Rose's Study Blog

December 2, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — rosannew @ 3:49 pm

I just came across this blog in my travels. It talks about wordpress and how it is being used in an educational environment.


December 1, 2009

FOC90 Course Summary

Filed under: Uncategorized — rosannew @ 6:05 pm

This blog is a summary of the Facilitating Online course.  So let’s start at the beginning.

Online community

This was my summary of what an online community is at the beginning of the course.  An online community should be fresh so that whatever is happening is recent and current. It also needs to be active with people using it and interacting in it. Finally it needs to be relevant as people usually  have strong reasons for becoming involved in a community.

I still think this is true but it is much more than this. An online community is a meeting of the minds and acts like a support group. Sharing experiences and feelings and supporting each other has been a big part of my experience on this course.

Facilitating, moderating, or teaching

I came to the conclusion that these three roles often overlap but it appears more common for the teacher/faciltator roles to overlap than the moderator role.  Often it falls on one person to do all three but this is not really good practise.  It seems quite common for a  teacher to also be a facilitator when it comes to online and F2F learning. I feel that fitting the facilitator into the teaching model doesn’t always work that well.   Obviously when setting up a course personality and experience would have to be considered regarding the two roles and the depth of experience they have when working together.

Discussion forums

Discussion forum – Trip Advisor

I love Trip Advisor and always use their site when I am travelling. I had never visited their foum pages though so I really enjoyed discovering this side of Trip Advisor.  Their forums are not highly facilitated mainly because of the type of site that it is. The facilitation that occurs is by the users rather than by actual staff members who act as moderators. An interesting aspect to this forum is that Social networking (Twitter, My Space) is run alongside this forum.

Blog networks

I was quite blown away with the depth and the variety of the blogging communites.  Mormon Moms and Jewish communities!  Blogging communities appear to exist because there is a strong feeling of something that is shared or that people have in common that is very important to them. This is so  important to them that they want to connect with other like minded people and share their thoughts, feelings, views and opinions with them.

Wiki collaborators

My plan was to run my online conference on DimDim with Anton Pienaar as my guest speaker. I toyed with the idea of going to Skype but went back to DimDim as Skype only hosts 5 people. Anton and I were interested in exploring how learning can occur in forums and I was  planning a session along those lines. My meeting actually developed into a session on personal learning networks inspired by Joyce Seitzinger.

Virtual Worlds

I made a list on my blog of what I think you should consider when facillitating in second life. I would love others to comment on this, add or edit my list as I am talking from a purely theoretical point of view.  At this stage I feel facilitating in second life is beyond my capabilities. To read my list go to:

Social networking platforms

My favourite Social networking platform is Facebook. Partly because I am more familiar with it but also because I find it easy to use.  It is a great way to connect with people online. As far as facilitating facebook, it doesn’t really need it.   I think keeping a close eye on your page and what people post to your wall is important, so maybe it is something you moderate rather than facilitate.

Reflecting on the different kinds of online communities

Because of this course I now have a blog. This is great for me because I love to write. I have joined Twitter and renewed my aquaintance with Ning and Facebook. I have Skype and DimDim which I really like.  I have also used various types of meeting rooms and have been impressed with the amount of effective tools that are availble free of charge. I  now feel inspired to source my own PLN and use the networking tools that are all around me.

Facilitate an event for the course mini conference

Well I nearly spat the dummy when it came to facilitating my own meeting but Sarah was very encouraging! (so I appreciate that Sarah). It is much harder to actually do something than just read about it. I was also encouraged by my presenter Anton Pienaar who I felt did a great job.  All in all this was a great experience and I would certainly do many things differently if I did it again. Here is the link to the plan for my meeting:

And mycomments directly after the meeting :

Evaluate the facilitation of an online event

I learnt two huge lessions from running this online meeting.

1. Even when you think you are prepared you probably aren’t. If your gut is telling you something is wrong (and your tutor confirms it) then you should pay more attention.

2. Make sure you have your contact details available so people can contact you if they can’t get into the meeting. On the night my email wasn’t working, which didn’t help, but no excuses. Contact details would have made a big difference.

Feedback to the course

This course was the most challenging thing I have done in a long time. My biggest regret is that I didn’t throw myself into it more. I think I was a bit intimidated by the whole thing. I don’t know if there may be an easire way to ease people into the course. It did feel like I was thrown into the deep end.

Did you learn new and useful things?

I learnt so much doing this course. I can find technology a bit intimidating but the meeting rooms were so easy to use and I actually enjoyed blogging. The blogging is pretty hard though as I felt I was talking to myself most of the time. Still it is a great record of my course.

Was it challenging enough?

If anything it was too challenging. I felt like I went from my comfort zone to my panic zone in one step. Throwing people in the deep end is one way to do things but is there some way you could ease people into the course?  Maybe set up a pre-course blog that you have to contribute to. Also maybe you could  schedule some non course specific meetings around an interesting/entertaining theme that people could attend to give them an idea of what they may be in for with the course.  With second life a pre meeting showing you how to navigate around second life with your avatar could also be useful.

Did the course facilitator do a good job?

I thnik sarah was a fantastic facilitator. She kept in touch but it still felt pretty hands off. She made it very clear what was expected from us each week and she was very approchable. Her feedback on my blog postings was appreciated due to the feeling of talking to myself.

How will you apply what you have learned?

I actually feel quite inspired by this course and wish I had attended more meetings especially at the beginning. I plan to apply what I have learnt by establishing my own PLN. I have already recommended DimDim to a corporate client. Also I quite like the role of facilitator and think this is something I would enjoy doing. So I may look for a role like this sometime in the near future.

 Who would you recommend to do this course next time?

I actually would recommed this course to some of my staff as these online networking tools are definitely the way of the future. I work with a team of writers and I think it would be a great exercise for them to run their own blogs and for the team to comment on each other’s blog. I actually think it could be a really good team building exercise.

Generally I have found that this course has boosted my confidence in my job, made me more aware of online communication technologies and less intimidated by them.  I have connected with people in a positive way and I find people are generally polite, helpful and encouraging when you meet them online.

Go the team for FOC09!

November 23, 2009

Analysis of online meeting FOC09

Filed under: Uncategorized — rosannew @ 4:53 pm

I am going to critique my own meeting as there is a lot that I learnt from that meeting. Especially some of the basics that I overlooked. It also seems easier to criticise yourself rather than others.

Online meeting report – Personal Learning Networks

How the event was organised and promoted – adequate information, support (technical and access), relevant for the audience.

The event was well planned on the content side and was well advertised to everyone through the course wiki, my blog and the google email group. The content of the meeting (PLN) was relevant to the course and people were interested in the topic. The meeting had a lot of interest and there was a good question and answer sessions as well as many comments made on the DimDim meeting functionality itself.

There was a major issue with access though. The link I supplied for the meeting didn’t work so people couldn’t get into the meeting. I ran the meeting from home and the email address I had supplied to everyone was a work address so nobody could find me when they couldn’t get into the meeting. I tried emailing everyone through the google group email but my email wasn’t working so Anton had to do this for me. I had to give Anton Sarah’s email so she knew where the meeting was. Sarah then contacted people on my behalf. I should have had this side of things covered as the facilitator. I also looked up emails on the wiki and gave these to Anton as well to try and contact people with.

Whether the event was managed and conducted smoothly – particularly noting the way the facilitator handled any disruptions.

There was a fiasco in getting into the meeting which I have already commented on. Once started though the event went fairly smoothly. The presentation had been well planned and having an experienced presenter helped as well.

Did the facilitator make efforts to ensure that all participants knew where they were supposed to be and when, and arrange technical support for people?

My findings on how DimDim works had had been posted on my blog but I hadn’t really advertised this much. I really should have explained to everyone at the beginning of the meeting that only three people could use audio and the rest would have to use the chat facility. The presenter did explain this a couple of times but it should have been me. A back up plan for getting people into the meeting was obviously lacking. I needed to have a back up to contact people if they weren’t able to get into the meeting room. I actually think that using a mobile phone and sending text messages would be a good back up here as I don’t have Skype. Those on dial up had problems which I couldn’t really do anything about. The video clips used up some participants bandwidth which I hadn’t anticipated.

The way the facilitator set the stage, made introductions, explained the aims, and whether he/she managed to remain neutral and facilitory.

As a facilitator I was very much in the background during the meeting. I made initial introductions but I forgot to introduce the topic itself. People were welcomed to the meeting as they arrived through the chat facility. The presenter was introduced with an explanation of his background. Some preparatory work had been asked for so if attendees had read Joyce Seitzinger’s blog they would have known the aim of the session. I do believe I was neutral and facilitatory but Anton the presenter basically ran the session.

Whether the facilitator did a round up, drew closure and indicated where recordings and other follow up materials would be made available.

The meeting was rounded up well and I indicated that an audio and chat transcript would be emailed out to participants. I should have mentioned that they would be on the course wiki as well. These weren’t sent out until the Friday (two days after the meeting) and the course wiki was updated on the Monday.

General comments and additions..

A big learning curve for me regarding the access, technical and contact issues. I think I concentrated too much on the content of the meeting and overlooked the technical aspects. I knew I was having problems with the link for the meeting but I couldn’t work out what was going wrong. In the end, Anton and I decided that DimDim did not recognise the group email addresses so people need to be aware of this if they are planning on using DimDim for group meetings.

If I had spent more time attending the online meetings in the course, and been more involved in my learning, I believe I would have run a better session. I am thinking about repeating the course next year, for my own professional development.

November 21, 2009

Summary of blogging so far FOC09

Filed under: Uncategorized — rosannew @ 2:25 pm

My conclusion regarding the course so far is that you have to get involved. I’m one of these people who sit on the outskirts of things and try to do it all myself. I read postings and feel very exposed when I make comments or add something to someone’s blog. I feel exposed now!
Anyway I now plan to make this my professional blog. I will rename it after the course and I will start blogging. Because of this course I now have a blog, I have joined twitter and renewed my aquaintance with Ning and Facebook. I still prefer Facebook over Ning. I am going to follow Joyce Seitzinger’s blog and the one recommended by Anton in my online meeting George Siemens. I know this is only a small beginning but I do now feel inspired to source my own PLN and use the networking tools that are all around me.

Second Life FOC09

Filed under: Uncategorized — rosannew @ 12:44 pm

I am just catching up on my blogging from the course. One of the tasks was to think about how you would facilitate in Second Life. I missed the tour with Sarah but did explore on my own. It would have been beneficial for me to have done the tour with Sarah as Second Life is huge and a bit intimidating to a new user.

Anyway I have listed what I think you would have to consider when facilitating in Second life:
1. Make sure everyone downloads the second life software before the meeting. Make people aware that this will take up their bandwidth and low bandwidth users may have some functionality problems when using Second Life.
2. Ensure everyone has or creates an avatar. I like how Sarah asked people to add their second life name to the course participants list before the meeting. She could see at a glance who had an avatar and meant to attend the meeting.
3. Make it easy to reach the meeting location in second life. Its easy to get lost there.
4. Be aware of the distraction of the avatar. There is a lot for a new avatar user to get used to. This could detract from the meeting if this is what the meeting attendee focuses on.
5. Keep the meeting size under control. Sarah talked about hosting a meeting with 35 people and she wasn’t quite prepared for the size of that meeting. Either keep the meeting to manageable numbers or have someone else there to help you facilitate a larger group.
6. Remember in Second Life you have to physically show people around so (ironically) you may need to think of how you would run a face to face meeting and apply some of these principles.

It would be great if people in the group could add to or comment on this list.


November 16, 2009

Aftermath of the meeting.Foc09…..

Filed under: Uncategorized — rosannew @ 8:25 pm

I wish to share my experience with my online meeting. Firstly, thank you to everyone for showing up and persisting with getting into the meeting room. The support was fantastic and I am going to do my best to get to everyone else’s meeting and give the same support to them.

Secondly I would like to thank Anton and Sarah for holding the meeting together. Both Anton and I had hosted various meetings to each other to test the meeting invite system and they had worked. However on the day things didn’t go so well. I’m still not sure what happened and Sarah did warn me that the link wasn’t working. Anton and I had experimented with this and thought it only activated when the meeting began. It may have something to do with my Mac? I’m not sure.

Generally it was actually great fun and I am impressed with how on to it people are in our group and the way everyone is so interested in the topic of PLNs that we discussed. Thank you everyone for attending and I now feel inspired to Blog and start developing my own PLN (which is sadly lacking).

November 12, 2009

Online Meeting FOC09

Filed under: Uncategorized — rosannew @ 3:13 pm

I am hosting my online meeting on Tuesday at 8pm using DimDim. I have really enjoyed experimenting with DimDim and find it very user friendly. It ends out automatic invites, you can share your computer screen and link to a website. It allows up to 3 audio only though, so people coming to my meeting will have to use the chat function instead. It also allows for a webcam to be used. The recording of the sessions is clear and you also get a transcript of the chat sessions. I am not planning to use the webcam for the meeting. Oh the other thing you can do when you are hosting the meeting is hand over control to anyone else in the meeting and then take it back whenever you want. It also has a function where the peron hosting the meeting sends an email to invited people saying the meeting has started. All in all, I quite like DimDim.
Here are my meeting details:
Title: Discover your personal learning network
Date: Tuesday 17th November 8pm NZ – world times here
Duration: 40 mins
Facilitators: Rosanne Wilson (
Presenter: Anton Pienaar is a Senior Instructional Designer at e-Blended Learning Solutions (e-BLS) in New Plymouth. He has been involved internationally in the design and implementation of learning, teaching and assessment online. He holds an MA in Higher Education with a specialisation in E-learning in Higher Education and Learning Management Systems. He is a passionate teacher, having taught from high school level to post-graduate level. Anton has presented at several international conferences and is specifically researching the phenomenon of asynchronous communication online and its real influence on learning.
Venue: *DimDim
Description: We will be discussing personal learning networks and what they are. You will discover (if you haven’t already) your own PLN. To prepare for this meeting please look at Joyce seitzinger’s blog *[6]. She discusses PLNs on her blog. She also did an excellent presentation at eFest on PLNs as well. When you enter the DimDim meeting room can you please use your first name as an identifier. Please also make sure your audio is functioning. Finally, there will be a small incentive prize for the person with the best participation in the meeting.
Back up plan: A second meeting will be held on Thursday 19th November 8.30pm ONLY if the session fails.

Click here to view Recording

Click here to view Chat Transcript

November 7, 2009

FOC09 Social Networks

Filed under: Uncategorized — rosannew @ 3:36 pm

Well I have a facebook page which I usually hardly ever use but I can see how facebook can work well as a networking opportunity. A south african from work, and his wife, use it to get in touch with friends and family in South Africa. They use it on a daily basis. For myself, It doesn’t work so well as my friends that I would like to contact on it, aren’t on it! Frankly, I find email works just as well for me but this may just be habit rather than anything else. LinkedIn I have tried to access a couple of times before and seem to get tied up in some red tape and never actually get onto the network. I have unwittingly used Ning for the eFest conference. As far as these all go, I actually like Facebook. I was interested in Herve’s comments about security in these sites though. How big is the risk, and in comparison to using other social networking tools, are some more secure than others? I would hate my information to be stolen and used against me. How likely is this to happen? I would never, for instance, give my password in response to an email request as I has happened on Facebook recently. Is it more that people just don’t think about security issues when they are using them, that makes these sites more vulnerable? I know my husband is quite paranoid about security issus, but I am more blase. This may be due to usually networking at work, where my stuff is more protected (I think, or is it?)

Anyway, I decided to make full use of my Facebook page for a week to see what happened. I found it pretty good in that I did connect with some old friends ( one who also uses LinkedIn). I enjoyed seeing her photos and catching up with her. Professionally there may even be a possible work relationship there. What I didn’t enjoy about Facebook was the amount of people coming up as potential friends who were all ex-staff members or current staff members. I really don’t want to connect with the majority of these people. However, that is the one of the tools isn’t it, that you accept or not when people invite you to be friends. it does make me wonder how often my face popped up to these same people! I have also helped my husband get onto facebook (he is pretty computer illiterate) and as a social networking tool we both quite like it. I just have to get motivated and use it at home (it is blocked at my work). But it was easy to use, loading photos was a bit of a pain, slow…but generally it is a good social networking tool and a great way to get in touch with old friends. As far as facilitating it, well it doesn’t appear to really need it. Why would you facilitate a Facebook page? To me it is about connecting with people. I think keeping a close eye on your page and what people post to your wall is important, so maybe it is something you moderate rather than facilitate.

October 9, 2009

Blog Networks

Filed under: Uncategorized — rosannew @ 1:02 pm

This is a catch up post although I had read the Blogsphere info provided. To tell the truth I was quite blown away. Blog communities here included Mormons, Jews, African Americans etc. I had no idea that such blogging communities existed and that they had such strong ties online. From what I see a blogging community exists because their is a strong feeling of something that is shared or that people have in common that is very important to them. So important that they want to connect with other like minded people and share their thoughts, feelings, views and opinions with them. The mind boggles at what some of the more private blogs may contain. I was particularly fascinated by the Mormon Bloggernacle and Mormon Mommy Blogging where Mormon feminist bloggers get together to discuss family and religious issues. Michelle Obama has blogged in this network. I also found the concept of cyberchurch fascinating where “Blogging is a dominant expression of cyberchurch[4]. Thousands of believers publish millions of articles about church, faith, God, Jesus, and more on their blogs” I never imagined these things existed.

Online conference FOC09

Filed under: Uncategorized — rosannew @ 12:11 pm


I’m playing catch up here having had a crisis at work and then going to the eFest conference. I must say I was a bit disappointed in the conference. Does anyone know one with a more online learning focus? I am planning to attend DEANZ next year and someone in the team will get to MoodleMoot but I am really interested in what other people are doing in online learning and how they cope with the many frustrations/challenges that can be thrown at you.

I plan to run my online conference on DimDim. My guest speaker is Anton Pienaar, an instructional designer from South Africa who I work with and who has run and facilitated classes online. He and I are both exploring how learning can occur in forums and I am planning something along these lines for the online conference. I think it will interest other participants in the course as we will look at forums and how you can use them to improve the learning experience for students.

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