Should teaching/learning be this fun? Heck yeah. Yesterday, my blog brothers Jim “Click” Groom and Howard “Embed” Rheingold launched the first live session for Connected Courses and open connected course about teaching open connected courses (see recursion).
The first two week segment we, the Connected Brothers, are running is the “Pre-course” meant to onboard people, to have them set up their blog space and connect it to the course hub, but mainly to have them just start connecting.
And they have- the twitter channel is lively, and we have as of right now, 104 blogs connected in. I have to say, this round of getting the blog signup pumped into Feed WordPress is getting a much higher success rate than my earlier efforts. It still takes some manual banging on the pipes, but its going smoothly. Of course all the known kids are snortling about the way grandpa syndicates, but hey, we go it flowing.
We discussed in the video, but is worth repeating- the WordPress / FeedWordPress Syndication hub approach we are use in ds106 and on Connected Courses and I have been building in other places is just one means to create a connected courses structure. Other ways this has been done:
- The original Canadian MOOC style (cMOOC) of CCK08 onward using Stephen Downse’s gRSSHopper
- The far reaching success of Jonathan Worth’s PicBod and Phonar courses has really simple interaction via WordPress blogs and using the comments as the communication channel (later using a Google+ community)
- Lisa M Lane has used almost every platform for the Program For Online Teaching course including WordPress, Google Sites, and Google+ (I think, correct me Lisa?)
- FemTechNet is truly a network across multiple platforms, from blog sites to Google+ to Facebook groups
It’s not the platform that matters, it’s the connected design.
Our theme of Blog Talk, we played with a bit of shtick as a knock off of NPR’s show Car Talk:
And my brothers played it up well, mostly staying in character. While it looked like we were having fun, there is something important about the “liveness” of an event like that, what Jim sometimes called “eventness” that you lose when your online course is based on prepared videos. It does not truly replace the live nature of an engaged class discussion, you do not have all of the body language clues, but you can create some of that energy through a tool like Google Hangouts and a twitter back channel.
We come back on September 12 at 2pm Pacific, and will talk more about blogging, domains, and if anyone want to drive their blog in the garage, we will give it the 10 point inspection (free!).
As included in the end of the show, we give staff credits (again, imitation=highest form of flattery, ok NPR?)
- Graphic Critic- Phyllis Steen
- Personality Coach – Luke Warm
- Printing – Dot Matrix
- Strategic Planning – Kaye Sera
- Howard’s Wardrobe – Lotty Rheinstone
- Code Genius – Gene Hackman
- Translation Services – Somtin Wong
And do not forget- don’t blog like my brother!
See youse next week,
Yup, I think at one point POT Cert was using tin cans and string…
It’s been great watching POT Cert shape shift, grow, add. test features. etc from the beginning. Lisa models what can be done with apps and free platforms at hand.
Laura Gibbs at OU is another. Although her online courses are small, content is open. This year she re-tooled her homemade course platform, compiled her own un-textbook and found new uses Ino reader features — all blogged http://oudigitools.blogspot.com.
Recently, as part of OU’s Domain of One’d Own, Laura started a new blog, Anatomy of an Online Course, http://anatomy.lauragibbs.net/
As someone who has done farm/ranch work, repaired busted you-name-it, (and driven a lot of junkers), I stand in awe of their inventive duct tape engineering. Just following both of them is a course in how to build an online course with whatever is free and at hand.
Thanks for reminding me of Laura’s work with inoreader, I totally meant to include that as another model
I do hope to learn more about feed aggregation during this course, even though I’m not much of a coder, Im willing to learn…
Hi Roland- I’ve done now maybe 7 sites as aggregation hubs using WordPress. You will find the writeups at http://cogdogblog.com/tag/syndication
This again is not the only route. It is really easy to create a hosted hub with a service like Netvibes, which has a way of creating a dashboard for a lot of things. A new option on the scene that Laura Gibbs has been demonstrating well is Inoreader, a new feed reader that seems to have picked up the features the Google abandoned in its own (dead) Reader [moment of silence, damn you Google, damn you].
Count me in for the huge connected brothers fan club.
Now that I’ve connected my blog and am part of connected courses in action, I finally get what this “domain of one’s own” fuss is about that you guys have been ranting about. I got in in theory but now I really get it. Yeah, yeah, I know – experiential learning and all that. I love how the blog syndication process enacts through the tech integration the social and learning theory that we are all about. Meeting people where they are, building networks effects, peer-to-peer learning, emergent reputation etc etc. It makes my anthropologist of technology heart go pitter patter.
So one question I have is about the attention management and segmentation as this thing starts to scale up. Given that this is all feeding into one twitter hashtag and one aggregated blog feed that’s becoming a bit of a firehose, what are strategies for managing attention? I see that there are some categories attached to the feed (thanks @corousa) based on participants, facilitators and organizers.
Any tech tips for the equivalent of filtering, tagging, up voting, following etc? Help me tune my feed Link!
Thanks Mimi- your Connected Brothers Fan Kit should be in the mail. Just be careful with the grease gun.
It does seem one of those many things that does not really make itself meaningful in the talk and writing about it, but experiencing it directly. That said, it gets messy and uncontainable.
Some strategies I can suggest, but also keep in mind they might not apply across the board of all kinds of connected courses:
But there is something I forgot to add to the site that I will do today- a link that generates an OPML file for all syndicated sites. This is a file format that is an index of all feeds. This can be imported into an RSS Reader so the feeds are collected at the group level (all syndicated blogs) but are also broken down by source, so it allows me to scan, say all posts by Mia Zamora or Kevin Hodgson). So when I am teaching ds106, I make a feed collection of just my student blogs. The reader allows me quickly to see what is new, who posted it, and I can scan posts. For ones I want to comment, I can click on to do that (As an aside, one benefit of having students use wordpress is you can also subscribe to the comments on a student blog. I built an entire site to aggregate comments on the VCU Thoughtvectors site http://vcureader.wpengine.com/ (a limit on blogs, other platforms do not provide RSS feeds for comments on a blog).
So there are some technical approaches we can try, I would not say all will work for all courses. I generally see mine as those airplanes built as you fly them, whereas your commercial MOOCs are usually pre-built models. But the key is accepting that the participants themselves will help in doing the reading, commenting, and messy curating.
It takes a lot to give up that responsibility of monitoring everything, but it can set you free of Keeping Up Anxiety.
This is unbelievably helpful. Maybe you need to consider a call-in format for blog talk to take on these thornier tune up problems for people just starting to look under the hood.
This advice reminds me of what my buddies told me when I was about to attend my first SXSW. Common advice was to not overschedule or try to do a lot of advance planning to meet people, but to just crowd surf and trust in the power of serendipity in an already-curated crowd. It was the best advice I had, but one that was not part of my natural disposition as someone who prides myself on a very disciplined approach to managing attention and time.
Maybe to the degree that the ccourses facilitators have time we can start to edit a greatest hits reel. I would put this comment of yours, and Alec’s tips forward as a candidate for elevating as “sticky” content on our site somehow… I am guessing I’m not the only one who is going to struggle with these issues.