Monday, January 11, 2010

My course summary

Reflections on FOC09 learning journey:
The course started with understanding online community. I believe online community consists of groups of people sharing common interest coming together to communicate and share. Blogged on you tube video community and interpreted reading of This that and other of online community by Mark Pesce in my blog post
Second was determining roles of facilitator, moderator and teacher.

Next was finding a example of a online forum in a community. So, yes i identified a travel discussion forum and interviewed a member for her experience.

I found the travel blog network stronger and fascinating. It has scope for increasing and appears to be moderated well too. It was new to know about different blog communities, i initially thought it was on a topic that people like most, but then realised it was a big wide world there wanting to get together and form strong relationship and sense of responsibility too.

Assignment two challenged me and i must say was a bit unsure of what, how and when. I initiated a two week event on blogs as e-tool and learnt a lot from feedback. At the end i reflected on my event and blogged my own evaluation on the event.

After evaluating my asynchronous event, it was time to look at second life and Rashmi melody was born. I must say it took me time to install and understand how to move around but the end got the idea not totally but partially. My post gives a brief of how stimulation aspect in online facilitation could help communication in online communities. At times my computer froze on me, and had to reboot, well it was testing my patience i guess.

Next i reviewed facebook, Linkedin and Ning ,social networking platforms. I have been a member with all these but consider facebook to be a great tool for facilitation.

Wiki Collaborators, although i didnt write a seperate post on wikis, my thoughts are that besides having all the course information and schedule, it also proved effective in organising our mini conference information. Gosh it took me ages to understand how to edit the wiki myself, but once i got the hang of it, it seemed easy.Adding our event information and being able to see other participant’s event schedule and description was so useful.Overall got taste of experiencing collaboration by editing wiki in this course,and not just reading notes in wiki.

Sarah you made sure, students knew what was expected and had access to all resources and support from you. So thank you for guiding us all in the blog world.

It was great participating in everyone’s live events and reading their blogs. I am not sure if i always left comment to blogs, but have tried to voice myself where i thought i could contribute.Maybe i need to do more of this.

I intend of exploring about being a facilitator in wikieducator this year.

Overall it was a joyful roller coaster and have a better understanding of COMMUNITIES ONLINE.

All the best to everybody in their learning journey.

Looking forward to seeing you all.
Meena (SL Rashmi Melody)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Social Networking

Hi all,
We have all heard about social networking sites, the most common ones being twitter, facebook, bebo, orkut.Most of us have heard about atleast one of these, some must have heard about Ning and many must have heard about Linkedin. In this post i will be briefly discussing about Ning,Linkedin and Facebook.Based on my experience and understanding I will be concluding my choice among these.Comments welcome.
I myself was totally unaware of Ning, until one of our course participant Debra Maddocks sent a invite.I found Ning to be more like a blog spot with option of commenting and live updates.The difference between gmail blogger and Ning is the layout of Ning which is so user friendly and you can even have a free account in Ning just like Gmail blogger.However, i dont find it leading its way to being a powerful social networking platform.
I signed in Linkedin ages ago for professional social networking...ummm moreover a place to connect with friends at a professional level, it started with one of my friend asking me to connect with him. I find it to be a great search tool,like search and you will find :-)
Try having a account with facebook and linkedin and google yourself, your linkedin account will be searched first,to look for a person with specific parameters, example if i have a friend xyz working as a oracle dba, if i type his name plus profession and if he has a linked in account it will come up and more the connections you have in linked,the more chances of you to be found.Isnt that great? Besides, LinkedIn Answers boards has more than 2,000,000 answers to a variety of questions for you . The subject matter in both Groups and Answers covers a wide enough of topics that there is value for everyone to be participating. It has some scope, but comes with limitations, as not many will view it as a personal networking, it has a "extremely professional" networking look. Most people perceive that you must have some expertise to share in linkedin with your connections and also a way to market yourself for job.
Among Ning,linkedin and Facebook, i believe its easy to share most of the "information" through facebook. Most of the people i have met feel comfortable around facebook more than Linkedin. I suppose Facebook can be facilitated easily through groups, just recently i became a fan of Facebook in education to know whats happening with relation to facebook as a educational tool,the latest update from this application is
"The University of Cambridge features beautiful campus photography in monthly Facebook photo albums — a great way to spread school spirit and keep fans engaged.".
In this context,facebook's Mini Feed feature is useful in seeing a quick snapshot on the latest happenings within your network,the ability to supply how you know a .This is especially interesting when you and one your contacts know the same person, but through different ways. I quite like the "Publisher" feature of facebook to post information and messages which appear on the user's own Wall, on their friend's Walls, as well as the News Feed on the Home page.In facebook users are able to import blogs from Blogger and other blogging services. Facebook has a micro-blogging feature called "status updates" which allows users to post messages for all their friends to read. Facebook events are a way for members to let friends/other users in group know about upcoming events in their community and to organize social gatherings. Facebook allows different networks and groups to which many users can join. It also allows privacy settings on basis of networks. Groups are used for discussions and events etc. Groups are a way of enabling a number of people to come together online to share information and discuss specific subjects, thereby forming online communities!
I vote for Facebook.
GO Facebook!!!!!!

Second Life-Virtual learning environment

Hey all,
Rashmi Melody is my Second Life human avatar name,sounds good isnt it?
I had absolutely no idea about SL until i found out about it in Facilitating online communities course.There was this email which talked about virtual birthing suite session (unfortunately i missed the session),which was totally new to me, later when i went on to read about it, i wondered ,is it really possible to learn virtually study in a environment created by you like a beach?
After creating my account and installing second life application in my computer, i realised you can do so much virtually, even buy you own house and have a virtual social life.What makes second life different is you can build a car(object) and program it to respond to other people or objects or the virtual world itself and then drive it or race it with others(virtually). This ability to create your own simulated world and interact with it offers some exciting possibilities in educational field such as role playing and interactive simulations.Learning has already extened to our home computers and it is possible to achieve learning self paced though distance.Personally i believe simulation can help learners succeed by adding the interaction element in learning.
Many universities have already developed their private space in second life for education, a real world approach to virtual learning spaces,wow!
Hopefully you find some interest in exploring and discovering more about second life as i did.Although it is free to create account and setup avatar, not all services are free,so you have to take membership to access many of the application, but why not try the basic free features, you will be amazed.
On a final note on Virtuality,watched Avatar in 3D last week, what was real and what was virtual?Worth watch in 3d glasses :-)


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blogging Network

Hi Guys,
Blogosphere in short can be described as tons of interconnected,inter related blogs in the world wide web world.Each blog is centered around bloggers views and interest.Popularity of blogs have given rise to different communities including Afrosphere community of bloggers working towards rights of non-white individuals,Group Blogging (blogs combined by more than one author) , J-Blogosphere (jewish community) to name a few.
So in short it is collective community of blogs by people with common interest.
I facilitated a asynchrononous event on benefits of educational blogging couple in November and got heaps of feedback which helped summarise the purpose along with downsides of blogging as e-learning tool.Read my post on reflections to my blog event.It was a great experience tapping power of blogs to reflect and share.
Still having a travel hangover, so guess blogging communities related to travel are going to be hit again.Since i got response from my Travel Forum which is part of Travel Blog,i decided to continue on the same path and catch up with bloggers who regularly blog in the Travel Blog and have formed a large Travel community.Its free to signup and is fast becoming the worlds leading travel blog webiste by the look of it.It is moderated and facilitated by moderator, so if you publish a post it is subject to approval of the moderator.It gives you a opportunity to act like a travel correspondent sharing your travel experiences and providing advice to travellers in the Travel forum. It is even integrated with Facebook "the social networking site" which is a bonus for people to share their travel blog(unlimited space) to their many friends.I got in tocuh with Jon who has been with Travel Blog for more than a year, he is on a one year travelling journey and finds it easy to update family and friends with this travel-expedition.He seems to be very happy with its structure and its many benefits.

The world is made up of different types of people with different interest, and now those with similar passion can form their own community online, people have the opportunity to communicate ,to benefit by sharing and learning and exploiting the technology like "blogs".WOW!!!

Thats it in this blog now,coming up next Virtual worlds..Come on Rashmi Melody gear up to share your opinion on second life :-)
Meena (SL Rashmi Melody)

Discussion Forums

Hi all,
Happy 2010 to all, i had a great vacation in Australia(hitting 33 deg in Canberra), wow.Happening Sydney,friendly howdy aussies,busy streets and last but not the least the impressive fireworks of Sydney , although my daughter was more impressed with the Koalas and Kanagroos in the zoo .
So back to finishing my blogs,i kind of missed blogging i must say :-)!!!
I heard of forums 8 years ago, but i guess forums used to be strictly business or technical focused those days. Today people are forming social group’s through participation. I wont say, i am a active memeber in any forum, although i have partcipated in forums related to Oracle application many years ago.With time,I have developed interest in travelling to new places although i realise travelling wouldn’t be easy like before with my little one. I have travelled to 7 countries so far with very little advice and knowledge, call it exploration and also ignorance of travellers community log.I decided to join the travel forum in the travel blog, where we have our own space like a diary to record our travel experiences and share photos, it is totally free and so far has unlimited storage for photos, videos and blogs. What interested me about this blog site is, it has a Travel forum,you receive free friendly travel advice from members.You can post replies or questions in this forum , which had so many topics to choose from.Its more than a gluide as it is so interactive.All forums are moderated, however it expects members co-operation in following guidelines.They have strict copyright,and privacy policies.Attempt is made by moderator to maintain a safe and healthy travel community and shares amazing travelling experiences.Interestingly there is also a missing persons post in this forum and the community is all getting together to get leads to the missing persons whereabouts, i mean isn't it amazing?people are no doubt building stronger relationshops online, it is getting bigger by the day as we imagine.
I contacted Mel in TravelForum and here's her response
""""Well, many of my friends and people I encounter cant relate to my passion for travel. Sites such as TravelBlog provide thousands of peers who understand what I am talking about when I mention travel and understand why I love travel. I suppose having peers, who understand the various aspects of our lives is important to some people. It is probably important to a lot of people, if I judge by how popular and busy TravelBlog is.Mel"""
If you visit the weblog forum, you too will realise how big a travel community it is becoming and benefting so many like minded people with interest in travelling .
I plan on a Annapurna range trekking trip to Nepal in few years,sort of a intrepid journey for me, compared to the pampered holidays i had so far.So yeah,will be creating a post as time comes near.CheersMeena