The course overall was great learning experience for me and I have touched a lot of new online communities and discovered a lot about the virtual world out there that can be utilised in elearning. Below is a summary and highlights of the semester’s blogging.
Definition by Wiki - Online community is a group of people that primarily interact via communication media such as newsletters, telephone, email, internet social network service or instant messages rather than face to face, for social, professional, educational or other purposes. An online community is simply a meeting place on the Internet for people who share common interests and needs.
Looking into facilitating, moderating and teaching, I have always thought I could manage all those roles, thinking that it is very similar to teaching, but while doing this course I have discovered the roles each of them play in Elearning and how important the individual roles are. The practical experience I went through during my mini conference has made me realize the importance of each role.
Discussions forums is a really a good way of allowing online learners to interact with each other either synchronously or asynchronously. Discussion forums would definitely benefit from having facilitators and moderators ending up with an efficient discussion forum. My Presenter for the mini conference, Cherie Wright had given a very good presentation regarding online forums, click here to view the recording.
Blog Networks come in a range of shapes and sizes and have been designed with different purposes in mind – but in a sense if you strip them all back they are simply clusters of blogs that are in some way linked together under a common name or banner. Meena had created a very good event on her blog for Blogging and it looks at blogging from different perspectives and the pros and cons of blogging. I like blogs as part of a reflection tool in learning.
I have used the course wiki to some extend, but I found the environment not that user friendly with the wiki mark-up, but managed to do what I wanted. It was good to get wiki involved as part of the course encouraging us to use it. It was amazing to look into second life and the virtual world it has generated.
There are different types of Social Networking Platforms and it was interesting to explore these networks. Ning was a new platform that I discovered during the course and it was pretty busy environment for me with too many options available. While exploring these networks, it is very important to also be aware of social networking safety tips.
The main event for the course was the mini conference and a lot of planning was involved in organising this event. The overall experience and reflection of the mini event made me realise the role of an online facilitator and mainly discovering what is available out there for us to use in elearning. The Evaluation of the mini events has got the highlights of what went well and what can be done better next time.
During this course I have certainly learnt a lot of new things, best of all is how to facilitate an online community and what tools to use to do so. It was indeed a very challenging course with full on activities and assignments to complete. I tried my best to keep up with the course schedule, but my time management was also quite a hectic one, I think I should be spent a bit more time exploring things a bit more in depth rather than just discovering them. The course Facilitator Sarah did an excellent job facilitating and motivating us through the semester. I will certainly use a lot of skills I have learnt during this course and will definitely be looking into dimdim for future conference. I would recommend my colleagues to do this course, as they were also impressed to see what I was up to during the semester.
Overall I think it was a very busy course with heaps happening and I really enjoyed learning more in depth about online facilitation.