/Computer Mediated Social Networking Conference: Dunedin 2008

A submission to the Computer Mediated Social Networking Conference: Dunedin 2008. Leigh, Sarah and possibly others to present from a facilitator, administrator and participant point of view, with guests beamed in online to speak about the experience of guest lecturing online. (Don't worry Sarah, I'm quite experience doing this at conferences).

## Contributors

--Sarahs 01:12, 29 January 2008 (CET)

--Leighblackall 07:06, 10 January 2008 (CET)

--bron 23:51, 28 January 2008 (CET)

## Facilitators/participant perceptions - Sarah to start

Questions to be answered by participants:

• How did you find the experience?
• How has it helped you understand communities and social networking strategies (technologies and tools included)?
• How have you continued to network with people in communities?

Request permission from participants to use material from their blogs.

Carolyn McIntosh I am happy for you to use whatever you need to for this paper. How did you find the experience?

Yvonne Moore was catching up yesterday with the email group and actually listened to you and Leigh discussing your ideas. Sounds like an interesting talk. You can use any of my stuff from the course - blog/wiki/assignments - if it will help :)

Here's my thoughts on your questions:

• How did you find the experience?

Overall I enjoyed it although along the way it was quite frustrating. About 4/5 weeks in, because I felt all at sea, I kind of made up my mind that I wasn't going to worry too much about the grade and I think from that point on I started to enjoy it more. Studying an assessed course can lead to a bit of anxiety if you're not really sure of yourself. I think the problem for me was that I wasn't teaching a group that I could relate the content of the course to. But in the end I learned a lot about using the tools, the pitfalls, some good practice tips and found sharing views and general discussion helpful. It was interesting to hear Leigh say that only 10% of people engaged - I wondered what his definition of 'engagement' is. I spent hours every day reading and using tools but didn't always 'comment' - I was engaging with material/resources but is this what he means. Or is the definition related specifically to engaging with another person or people - 'socially' engaging? (Just interested as I felt engaged throughout even though I didn't contribute to discussions as much as you, Caroline, David etc).

• How has it helped you understand communities and social networking strategies (technologies and tools included)?

To be honest this was the one area of e-learning that I had little experience of, and as it turned out little knowledge of! So I feel I now have much better grasp of what's available to learners through networks. And I used tools I would not normally have tried - SL, flickr, slideshare. Being able to see how others have used these tools is useful in helping to see relevance to specific student groups.

• How have you continued to network with people in communities?

Not really. I still drop in to the email forum and read blogs - although most of the participants have stopped blogging. I'm still keen to start blogging when I start my applied project in a month's time so at that point I may start looking for networks to support me through that. And when I search for info on the net, I now search through blogs and wikis too, so my resource base is far more varied than it ever was.

Graeme Dixon: Only too happy.

• How did you find the experience?

I found the overall experience to be positive in that I learnt a lot about eLearning which I had not been enclosed to before. I also found the experience to be very frustrating in that I was exposed to a loosely structured type of learning which was contrary to the way I am required to teach myself and something which I had not expected in a course run by experts.

• How has it helped you understand communities and social networking strategies (technologies and tools included)?

I think I now have a greater understanding of eLearning technologies and tools although I have developed a skeptical attitude to some things such as FaceBook, Beebo and Second Life.

• How have you continued to network with people in communities?

Yes, I have although the summer break has curtailed my blogs and responding to others blogs. I do inytend to do two other papers in the Diploma in this semester and next.

Linda Robertson. You are welcome to use things off my Blog so long as you present a balanced view of my perspective.

   * How did you find the experience? Do you really want to know?! I thought it was amazing how little lecturers knew about normal educational processes. It was mostly frustrating with a general lack of scaffolding to allow me to feel safe and able to keep up with the expectations. However, it also opened my eyes to some of the possibilities in networking strategies.
* How has it helped you understand communities and social networking strategies (technologies and tools included)? Its made me appreciate much more the importance of 'real' contact in setting up up a learning community. However, as this is not possible in my case, I think its essential to of set up tasks to ensure that students do contact one another eg. work on combined projects. It did not solve the BIG problem I have of the discussion forums in Blackboard being very stilted. While I could use another medium, this then means that students are dealing with more than one site which is not a good thing with beginners in technology. Be OK if the point of the exercise was to learn about the technology - but that is not the case. I certainly learned that you need to keep technology simple. I also learned  the  value of Blogging. I will even attempt a blog that students can use who are enrolled in my PG course.
*How have you continued to network with people in communities? I have not been diligent here. Not   enough interest unless something really inspires me to consider this worthwhile.


Sarah to ask Sue: why did they provide their expertise for free? What did they get out of it? Comments about openness of course and technologies/tools used. What they thought their role in learning community development was

   *why did you provide your expertise for free?


Why not? It's what I do. People mentor and guide me. So by doing so I am just repaying the assistance others have provided me.

   *What did you get out of it?

I gain as just as much as the people in your program gain - I learn from their thoughts, their reflections - it challenges my ideas so it is a win:win situation.



   *Any comments about openness of course and technologies/tools used.


I think the 10 min lecture series was incredible - no way was I convinced it would be beneficial and yet it was a really good model. Participants got to listen to well respected people from around the World. I gained so much from listening to these talks because I already had a strong foundation however I do ponder if the participants that were just starting out using technology could relate to what the presenters were saying.

Also pondered about using the google group email. Wonder if there was a more effective mechanism for managing the interaction - e.g. Ning community. Or does email work better because it is the simplest form of communication that the participants can relate to?

As most participants had their own blog - it was hard to know what was happening on each - perhaps there was a need for a site that brought all the posts together - so it made it easier to interact with the entire group?

   *What you thought your role in learning community development was


Sticking my nose in? When I felt I had something to add to the conversation I'd speak up. Mentoring

• how did you get involved in the first place?

Leigh is a mate of my mates - especially Alex Hayes and Stephan Ridgway. They know me as a result of my podcast site. Last year they did a podcast and Leigh and I were both invited. He got to know me through that podcast and then sent me Skype messages when sessions were on because he wanted the community to benefit from interacting with others - I think that is what he wanted but better to ask him :)

## Theoretical approaches/10 min speakers - Leigh to start, everyone to add

Leigh to ask guest lecturers: why did they provide their expertise for free? What did they get out of it? Comments about openness of course and technologies/tools used. What they thought their role in learning community development was

## Lessons learned - Bron to start

Openness, collaboration, network expansion, connections, access, info, digital, network and communication lits

# Notes on conference prompting questions

This is the conference question Bron believes we need to answer:

How can various Web 2.0 tools be integrated to satisfy the needs of electronic communities in a holistic manner?

This will probably be answered from the lessons learned section.

## Facilitating effective structure in a Social Network System (SNS)

• Interaction models or protocols
• The set up and maintenance of the Facilitating Online Learning Communities course - yes this would be appropriate to answer the question: How can various Web 2.0 tools be integrated to satisfy the needs of electronic communities in a holistic manner? We could bring in the difficulty of the LMS in all of this as well. --bron 00:37, 29 January 2008 (CET)
• Leigh and Bronwyn --bron 00:37, 29 January 2008 (CET)to outline. Sarah and others to comment on

## Social organization and control in social networks

• Sharing, collaboration and cooperation via tagging
• Participant blogs, email forum
• Different models of social control (reputation, referral, sanction, negotiation, trust, privacy)
• Teacher/Facilitator

## Collective knowledge construction (e.g. Wikipedia), issues and solutions

• Enhanced face-to-face networks, especially for those of us who work at OP. Sarah to start - I do not see any point in mentioning f2f - not really relevant.--bron 00:40, 29 January 2008 (CET)
• Barnraising wiki, participant blogs, email forum, Elluminate discussions and 10 min lectures - great idea.--bron 00:40, 29 January 2008 (CET)

## Topologies of social networks

(scale free, small world, random ) and their applications such as:

• Opinion dynamics in social networks
• Disease propagation models on networks
• Knowledge and communication networks
• Norm spreading and emergence in social networks
• Well, I dunno what they're talking about, but I think we should talk about the guest lectures and participation topography. ANd maybe a bit about how the 'outsiders' helped the newbies to see the context more quickly (commenting on blogs etc).
• Beam in guests to demonstrate

## Modelling dynamic growth/shrinkage of networks in the context of online communities

• This is the open access, open enrolment I reckon

## Using software agents in the development and simulation of on-line societies

• SL, email forum, Skype, Elluminate.

## Integration of various communication tools

such as Wikis, Blogs, Discussion Boards etc. - Well that's us to a tee! yes perhaps mention the expectation of incorporating LMS and the issues this caused - how it stunted the development of community and integration of web 2.0 tools. --bron 00:42, 29 January 2008 (CET)

## Issues and solutions in modelling virtual environments

(e.g. enhancing Presence of the user in a 3D world, facilitating structure for interaction)

• Further work we will do in developing education generally at Otago Polytechnic using socially networked media and communications.
• Leigh about EDC and other department courses, Sarah about Midwifery and other courses she knows of

==Use of high speed networks for interactions in virtual environment

# ICCMSN 2008 Paper

[Here we are]: Have to the end of March to get this done!