I’ve managed to check out all four pieces from the course wiki – not sure how I managed it though! Here are my thoughts…
Did you know 4.0 (xplanevisualthinking)
Some of the numbers are quite staggering, but I have seen these sorts of figures before. On the face of it, I’d hazard a guess that they’re related in some way to Moore’s Law. (Health warning – I’ve done no analysis to support this assertion.) I know that for it’s original domain, Moore’s Law still holds, and if anything the curve is getting slightly steeper – even though we really are getting close to some of the physical limits on microchips. I’ve also heard that other computer related hardware also follows Moore’s Law. As the numbers in Did you know 4.0 are about consumer computer electronics ownership (e.g. mobile phones) or about software services that are underpinned by computer hardware, it feels like a reasonable hypothesis that these would follow an exponential increase.
On the newspaper front, it will be interesting to see what happens in the UK, where The Times has introduced a paid model for access to its content online. Is News Corporation doing this in other countries?
On a light-hearted note, did anyone watch the spoof Did you know 5.0 that got highlighted as a suggestion by YouTube when I watched 4.0? Quite entertaining – and perhaps brings those of us who get a bit too much into our technology down to earth a bit. IT is not real life!
Last of all for Did you know 4.0, if I only took one thing away it’s the predicted move to mobile access to the web. What does that mean for online facilitation and online learning. Matt Blackstock’s trying it out on this course, so I wonder if he has any thoughts on this particular future yet.
Communities, networks and what sits in between (Nancy White)
Some interesting thoughts about the differences between communities and networks. Communities are more tightly bound than networks, and the sorts of things one might do are more constrained in the former than the latter. I liked Nancy’s example of the chocolate network to explain networks and how one does not have to give up something of the “me” to join a network.
I wasn’t sure what White meant by the spaces between Communities and Networks. I can’t, immediately, work out what sorts of groups might inhabit that space. I’ll have to do some more thinking about the two sets of characteristics and see if I can imagine an in-between set. There was an interesting post by Lawrence Liu about adding “Teams” to this area of study – thus “Networks vs. Communities (vs. Teams)”. Unfortunately, none of Liu’s URLs seem valid so I couldn’t explore his thinking any more deeply than the brief comment to White’s page:
Essentially, networks consist of individuals, who have potential ties with others. Communities consist of loosely connected groups of people, who have weak ties (e.g. common interest) with each other. And teams consist of tightly connected groups of people, who have strong ties (e.g. common objective) with each other.
In the end, I think White’s video gives us some useful behaviours and characteristics to think about, but I don’t think we should get hung up about “correctly” categorising a particular group. The insights will probably be helpful as we see how members in a group we’re facilitating (and indeed the group itself) behave, so we are better prepared for what arises. A particular label for a (type of) group is useful shorthand especially when discussing that group with others – but that’s about as far as it needs to be taken, IMHO.
Building Online Communities (chromatic)
There are what seem to be good principles in this piece. I say “seem to be” as I haven’t yet tried to build an online community yet. The things that stood out for me were:
- thinking about the role of the leader/moderator
- tests for a healthy community
- how the types of usage/membership follow a bell curve
- the pros and cons of setting barriers to entry (e.g. allowing or forbidding anonymous posting)
- having rules – and being consistent in how you apply them, and having them ready before you need them.
The piece is dated from a technological standpoint, but in my opinion its fundamental assertions are valid for any online context and stand the test of time.
Seven key skills of workshop facilitation (Jan Delmas)
I like the seven skills Delmas has chosen to describe, and I especially like “trust the group” and the fact that this is the last of the seven to be stated. The summary is good too. I have to say I was a bit concerned when early in the video Delmas talks about putting your own spin on a workshop as a facilitator. This feels inappropriate to me. Delmas used the analogy of a conductor for a facilitator, which is good in terms of bringing out the members of the workshop but still, in my opinion, risks the facilitator contributing. I like the analogy of a catalyst, betraying that my first degree was in chemistry. A catalyst changes the rate of a reaction but remains unchanged itself.
If I only had one takeaway from this video, it would be that the group cares about the “what”, but not the “how”. That’s the facilitator’s job.
That’s about it for now. I’ll need to do a bit more thinking to see if there’s something to be drawn together from these four resources – and to check out some of the other participants’ blogs for their thoughts. Goodnight all.