Monday, June 7, 2010

Help Tony Bates with input regarding Canadian access to post-secondary

Tony Bate is giving input to a committee this week and he's asking for ideas (not that he doesn't have a lot of his own ideas already). But here's our chance to contribute:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Personal Learning Network can continue even when ISWO is over

Through the blogs, you've shared your reflections in a format that's external to the course and I'm sure you all realize that this sharing doesn't have to end when the course ends. And blogging is just one of many social media tools that can extend your personal learning network and help you establish or deepen connections with people who share your interests.  It takes time to develop a sense of trust with the people in your PLN so this could be an ongoing process for you.

My hope is that in one way or another, your PLN will evolve and become more and more useful to you. You might continue with the blog you created here. You might have a different appreciation when you read the blog postings of others and you might be more likely to comment on postings you find or make the effort to seek out a favourite blogger at a conference (b.t.w. did you know you can narrow a google search to look only in blogs? and that you can refine that search by date?)

And you might decide to explore other aspects of social media.  Twitter, LinkedIn, sharing photos on Flickr -- the "participatory web" is vast.

And Royal Roads will soon launch a community called MyRRU. It's a space where you can view information and create your own as well. The ideas I've conveyed as your blogging steward will apply to that community and I hope it becomes a vibrant one. 

And this "meta blog" will remain in place as well :-)  I'll certainly continue doing what I've been doing because it's really led me to some interesting places.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Personal Learning Networks/Environments via the work of Wendy Drexler

Just want to share the link from today's posting on my other blog as it's all about the concept of the PLN/PLE.

A couple of videos and a scholarly article. Lots of vision but also on-the-ground real examples.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Twitter’s role in Bangkok conflict unprecedented" - quotes from a news article

Some quotes from an article discussing the influence of social media (in this case, Twitter) during the crisis in Thailand. It's not all good -- the medium was used for propaganda as well as for useful information, but it appears that the truth did rise to the surface.

...Some say Twitter – or rather its users – may have even saved lives as fighting consumed the streets of Bangkok

....With many websites censored and Thailand’s traditional media deeply divided into pro- and anti-government camps, it arguably became the only forum where you could get a clear picture of what was really going on

....“The propaganda is not good, but because of the speed, people can check and cross-check. If you put something out there that’s untrue, within 30 minutes the truth will come out because people will show evidence, photos and videos.”

And the above photo is my personal memory of Thai soldiers in 2008. Sad to think of what they might be doing now. I shot this picture in the old capitol (Ayutthaya) where, with the most generous family of a student we had as a homestay, we visited ancient temples, rode elephants and loved what was at that time a peaceful, beautiful, busy and diverse country.

Monday, May 17, 2010


I'm talking about blog moderation here :-)

I know that a couple of comments I've made to ISWO people's blogs are not visible because they are "awaiting moderation".  Perhaps others in ISWO have made comments that are in the same state.

As a blogger, you of course have the opportunity to filter comments to your blog, but please make sure to follow through when that request comes to you (it should be an email with a link directly to the place where you make your decision) and either accept or reject the comment.

Keep the conversations flowing......

Saturday, May 15, 2010

More about commenting on blogs

Over the past two weeks, the folks in the ISWO course have been experiencing a range of online learning opportunities, including discussion forums within Moodle, wikis, conferencing via Elluminate and blogs. These tools are being introduced for the purpose of exploring online community building and probably for most of the participants, at least one of these tools is an unfamiliar thing. 

As ISWO blog steward, I am seeing really interesting observations in the early blog postings and I have had quite a few comments to make. Also, I am making the effort to connect bloggers (from within ISWO) whose ideas might inspire or challenge each other. Depending on how you've set up your blog, you may get email notifications when someone has commented. Don't forget to return to your blog to see how people are responding. Comments are starting to appear, and there should be more soon since it's a designated activity in the course. 

So this is a community in early stages - part of a course requirement but hopefully also something real. Blogging is a form of self-expression and sharing and my hope is that for some of you, it's a process that that might be retained after the course is over as part of the authentic personal learning network.

Here's a reminder about the reason we blog from Seth Godin (the math is not always obvious):

And here's a link to the 8-minute Elluminate session that discusses the concept of the Personal Learning Network (PLN) that is the type of community we're hoping you'll all be working on as a result of your experiences in this course:

PLN diagram from the Elluminate session

Monday, May 10, 2010

Making comments on blogs

It's great to see the ISWO blogs - lots of different styles of writing and different choices of presentation. Part of blogging is self-expression. Generally when a blogger writes, it's because he or she believes that there's something worth writing about. Sometimes even when there's little evidence that anyone is reading it can still be an act of catharsis to put those words together.

But the blogging experience can be greatly enhanced by your readers (when they exist) -- the supportive and/or critical comments, the prodding for clarification, the excitement of seeing an idea spur a tangential idea, and the ongoing conversations that can occur in response to certain postings.

And there's reward from being the one to make the comments as well, especially when the blogger gets back to you. On the creative side, there's a bit of skill and art involved in this. First you have to find posts worth responding to. As your PLN builds up, this becomes easier and easier. You'll find that you're following links recommended by people whose ideas you trust (even if you've never met them) and your area of interest just sort of opens up in front of you.

On the technical side, it's really pretty much like replying to a forum posting. That being said, it took me a while to realize that for some blogs, it might be necessary to click on the text that says "0 comments" in order to be able to make the first comment. In some blogging systems it's more intuitive than others.

Without any editorializing, I'll point you to a fairly recent blog posting by a writer I follow. This one got over 500 comments

With any kind of opinion writing or feedback, there's are ways of saying what you mean in a constructive way. I think you'll find the above posting and the hundreds of comments it generated cover a pretty large range of writing styles from polite and constructive to, well, not so polite. It's an interesting case study.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Blog Steward for ISWO

As you may know by now, I'm taking on the role of social media steward for ISWO. So I've created this blog as a kind of central organizer for the online community that we hope will form with ISWO learners at its core.

What you see here is a meta-blog that links to all the course blogs and a few "external" ones that may be of interest as well. Feel free to suggest any additions.
My postings in this blog will be mainly administrative. I've been doing my reflection elsewhere but I won't keep that hidden from you...

I'll start by pointing to the administrative-type instructions in my May 31 posting that show you steps for getting started with your own course blog if you choose to use Blogger.

Then I'll lead you to my most recent reflective postings in the educationally-focused blog that I've kept for a little over a year now. It's sort of a professional diary. When I have a bit of time for professional browsing online, I read and reflect and sometimes I make comments to get more information from the author or simply to say that my experiences have been similar.

And I also create my own blog posts to explore ideas I've found in more detail e.g.:

Ruth Reynard article: Facilitation to Constructive Partnerships
which is my reflection on an article that seems to be talking about exactly what is taking place here in ISWO. It's all about constructive partnerships in online communities.

Learning and Web 2.0 – supportive research from Europe
which describes (among other things) how informal learning through social media is outpacing the use of such media in formal situations.

AND (not my own reflection but one that I find to be very compelling)

Tony Bates writes: An essay on the impact of the digital age on scholarship and institutions which includes his statement:
As anxious as I am to see change in our institutions, I’m not sure I want it to be the result of desperately responding to a crisis, because the students in particular are likely to suffer, at least in the short term. I would though like to see government spending more closely linked to innovation and change in our institutions, but few politicians seem to be up to that battle here in Canada.

Bates wants to preserve what's working and writes in support of Richard Katz who "recognizes the value of the core functions of universities, but is seeking to find a way to foster and protect them and at the same time make them relevant in a rapidly changing world."

Do you believe there is any potential risk of students and employers finding traditional institutions (and credentialing processes) to be less and less relevant if those institutions don’t embrace the tools that are becoming ubiquitous outside of their walls? Do you think innovation is a priority? How can we achieve this without destroying what works?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Getting started with Blogger.

Here is the powerpoint presentation (accessed via Slideshare). Between this and the YouTube video embedded in my previous post, I hope everyone can get started as bloggers.

Start this slideshow by clicking on the arrow, then on the forward or back arrows to proceed. If you choose to view this on Slideshare, you'll be able to see it full size.

Blogger looks like a pretty easy tool for ISWO

I am working on a slideshow of steps to set up in blogger, but this short video is pretty good too.