Monday, August 16, 2010

Saturday 14th August session with Nancy White

Following Saturdays Elluminate meeting my head was still spinning. I finally get the difference between a community (group) and a network. I think it was the visual provided by Nancy White that assisted me in comprehending the potential enormity of a network whereas a community or bounded group, as Nancy referred to them, have a common goal or a shared purpose. There is also the 'in between' which occurs when a group "outgrows itself" or "when a community develops out of a network".
The session allowed us all to practise/play in the role of Elluminate staff member or facilitator with all privileges. The idea of facilitating an Elluminate session is now one little bit less scary. As a result of our play we moved into discussing the role of facilitator and handing over control, Nancy got us thinking about how we would manage a large group of 200 in Elluminate, at which point some of us passed out (jokes). Something to consider perhaps for the distant future.

We also discussed summarising which I found really interesting and Nancy provided a reference to the work of Jerry Michalski's Yi-tan call, which is a great example of verbal summary, boy can that guy talk fast. Listening to his summary made me think about the differences between verbal & written summaries, there seems to be allowances for personal nuances in dialogue, in Jerry's case he often says "jumped in"..."Chris jumped in and talked about..." to indicate who spoke and what they talked about. These personal nuances of speech are yet another example of the facilitator/presenter expressing their individuality or their humanity to allow people to connect, how is this done in written form? I propose that it is harder to write with individuality, I might keep a look out for blog posts that achieve this sense of the presenter's individuality.
Rayna provides an open and honest account of what she experiences, this makes her blog easy to read & refreshing.
Is it easier to summarise verbally by re-reading ones notes from a session, this would be an interesting experiment for me to complete. Nancy suggested that it is interesting to compare summaries with those of another listener to see different perspectives that result from the same session.
Nancy gave us another reference during the session to the work of June Holley. June conveys some very interesting thoughts about networks. Always more to think about.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Online identity

Online identity is a topic that I have been considering since I have started blogging again.
How much of me do I give away, in my endeavour to build an online identity?

It was unfortunate that the guest speaker could not attend this weeks group Elluminate session however I think that the topic selected was very relevant to thoughts and reflections of many of the course participants over the last few weeks. Another great example of a facilitator(s) thinking on their feet.

Blogging - When I initially considered this course I read Sarah's blog and was inspired to divulge the personal side of me to allow others (those who would participate in the course-FO2010) to make a human connection. I warmed to Sarah when I was able to see her smiling face in her photo, understand a little about her personal/family circumstances and understand her professional persona.
Online appearance was a consideration when I created a new blog. Do I differentiate my FO2010 blog by loading a new look photo. In the end the decision was made because I could not spend another moment fiddling with my new blog, I just loaded the same old photo that I have used on FB. I find that by using a photoshopped image of myself I avoid the cringing everytime I log on. I did not want a Second Life avatar, mainly because I do not have one as yet, but also I feel that this is a false impression of who I really am, to me it seems like it is a 'facade' of who you want to be. Perhaps this is an indication that I need to play around in SL to gain a more thorough understanding.

Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and a multitude of others have become commonplace in recent years. These sites allow connections to be made in cyberspace, but they still allow very human connections. I still see FB as a place where I can catch up with friends, at the commencement of FO2010 I did not understand how this could be used as a platform for communication in a course with strangers spread across the world. Now it is clear that the connections and friendships made online, are just as 'real' as the connections made face to face. My Twitter experience left a bad taste in my mouth, when I initially discovered Twitter I expected a network where people could make professional connections. I am not sure where this initial impression came from however I was soon dissapointed as I found that I was still getting updates about the cheese sandwich that someone had eaten for lunch. I expect that now might againbe a good time to dabble in Twitter again, it seems like it will be around for a while.

As an online facilitator there are many goals that I have, one of which is to give a little of myself to allow learners to 'connect' with me on a personal/human level. I find that by watching & learning from others I am adding to my list of Do and Don'ts. One factor which I find very endearing is Sarah's use of 'funny phrases' that really give an insight into who she is..."other days it all turns to custard". I believe that Sarah's intention, as she discussed in the session, to allow her online persona to be 'honest' to who she really is allows me to 'connect' with her.

I am now wondering how my style as a facilitator will be modified to an online environment. How will I use humor and convey my personal stories. Always more to think about.
Image is a shot from my recent trip to Queenstown...ahh the serenity!