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Monday, September 11, 2006

CLC - is there anybody out there?

There's a bit of a discussion going on at the Connected Learning Community blog about the engagement and sustainability of the community. Thanks to both Sean and Mark for some thoughtful posting.

I for one am still hoping that we can get this Connected Learning Community thing going! Where is everybody else? (Jo peers at her very quiet feed reader!! ;-p)

Anyway, having read both sets of posts on this topic, I gotta say.... Before we go crazy setting up a zillion accounts and spaces for the CLC and creating group blogs, I think we need to remember what the original philosophy of the project was about.

From the list on the Project Launch Wikipage the words that stick out for me are Self-organising, Learner-centred & self-directed and Peer-to-peer. The goal that gets me excited is the idea of exploring and modelling the process of creating a network of learners centred around flexible PLEs built using Web 2.0 tools.

I'm concerned that if we start to create announcement lists and email based forums or organise formal synchronous sessions, we are moving away from that idea and resorting to 'Web 1.0' approaches to online community building... which is really not the point if we are looking to explore some of the ideas around networked learning and connectivism.

Maybe this is because the old ways of building online communities are easier? I'm not sure. I do know tho that my inbox is full, and my calendar pretty busy in terms of both online and offline synchronous events. I can't fit in much more email, and I can't facilitate many more events or sessions... and I recognise that many of us who are involved with the CLC are suffering from the same overload.

stuff:ED Graph

My reasons for joining the CLC are about getting to know a community of people via their personalised learning environments - be it a personal blog, wiki, start page, and I want to be able to subscribe to this via some sort of RSS feed. It was not to join another mailing list - I am already a member of lots of those.

I want to be able to engage in the CLC in flexible ways - commenting and adding thoughts on community members personal blogs, responding in my own spaces, using the blogosphere to have a conversation, sharing links and resources via a simple tagging system.

Ultimately, I hope we can show that the kinds of informal networking and learning that many of us are doing with our PLEs really does work. That it can translate to a larger network of learners... that it can work as an effective delivery option for teachers and students, or another other community of practice looking to learn together.

So what should we do?

In my opinion, the key to keeping the CLC going is participation from community members. Mark, Sean or myself can all easily setup all the tools and accounts for the CLC to use, but if nobody else participates, there really is no point.

If the CLC is to be sustainable and interesting, all of us must engage in this process, or it will indeed die - about the same time as the money runs out that there's no one left to manage the zillion sites and services that nobody is responding to!

So, CLC members... I'm putting out a challenge... this is not the time for lurking!
  • Write something about what you did with a Web 2.0 tool this week and tag it in del.icio.us with the 'clcommunity' tag.
  • Create a howto on one of the tools you're already using in your PLE.
  • Add some useful links to the feed if you're not a blogger.
  • Tag a photo of an event or workshop. I'd love to check out what your up to!
Go on.... I double dare you! ;-)