I started writing this post then came across Wendy Talao’s blog post for Activity 0.3. As well as answering the questions set by the activity, Wendy has also used her blog post to plan her participation for the MOOC which is a great idea. Jim Kerr mentioned doing a participation plan in Wednesday’s webinar, which I thought was a really good way of doing some prep to avoid getting overwhelmed. Set your goals and all that. So I’m going to try and combine the two activities.
A few days on with #ocTEL and I’ve tried a couple of different communication platforms to engage with the course and the other participants. I suppose I’ve stuck to what I know so far. I’ve used WordPress a lot in the past (I used to maintain the blog for the last library I worked at) though I’ve (re)launched this personal blog afresh for #ocTEL. So I suppose that counts as something new-ish, right? I set my profile up on the #ocTEL site and I’ve been using the course reader a bit to find people on Twitter.
I’ve followed a number of participants on Twitter and noticed that I’m picking up followers from the course too, so obviously other people are following the hashtag on Twitter or picking up tweets from the course reader. Twitter has been good for reading people’s blog posts as most people are tweeting when they have posted a new one. I’ve exchanged a couple of tweets with people but no great in-depth conversation as of yet. I’ve been on Twitter since 2009, though I wasn’t a great convert for the first couple of years. I tend to use it more as a news/opinion/links aggregator rather than as a communication medium and that’s mainly the purpose it has served so far on #ocTEL.
I chose the third party blog option for posting my own thoughts, as I got the impression from the course handbook that blogs were the preferred option. I’ve read a lot of blog posts by other participants but only posted a comment on one so far. I think the #ocTEL discussion forum will act as the main platform for discussion to be honest, there’s some really good discussion going on there. I haven’t posted as yet but I will try and do so at some point. I’ve always been a fan of discussion forums, I’ve been a member of a couple of forums related to my interests for years now, and I still think they are the most effective tool for fostering discussion online. Having said that, when I did my online distance PG Dip, participants were encouraged to share their thoughts online on a forum which saw a lot of activity at the beginning of the course, before gradually falling by the wayside (because the forum activity wasn’t assessed, as time went on people stopped posting and focused on the assessed activities).
1. What tools to use
Often: Primarily Twitter and this WordPress blog to post my own thoughts. I should be able to make the webinars as long as they are always at a lunchtime (early evenings are no good for me as I have a bit of a commute and then a 20 month old to see when I get home). I will try and engage in discussion on the forum where I can. I’m going to try and link up with other participants to join a group soon (I’ll probably do this by approaching people via Twitter or on the forum)
Once-off or infrequent: I suppose it depends on the platform chosen by the group I join. I’ve got a G+ account but I’ve never participated in a G+ group. I’d be open to trying any platform really. I’ll probably try and gather interesting tweets on Storify at some point, but probably only a couple of times over the course. I may try using Scoop It! to curate interesting links relating to TEL (though that may be a bit redundant, there’s a ton of good posters on Scoop It! curating links on e-learning, educational technology, etc already).
2. Level of participation: I’m going to try and set 30 minutes aside each weekday for ocTEL. I’ll use this time to read the course content, check the forum and other participants’ blogs. I check Twitter throughout the day so I will keep up with other people’s #ocTEL musings on a pretty regular basis. I’m going to try and write two blog posts a week. I may have to do that at the weekend. If I don’t quite manage that, then I still should have written one :). If I don’t write any that’s a complete failure.
I’m going to stop titling my blog posts as relating strictly to one or another activity. Hopefully my thoughts should address one or more of the Activities for that week, and I may be able to combine some together. I could always use tags on my posts to make it clear to the tutors what points I am addressing. Yep, I’ll do that from now on.