Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Tools

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Aug 01, 2008

Posted to the CCK08 Blog, August 1, 2008.

Thinking aloud about what tools we want to use, drawing from George's post on the weekly activities.

Each week will have a clearly defined topic. The topic will be introduced by a short article or introduction (in this case, a two page description or opinion piece)

OK, I would like to actually distribute these, and not just passively hope that people will visit the website. Thus I would like people to have to option sign up for a mailing list or to sign up for an RSS feed.

The more I think about this, the more I am inclined to want to use my own gRSShopper tool for this. It allows both types of subscriptions. And we will be able to include other content with the mailouts. And I have experience using it with thousands of subscribers. See for more information.

Also: note that George says that each week begins with the clearly defined topic. I actually think we should have a mailout each weekday. More on this below.

or podcast, or whatever. Some weeks both Stephen and I will post an introductory piece, other weeks only one of us will.

I had originally thought I would want to longer talks, but on second thought, posting a one-hour video is probably not very effective. We want people to be able to actually view these, and people mostly won't view a one-hour video.

That said, my intention is to provide content for each week – certainly an introductory piece at the beginning of each week, and likely some follow-ups. I will offer (more or less) the same content through various media, including:

- Slideshare (with slide downloads)

- YouTube or Google Video (with video download)

- Odeo (with audio RSS download, and enclosures in the RSS feed)

- Text, as articles posted somewhere (either here or in gRSShopper)

Links to external resources for additional reading/viewing will be provided weekly as well.

Again, gRSShopper provides this; the format could be similar to OLDaily's (we can adapt the template for this course if we desire).

These links will appear as posts in the daily mailout, as well as the RSS feed, and will be provided by both George and I.

Short podcasts and opinion pieces will be presented – i.e. "Stephen's views" "George's views". Stephen and I share many overlapping views of knowledge and learning. But a few core disagreements exist. We'll try and provide a diversity of thought – complimentary and at times in conflict – for you to consider.

See above.

Discussions will be held in asynchronous forums like blogs, moodle, and wikis. Use of the course code – CCK08 for tagging posts or sharing resources will be helpful.

This is a key point. I don't think it will be helpful to try to provide some sort of common discussion forum or content management system. It would mean that everybody had to learn the system and that they would be constrained by the limits of the system.

We want people to be able to discuss things wherever they feel comfortable. That's why George talks about blogs, Moodles and wikis, and recommends a course code.

We want to encourage people – either as individuals or groups – to establish whatever web presence they want for the course. We can throw up an open wiki or Moodle for people who want that, perhaps. But those will not be the course and we will not favour any locally hosted system.

Basically, what we will be asking is for: people who would like to participate in the course discussion to send us their RSS feed. We will aggregate the RSS feeds and post links and summaries to the daily mailout. Most of this can be done automatically by gRSShopper, organizing discussion around links or topics.

Assignments and activities for participants who have enrolled "for-credit" will be required for completion/reflection on a weekly basis as well. Full assignment details will be provided to all enrolled learners.

Basically, what we're looking at here, I think, is for enrolled students to complete assignments by creating summaries and perspectives on the course discussion. Again, there is no need to create a centralized platform for this; students can use blogs or whatever.

Weekly live lectures and presentations will be held as well. These lectures will likely be delivered in Elluminate.

This will be a challenge as the course enrollment exceeds the Elluminate license by a factor of ten. We may want to reconsider how we conduct live events.

I would like to explore using a set-up similar to that used by Ed Tech talk (or maybe even their actual tools – we could discuss this). They have a lot of experience with the live show and we should draw from that.

They will be recorded for participants who are in different time zones and prefer not to get up in the middle of the night to listen to two Canadians presenting :) .

Also, the Ed Tech Talk recordings don't require proprietary players… :p

We will likely have a series of guest presenters through out the course…more information soon.

What is key to me, I think, is that our interactions during the course be more like conversations than presentations. More like talk radio than National Geographic. The reason for this is that it's more interesting and allows us to integrate diverse voices more easily.

Mind maps of key discussion topics will be co-created with participants at the conclusion of each week.

Not a bad idea, though I am not a mind-map person. George can suggest a technology here…?

That said, I'd like to see other artifacts created by participants. What would really interest me, for example, are photo-slides created by participants and stored as a Flickr group. Like this (there's a better example out there but I can't find it).

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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