A discussion sprung up in the POTCERT pre-group on Facebook this morning. Since people often cross post notifications to Facebook or Twitter, where is the conversation actually supposed to happen?
The earliest MOOCs were intentionally centerless. CCK08 even had a cohort in Second Life. There was a blog roll but no aggregator, and it was a given that, even with google reader searches and the like, nobody, including the facilitators, would see everything. The existence of The Daily added a strong curation component to the conversation. On the other hand, since, apart from a handful of for credit participants (I remember Lisa Lane being one of them) there was no standard to meet or not meet, so if something was missed, it wasn’t a big deal.
Starting with I think, ds106, we got near real time aggregation of posts at a central site, which, to a significant extent replaced the active curation of the CCK08 Daily. This, I believe, created a cultural norm of posting to one’s blog notice of artifacts elsewhere. Things became “real” and “official” by being linked to in posts picked up by the aggregator.
There’s also the issue of audience (there’s that word again). Let me use myself as an example.
I use different social networks for different purposes. Until I joined the POTCERT Facebook group. I used Facebook to connect to those I knew socially and Twitter to connect with professional colleagues. My Facebook friends are unlikely to have much interest in what I post for POTCERT. My twitter followers, even those who aren’t participating in POTCERT , might. I imagine I will post to Twitter links to at least some of my POTCERT posts.
Would it be simpler to ask participants to post links to their aggregated blogs/tags for anything they do elsewhere? At least then everything would be discoverable via the aggregator.
I really like your use of the Thorn character in your blog name. Thanks for the fascinating story about the name in your previous post.
A comment about centralized comments: I’m not sure how ds106 does it, centralized commenting is great as long as new comments post on the participant’s blog. It wasn’t that way in Change11 and CMC11. Both used gRSShopper to aggregate posts onto the MOOC’s site and offered a central place for commenting. I found this fragmented the conversations. Some participants would comment within the course site, but those comments would not publish back onto the participant’s blog (unless the blog owner copied and pasted manually – too much trouble). Anyone coming to the blog would not see the comments made within in the course website. And those on the course website would not see comments on the blog URL unless they clicked through several layers of links to get to the blog itself. A way to reliably locate connected information would be great, as long as it is done in a way that does not silo conversations.
The doctrine of how to drink from the firehose may not entirely apply to a sMOOC like potcert, but I’m thinking some of this drive to aggregate everything comes from our fear that we might miss something. I’ve come to see that as unrealistic (as you mention at the beginning), and now rely more on serendipity. Getting distracted by the glitter in twitter is a good way to find diamonds.
Actually, since the aggregated blog is not JUST an aggregated blog but also the location of everything (instructions, syllabus, etc) what we probably should have done (technologically) was have a forum right in the WP blog. Trouble was, last year we already had issues with too much load on the server due to activity, and this would have made it hugely worse. As a result, we decided to use Facebook for external discussion, and a Twitter hashtag. The big concern was that discussion would be pulled from the blogs, where we wanted activity comments and discourse.
One challenge is that the POT Facebook group existed before the class, and now it’s been taken over by it. Still not sure what we should have done here, except perhaps keep it more centralized, since it is NOT a MOOC.