Friday, July 1, 2011

Treats, Tweets, and Tweaks

What a treat it was to have a conversation with my good friends Bruce Chaloux, Bob Hansen and Witt Salley. Yesterday was the first live panel discussion - we are holding them every Thursday in eduMOOC - and it was fun to pull together good people from different parts of my profession. The recording is available online:

I have known Bob Hansen for the past half dozen years. We worked together on projects in Maine and Illinois; now nationally with the UPCEA. He is perceptive, logical and brilliant. Bob is a great guy with whom to build such things as online programs.

I have known Bruce Chaloux even longer than Bob. Bruce is a scholar and a veteran policy leader. He sees the whole picture. He knows the field from technology to pedagogy to finding solutions when none seem possible, as we did with the Sloan Semester on which we collaborated - the initiative that served thousands of students who had been displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita with online classes offered from other universities around the U.S.

And, Witt Salley, the future of our field, whom I met a couple of years ago at our inaugural Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning (founded by Gary Miller and Larry Ragan of the Penn State World Campus - Larry will join us for one of the panels later this summer). Within moments of meeting Witt you know he has vision, insight, energy, and savvy. He is a leader. It is special to watch him at work carving out our future.

The #edumooc tweets are illuminating. So many good thoughts are out there. Carrie mentioned the debate over knowlege transfer to me today. Does knowledge transfer take place in online (or any other) learning? I am not taking sides on this. But, it is engaging in the discussion itself that is worth more than winning this debate. And, that's part of what MOOCs are all about - questioning, discussing, engaging. Out of that comes better understanding of each other.

We are tweaking again. We have fixed the gadget that will "waterfall" the tweets in a window on the same page as the audio stream. We are wondering if we should suggest a unique tag for the panel? On the one hand, that would help assure that we get only tweets associated with the panel for the event (not having general #edumooc tweets interspersed). But, creating a new tag for each week might dilute the overall aggregation of the #edumooc. (or, are we over-thinking this?) As always comments are welcome.

Our registrations have settled down for now. >2,500. Countries represented: Argentina Australia Austria Belgium Belize Botswana Brazil Bulgaria Burundi Canada Chile China Colombia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominican Republic Ecuador Ethiopia Fiji Finland France Germany Greece Guyana India Indonesia Ireland Israel Italy Japan Kuwait Laos Malaysia Mauritius México Netherlands New Zealand Nigeria Norway Pakistan Philippines Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Samoa Saudi Arabia Scotland South Africa Spain St. Vincent/the Grenadines Sudan Sweden Taiwan Thailand Trinidad/Tobago Turkey UAE Uganda UK Ukraine Venezuela USA Vietnam West Indies

Every time I see the list of countries, I think about the potential for greater understanding that can be nurtured online across continents and cultures.

It is late here on the prairie - nearing midnight. I hope to steal away early in the morning to wet my fishing line in the Sangamon River that winds through our region. Much like the knowledge transfer debate; it is not whether you catch the fish, it is the process of fishing that is the most meaningful.

"See" you online soon.

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