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Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Talk at Atlantic Universities and Colleges Technology Conference

I'm at the AUCTC conference now, speaking about and demonstrating weblogs to technology specialists from universities around Atlantic Canada.

Post-mortem: Surprisingly, my timing was adequate (I usually run short on time). But I should avoid running to a conference I'm giving, it makes me feel more nervous. I suspect I didn't sound as enthusiastic as I really am...

Feedback from the audience related to the issues of inappropriate content (how far should institutional image control go?), intellectual property (do academics really want dissemination?), and the formalization of getting credit for contributions made in the weblog medium (not going to happen anytime soon if you ask me).

I've posted the slides on my presentations page.

What do you think? []  links to this post    1:42:50 PM  
Communities tied to one technology

For the most part, members of online communities usually rely on one dominant communication channel - be it a mailing list, a forum, weblogs, a wiki, or IRC - even when alternate channels would be helpful for certain purposes. Communities like open source development networks and the international, never-sleeping Joi Ito posse, whose members use multiple modes, are the exception rather than the norm.

I've been wondering about the factors that somehow work to inhibit or facilitate the use of multiple communication channels, and the interplay between those channels. Now there's a discussion underway on that topic over at the lively Community Wiki, on the page Community Tied to One Technology. Among the potential explanations that are brought up for sticking to one channel: inertia, lack of technical acumen, the fragmentation/critical mass problem, and the lack of integration between modes.

My hunch is that as the "software that does less, well" pattern and the concomitant "mix and match tools" user philosophy that we've seen develop in social software become dominant, we'll see multiple modes become rather widespread relatively quickly.

(I should point out that the incredibly prolific Dave Pollard touched upon this topic a while ago.)

This post also appears on channel social software

What do you think? []  links to this post    11:24:13 AM  
Open Learning Support

Martin Terre Blanche: Open Learning Support to complement OpenCourseWare from MIT, about Utah State's promising open peer-to-peer learning community initiative complementing OpenCourseWare which launched recently.

David Wiley's paper, Scalability and Sociability in Online Learning Environments, explains (towards the end) the rationale behind the way they're going about building this and is full of, you know, Ideas Whose Time Has Come (but that are still hard to sell). I guess what OLS needs now is a good slashdotting. Have you submitted a link, David?
What do you think? []  links to this post    10:41:50 AM  
More edTech bloggers

Here are a couple Canadian educational technology bloggers that I hadn't yet noticed: Alec Couros (who recently offered this side-by-side descriptions of linklogging systems - linklogging as in furl,, and others); and Rick Schwier. Both are based in Saskatchewan.

What do you think? []  links to this post    10:27:05 AM  
Collective music improvisation and dialogue

Chris Corrigan:
In the traditional Irish session, the players sit in a circle, and call out tunes on the fly, changing from one to another as the tune sets evolve. It never takes long to get to the flow state described above, where small variations in the tune suggest other things.

When the session is really humming there is a chemistry that arises between the musicians. I have often thought of this state as one in which all the individuals in the group take a significant emotional investment in the music and place it outside of themselves, in the middle of the circle, like a glowing ball of energy that we all try to keep aloft.
Sounds like another instance of dialogue, which I've written about a few times already. Here's one thing I haven't mentioned yet. In some of the moments when I have found myself in deep discussion of physics or computer science with others, there was a very similar atmosphere of nondefensiveness and investment in some object of attention existing outside of any participant. I note that it never happened in a large group.

Update: Further, Frank Carver says he sees a parallel to the good role-playing game sessions he's experienced.

What do you think? []  links to this post    9:56:26 AM  

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