Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wikis and Wood Ticks

It's Saturday, the day I generally reserve for chores (and for feeding the five hungry daily blogs I publish). For the first time in weeks, it wasn't raining when I awoke at 5:30 am. The rain has prevented me from getting out to the few acres I maintain far out on the prairie, an island of woodland and weeds in the sea of corn in central Illinois. I am not too proud to say that I believe my half a dozen acres are the largest producer of wood ticks and poison ivy of any unincorporated entity in the state of Illinois. When I arrived this morning, the weeds were taller than the garden tractor. After doing some mechanical repairs under the mowing deck, I pulled out into the acres of weeds for a slow bumpy four hour journey. Those four hours were spent thinking about eduMOOC.

I am concerned about making it as easy as possible for participants to create study groups, and to connect through social networking such as blogs and Twitter. We have made some progress this week, but it still is nagging at me.

Wayne Mackintosh's suggestion was a great one. He opened his wiki for a study group on OERu. I had already claimed edumooc wikispaces. So, while bouncing along through the weeds I decided to create the beginning of a template for a study group, seed it with a couple of questions and get the word out to the moocers that they could set up their own groups in the edumooc wiki or the edumooc Google Group. Of course any other site one wants to offer is welcome, but these are set up and are open.

Another suggestion from Jason Rhode and Tektrekker among others was that we should be sure to have a prominent place for moocers to share their blogs, Twitter, sites, and interests. We approached this in two ways - for the more experienced users, we opened a edumooc Diigo group; and we created a simple-to-use fill-in-the-blank Google Form that publishes to a web page for everyone. We resolved to review the submissions and publish the page daily. But, not too many people have used it yet. So, I made mention of it in the little video, I added it to the announcments, and I (thanks to Emily's suggestion) added a our little globe icon to the link for the page, hoping that this would draw more attention to it. We have 60-some profiles published as of this late afternoon.

Monday, I will contact the panelists for the first live session on Thursday. All are experienced with Elluminate and with panels. Each of them has done countless speeches and presentations. They are a good group. I had hoped to get some gender balance on this panel, but repeated invitations brought no response. I suppose they wondered whatever a MOOC might be. Sigh. Anyway, I will reinforce the value of using a headset/microphone with each panelist, and we'll go a little check inside Elluminate.

Our registrations now stand at 2,105 - the latest ones from Pakistan, Spain, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Ireland and the US. Amazing.

I picked some wild blackberries growing among the poison ivy this morning - time now to enjoy them while watching the weather channel and the storms rolling in this evening.

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