Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Evaluating my 2 week asynchronous Event on blogs

Evaluating mini event on blogs as effective e-tool
Topic - Blogs as effective Asynchronous e-learning tool
Mode - Asynchronous through Discussion forum
Venue/Interface- Google Blogger
External Links- Link to presentation in You Tube
Interface - Open Source, anyone can post comment.
I advertised my conference details in the course wiki and also emailed blog link in the beginning of the forum to all the Facilitating Online Communities Group and also advertised in facebook to my friends.
Week 1 began with introduction to blog in education and where it fits in the broader context of learning and teaching in learning environment. Focus was not on just implementing blogs in e-learning set up, but its effectiveness in a learning environment whether its face to face delivery or online or blended.

Facilitation was aimed at generating content for participants to sink into the discussion and collaborate individual thoughts, knowledge and experiences.
At the end of Week 1 I summarised the discussions briefly and again sent a reminder to all FOC 09 participants and also notified my friends by email.
Since,everyone in the group was sorting out their mini-conference event, i thought (well I assumed) most of them must have forgotten about my asynchronous event amidst all organising their event.
Week 2 was about discussion around implementing blogs in education. I invited one of the participants from another module Katie Gibbs to share her experience with implementing blogs in her class.

How did it go?
Including mine , it created 40 comments to the post, so i must say the event generated intended outcomes.Everyone gave a valuable and useful contribution, which i summed up in my reflection.
HIGHLIGHT:In its second week, discussion came out to be more robust and alive and we were reflecting critically on use of blogs as a e-tool.

What went well?
The advertisement, the video and the content kicked well. It put everyone is state of equity and convenience; all got the writing space to voice their opinion because of asynchronous nature of the learning event. Unlike in real time where you could miss out on people who take longer to understand and post questions, the 2 week time frame generated lots of enthusiasm and contribution from the participants.

Being asynchronous in nature it overcame the rigidity of a live event where, if someone misses, they miss voicing their opinion, even though they could listen to the recording later.
Also, partcipants had time to digest,reflect and fine tune their thinking before posting.It made possible for all to give personalised feedback on their informal learning achievements like that of Debra,Katie,Roseanne,Satish,Catherine,Krishan,Ajit,Neethika to name a few.
I moderated the blogs, so that i knew who is posting, and that helped me facilate the discussion.I acknowledged all posts and tried to establish link with my content to generate more dialogue for continuing discussion.
The video presentation by my presenter Jagadish Ghimire was very clear,great synchronisation of voice and music with the content.
I must say it was hard to keep track and facilitate for 2 weeks, i had to be watching my blog all days (well not 24/7, but you can say that too).

What went wrong?
The hassle of clicking on link and going to Youtube could have been avoided by embedding the video, rather than the link.Participants could view the presentation but had to come back to blog to comment.This could have created confusion among the partcipants, about posting their thoughts/comments, although my blog clearly requested everybody to have discussion threads under my blog.
The interaction and the collaborative nature of event itself went smooth,however the content/discussions got questioned for its spelling and grammar credibility.So,that was a eye opener.

What did I learn?
I discovered peer-learning with this event and to some extent developed good writing communication skill. I try and re-check my draft, but obviously need to re-read and learn to polish my writing skills in the future.I tried my best to facilitate the event to my ability, and tried to generate rather than create content.

What would I change?
I could have combined the asynchronous activity with a synchronous one, where we get the real time buzz. Agreed about the technical nightmares one can face in a online live environment but hey, it could have enriched the understanding of the topic. We could have achieved the best of both worlds, would have been more effective to have interaction and live question on the topic.
I could have added the video inside my blog ,to void hassle to learners to go forward and come back.

Thanks Sarah for being such a supportive and motivating tutor.I was so lost in the beginning until you rescued me and got me sorted.

Thanks to FOC 09'ers, have learnt a lot from you all.I thoroughly enjoyed all your conferences on various topics.Now, how could you have possibly achieved that at the comfort of your Computer at your convenience and still be learning.

So yes learnt to dive in facilitating communities course(ocean) and came out alive too in the end YAY

P.S:Have to learn to make blogs more interesting and improve writing too in future.

Here's to the never ending journey called "Learning"

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Reflections on 2 week Asynchronous Event on Blogs

In this post i will be reflecting on my 2 week asynchronous event on implementing blogs in e-learning that took place between 16th Nov and 30th Nov 09.
I came across this wiki link on e-learning that i would like to share with readers,it provides overview of e-learning and many more related topics.
My reflections on the event that was:
As part of my mini-conference for Facilitating Online communities’ course, i chose topic e-learning using asynchronous delivery with blogs as an effective learning tool, how successful it can be?
The outcome i wanted to achieve was that Collaborative learning/sharing activities using blog can be implemented as a great teaching and learning method.
Is it collaboration or is it sharing, or is it sharing collaboratively!
Did the two week time frame allow for reflection and collaboration?
“Yes”, it surely did. The content in the blog post with the youtube link on educational blogging surely generated knowledge from our lovely participants. It reflected our personal belief, experience, apprehensions and also our understanding of the complexities of a teaching and learning process.Special thanks to Jagadish Ghimire for his contributions,you set a collaborative tone to the event through your presentation on educational blogging with your youtube link.
Here is my summary of learning outcomes i believed we all achieved collaboratively on implementing blogs as effective tool in e-learning enviroment:
1. Blog as tool to facilitate learning is the excellent way of sharing knowledge.
2. Blogs help you formulate your thoughts and Improves Writing skills.
3. Being asynchronous it gives more time for a reflective thinking as it is the deepest level of learning.
4. As a Free eLearning tool is accessible globally and time is not the factor.
5. Teachers can link the students to the original source of materials for deeper thinking into that subject matter.
6. Blog is a good way for students to collaborate their ideas and reflect on their teaching activities.
7. Blogs are great learning tool to facilitate peer-to-peer learning.
8. It provides a platform for the readers to leave comments in an interactive format.
9. Blogs can be used as a forum for teachers and the students to interact about a particular topic that is being covered.
10. Teachers can facilitate the student learning and encourage self-initiated learning. Teachers can facilitate the student learning and encourage self-initiated learning.
1. Students miss on real life interactions with their teachers as well as their class mates. This could lead to developing poor communication skills as they progress in their life as majority of their interaction is done virtually.
2. Students will only "write" what they have to for an assignment rather than writing to learn or for enjoyment so this could also be a struggle for some!
3. Blogs are time consuming and hard to maintain.
4. In blogosphere, opinions are not rendered and debated at the same time. In a class atmosphere, discussions take place in real time and when the class finishes the teacher is free to do some other task.
5. Chances of discussion being hijacked by another topic or debate is high thereby leaving few queries being left unanswered, which in face to face had yielded real time response.
1. Very useful especially in the age of on demand knowledge base.
2. Any form of learning is good learning, as long as they are learning the right thing.
3. When we look into blogging, particular information is provided, and for further reading, links can be established allowing the learners to go ahead if they want to get further details on that subject matter.
4. We do not “own” information, we can use our facilitation skills to direct learners to these information or resources and they learn from it.
5. Promoting reflective thinking through collaborative tools like blogs prompts learners to understand their own thinking, relate what they have learnt to prior understanding and what they need to know as they explore.
6. You don’t have to be a technical expert to use blog tool as seems to be as easy to use as email so students make a smooth transition. The students do get to visit subject areas and reflect on these and it is great how it creates their journey. They can look back on their learning and see what worked well and what may need to be developed in their own teaching practice.
7. It has high scope of interactivity with the wide world, you are not controlled by time & distance and the reach and access has not only changed the way we think and learn but how we live.
8. In this student-centred educational setting, students discover what it means to be autonomous, spontaneous, creative, and self-disciplined in their efforts to reach their own goals.
9. It takes time to write a meaningful and exciting post which is essential, to entice someone to read the blog. People have limited time due to personal and professional commitments; hence there is a slow decline in blogging.
10. Blogs can be easily and quickly updated, categorized and can help to order the chaotic thoughts and experiences we all have, while learning.
11. In a blogosphere due to its 24/7 “opening time” threads can be posted anytime. This makes it hard for the blog moderator or facilitator to keep track and kindle the discussions. Moreover the moderator or facilitator has to spend more time, at different hours, “looking after” the blog.
12. Educators could update latest course content, assignment submission reminder and links.
13. 'Many educators are already supporting mixed delivery to support self paced learning with live conference/chat sessions. 'Even subjects that are more hands on and perhaps considered as ones to be taught face-to-face only can be successfully adapted for blended delivery.
14. Blogs are time consuming but so is preparing lessons and resources.
15. Downside to using blogs in learning-lack of access to technology:We live in a changing world and more and more people are gaining access to web 2.0 technology.
16. Technology is a tool to be used appropriately to enhance and support learning. It is not a panacea; a poor teacher will not become a great teacher by using technology. A variety of teaching methods and variety in assessment methods should meet the needs of students and encourage learning to take place.
Blogs have come down to 14th place in 2009, unlike last year when they were no 10.2. Educators and learners have already started venturing out of their networks and forming groups through blogs, wikis, twitter, facebook page.


Thats about it in the reflection guys.

Once again big thank you to all partcipants for bringing my blog alive with your positive and critical comments and to all my colleagues in being part of my learning journey.
Feedback welcome for my reflections.
Happy learning everybody and thanks all FOC09'ers for all the support in my learning process.Congratulations to our colleague Rachel for being nominated in the best Student Blog category in edublog awards.

Greetings of the season.
Meena Adhikari
Second Life: Rashmi Melody

Monday, November 16, 2009

Asynchronous event 16th Nov to 30th Nov 09

Electronic learning (e-learning) as we all know is the use of technology that enables learning and teaching online so anytime and anywhere through synchronous(real time) or asynchronous(delayed) delivery .Selection of these methods however would depend on individual learner and of course the subject matter too.

In this context collaborative learning is creating waves in e-learning like:wikis are becoming popular,discussion forums are at large and blogs are also incorporated as online learning tool.These tools help learners overcome feeling of isolation and achieve learning outcome in a synchronous or asynchronous mode of their learning.The use of these various tools offer us opportunity for information sharing,and ease of collaboration.

The other reason of its growth could also be that many tools are free ,easy use and open source nature.Ummm yeah!

Today,as part of my mini conference assignment i choose to facilitate asynchronous event on "Blogs as asynchronous means of online learning".
If effectively implemented blogs like other e-learning tools, can offer a great medium of enhancing learners engagement and enriching their learning experience.
If we go back long ago...beyond technology blog like features existed from before in different forms eg journals that people have created "offline".In our current Facilitating online communities course too, we shared ,read,reflected ,made comments and learnt from one anothers blogs. Here i am looking forward to facilitating his event and achieving outcome on Educational blogging, how it can be achieved.

Jagadish Ghimire my guest speaker is working as a Research Engineer @ Telecom SudParis after completing his Masters in Information Communication Technology from A.I.T Bangkok last year. He has been a blogger for 5 years . He will be following the blog, so if there are any questions for him he is happy to answer.

He has prepared a 8.24 minutes presentation and uploaded in Youtube.He shares valuable insights in his youtube link on educational blogging. He talks about how implementing blog as a tool can help peer to peer sharing, exchanging ideas and how we can have links to many resources to dvelve deeper in the subject.

There is a slide that talks about creating map, i like this point of my guest speaker as its true that we record our thinking, and its also true that, through blogs/journal we capture changes in our thinking....pattern.Dont we all agree??????Although Jagadish doesnt elaborate much on this topic, it is thought provoking.What do you guys reckon?

Having said that there are lots of downside to blogs:they cant be the best modes of discussions for many reasons one being the blog author has more influence in facilitating and moderating blogs. They have full control on the original content.

Jagadish has some critical views on implementing blogs in e-learning like monitoring progress of learners and difficulty maintaining learning flow,we can discuss more on this issue.

So guys what do you all think about using blog as a e-learning tool, how effective it can be and what could be its shortfalls?

Please comment as a thread rather than in the youtube link, so that we can create a threaded discussion and can make conclusions @ the end of the two week open forums.(i mean through comments).The reason i choose gmail-blogger for the discussion is its free, as if you wished to comment directly in youtube you would have needed a account.
Just keeping it simple.
Meena Adhikari

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Facilitator,Moderator and Teacher Role

I work as a facilitator in blended delivery(online and classroom) course and we too face the challenge of making our roles as a facilitator understood as mentioned in the post To Facilitate or to Teach by Leigh.
Facilitating online groups is different to facilitating face to face in self-paced classroom as students learn by sharing with one another and support from facilitator. In the face-to-face setting the facilitator gets chance to clear lot of misunderstandings and understandings , than in a online setting, where it could take days to straighten out.
At this point creating a teaching-learning environment becomes necessary. Its not easy to achieve it and takes time, as students start participating in online discussion forums and get in the e-rhythm. Compared to this, students have the added advantage in face-to-face teaching. Can we say "skillful facilitation is skillful teaching".
Facilitator role is to increase student participation and motivate them by raising curiousity of the course. A good facilitator would offer skills that lead to students learning. As someone in response to Leigh's post talked about Success of online-learning is because you are encouraging and stretching their learning. Facilitator as compared to a moderator catches up with students on their progress and provides student support. I was going slow with blogging , but thanks to Sarah's wake up calls I am on to it. Yes, I agree with Leigh about assuming the role of a teacher, but difficult to adopt and maintain the role of a facilitator, whether its face-to-face or in a online environment.
The facilitators role involves circumstances that enable students to engage with the learning opportunities and construct for themselves their understandings and skills.[1]
A teacher is someone who too enables, helps student learn, by giving them tools and detail explanation (unlike a facilitator). A teacher transfers his/her knowledge,experience with learners. A teacher is a guide,mentor who establishes relationship and understanding to help the student achieve its goals.
A teacher explains how problems are solved and also explains lessons to the students. Students taught in a inspiring way, enjoy learning and are more motivated to succeed. Teacher will undermine the role of a facilitator, when teacher is not able to provide students with opportunities to learn by exploring themselves.
Moderators are users (or employees) of the forum who are granted access to the posts and threads of all members for the purpose of moderating discussion (similar to arbitration) and also keeping the forum clean (neutralising spam and spambots etc). [2]
A Facilitator can also act like a moderator.
In Gilly Salmons Five stage model for e-moderating , each stage requires different levels of interaction,and would require different type of support from moderator (if he/she is also the facilitator). Moderator moderates all activities by facilitators and students. There will be times when students may get side-tracked, moderator may advice facilitator/students about things expected in the forum. Moderator role is also to ensure activities in the forum are engaging and solutions are appropritate to their queries.
Recent studies have shown that the role of the online instructor should not be limited to that of a facilitator. The online instructor also creates a "teaching presence" through appropriate organization of course materials as well as facilitative discourse to guide students toward critical exploration of the content [3].

[3] Anderson, Terry, Liam Rourke, D. Randy Garrison, and Walter Archer (2001). "Assessing Teaching Presence in a Computer Conferencing Context." JALN Volume 5, Issue 2-September.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This,that & other of Online Community

As promised..continuation of online community,Part II
better late than never
This, That and the Other, by Mark Pesce
The videos and the article analyses the impact of hyper connectivity, where crowds turned communities or vice-versa connect to share, or to benefit from being connected to the world wide web.
When i finished school, it wasn’t very common to have a phone connnection, let alone email ids. However with help of social networking sites like batchmates and facebook i managed to get in touch with my school friends who are all over the world. Gosh so much changed over the past 15 years.
One of my mates who i haven’t met for 15 years had a baby girl and he shared the photos to all through facebook wall. It was instant, i feel like i have actually seen the baby, i will eventually see progress of baby through facebook And if/when we meet up it won’t be odd and not many surprised faces, just friendly exciting gestures. It all depends on how we keep going.
That’s the power of connectivity. But it is still us the users who can step forward using/sharing information. Its upto us how we want to further use or share information learnt.
Just like in my case, i may not have wanted to get in touch with my old friends, or may not want to acknowledge someone.
Mark takes us through a roller coaster ride of thousand pictures in this.It was intense, fast and mind boggling in the first instance ,re-reading points clearer.
In this Mark mentions the law of Dunbar’s number, which defines threshold between community and crowd. How many connections can we manage? One of my friend has 530 connections in facebook, i got curious (i haven’t reached 100 yet). I asked her “How she managed to be connected to so many, or does she” guess the answer.
That gives a insight on managing hyper-networked relationships. Crowd sourced knowledge can be shared within a community.
In the other I could relate to the aspect of taking initiative. We have lots of ideas which we keep to ourselves, sometimes share and then go further or do nothing about it. Just like in Marks case, where people expected from his carrier service. Stepping step, or be clear of your intentions. If someone’s creates a community forum i will participate but not going to be a leader. Or take it as an opportunity to learn and lead, maybe you are born with it: p
It’s the same with online communities; users need to be engaged, shown solutions to problems for relationships to be built. Trust can be imbibed and progress made. That would make online community a healthy online community.
Online Communities:- Groups of people communicate online asynchronously and share a sense of belonging among one another. A classic example would be Wikipedia where people share, moderate and learn collaboratively.

Having pondered on points from this, that and other, question arises:
"Does technology have all the answers"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What is an online community-Youtube

About YouTube
YouTube is the world's most popular online video community allowing millions of people to discover, watch and share originally created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small.[1]

Watched the video An anthropological introduction to YouTube - Michael Wesch video presented at the Library of Congress, June 23rd 2008, where he talks about the culture of Youtube and how we connect as a community through it.

Its 55 minutes long but definitely worth the watch, as you gain lots of insights on the power of technology, power of YouTube.
It’s a great video about YouTube, which is becoming the biggest public space in the world.

Here Michael Wesch talks about new forms of communities, technology, expression and identities emerging.

Following are the points noted from his video:
o “88% of YouTube is New and Original Content, Professor Michael Wesch Says”
o Medium of community for YouTube is the platform itself that is the webcamera and screens. It’s asynchronous, which means users are not responding straightway.We also won’t know when,where someone’s going to be watching us.
o Participant observation is the core of the methodology, participants are not only observed but they also participate.
o The advantages of recording and uploading are that the events can be recalled. When something is played for the 1st time its cognition and when replayed 2nd time, it becomes re-cognition, which is deeper level of awareness.
o When a video is watched it’s anonymous. I liked his formula:
Anonymity + physical distance + rare dialogue=freedom to experience without fear or anxiety.
o YouTube offers possibility of connection without constraints. We crave connection to humans without constraints (without feeling the responsibility)
o ”Media do not just distance us, they connect us in many way, and sometimes distance allows us to connect more deeply as a community than ever before”
o Thousands of people all over the world collaborate together, connection here is the key “We are all connected”. Strong community is emerging out of it.

This video highlights the fact that technology is still about people.

Many YouTube’s have gone on to create a strong community on YouTube that extend beyond the screen into physical contexts. There are a growing number of YouTube gatherings worldwide in which Tubers meet one another face-to-face.

YouTube is sort of a necessity in my home now, and the person who uses it the most is my 2.5 month old daughter for her rhymes or cartoons. She waits patiently when its buffering and asks us to wait too “it will come,wait" she says not allowing us to touch the mouse.Ummmmm....ok, just need to be more patient.
The factor that would determine an online community in this context would be:
Users are able to connect share, learn in a asynchronous environment(talking about 100% online).
The ability to replay videos, to gain better re-cognition and re-enforcement.
Participant observation, where the user/learner observes and is being observed, thereby giving the power & responsibility to the same individual. (In the end “all”).
Be able to reach communities worldwide through the common platform which is web camera and the monitor .
Sense of community is reflected in the interaction patterns of the users.

Next on blog looking @ link This, That and the Other, by Mark Pesce

[1] Retrieved 26th Aug 09

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Week 2 Facilitating Online Course

Hi everybody,
Firstly i apologise for coming in picture after 1 week.Took a while to get sorted.
I work as a Computing Faciliator for FreeB community learning department of Manukau Inst of Technology.We offer self paced ,facilitator led free courses in Office 2007.
There is never a dull moment, there is always teaching and learning.Love this experience of interchange and would like to know how to achieve teaching and learning in a e-learning environment.
Heres to my second blog,yay.

E-Padhai Journey-

Hi all,
Thanks for visiting my blog.
My 1st step in the blog world.
My name is Meena Adhikari.
Main reason to blog:
Its part of the e-learning course that i am doing from Manukau Inst of Technology.
another reason to blog:
The only thing that remains when we look back are memories frozen in time.