One of the major tools used (and mis-used) in most university-based e-learning is the discussion forum, or mailing list, or some other form of software for managing/creating multi-person dialogue. The PLEs@CQUni project is attempting to figure out and experiment with social media tools as a way to improve existing practice. An obvious need is to identify if, how and with what limitations these tools can be used to manage/create multi-person dialogues of the sort most academic staff associate with discussion forums.
The perceived need for this type of identification is mostly pragmatic. It is based on the observation that the decisions and actions people take are mostly based on patterns formed by previous experience. This is why most e-learning continues to be of the “horseless carriage” type. Being able to show academic staff that a new technology can re-create aspects of previous practice is an important step in getting them to move. This is the first step in the journey. We have to help get them out the door.
The question and assumptions
Chances are that blogs are going to be a major component of a PLE. Some of the more interesting work in this area certainly suggests this. So the modified question for this post and the activity I hope will arise from it is
What are the mechanics, benefits and limitations of using individual blogs to manage a multi-person discussion?
The idea is not to have a single blog on which everyone posts. The idea is to encourage the PLE type assumption where each participant in the discussion has their own blog and uses their blog to make their contribution.
The assumption should be that, if possible, each participant in the conversation can have their own blog on a different provider. i.e. everyone shouldn’t have to get a blog on WordPress.com to engage in the discussion.
This should be a type of action research. We’re not going to talk about it. We’re actually going to try and do it, and learn from the doing. This blog post will serve as the first part of an artifact that will arise out of this process. Those who participate will attempt to use this post as the first part of a conversation, by using their own blog.
Your task is to use whatever blog-based means you like to continue this conversation. The aim of the conversation is to discuss and come to some conclusion about the question listed above.
I will kick the ball rolling by sharing some resources arising from a quick google. A link to it should appear below ASAP.