Sunday, September 13, 2009

Another note on Forums

I was reading Herve's post and saw Sarah's comments about how many discussions forums are actually like "real communities" and do they need to be real communities etc. After spending a bit more time reading the different FOC blogs, there seems to be perhaps a bit of a theme (and maybe someone else has already noted it as well), in that the level of support and community feeling is based around the purpose of the forum- perhaps the community is more apparent in the social forum settings. Perhaps in some of the educational forums, the posts are so few and far between, hence the community feeling is not there at all. I thought of a forum I do belong to, which I rarely use for my own purpose, but I still get all the posts. It is the TANZ Network Support forum for Tutors who work on the Nat.Cert. Business (First Line Management).

Now, it's used as a network more than a group (I think), but it is 'not an open forum', and works across all the TANZ institutions delivering the programme ( support for both Blackboard LMS and Moodle). It is facilitated in a way, in that there is one person/group responsible for all the admin bits, and keeping the content current- and who makes sure that the queries are answered. It used as a technical forum, a way of keeping all the different tutors connected with all the changes on the programme, a way of accessing marking schedules (all the providers are delivering the same programme-all 'online'). It's "the place" to go to for all things to do with the programme. I have always thought it a bit 'dry' and not very receptive to chatting, but recently, I posted a query related on uploading Assignments on Moodle (not for this particular programme, but for a similar one, on Moodle). I was a bit overwhelmed by the responses, and the people who replied were a great support.I got the replies really quickly too. So in terms of the community feel, it sort of seemed to me at the time, that there are people 'out there' who are happy to help and connect, but they are not "there" all the time. If I look at the forums now, they look quite inactive, but I suggest that when the time comes, people are "out there", ready to post!! So the community is acting abit like on an "as needed" basis. perhaps not a really active community but an effective network never-the-less (for me anyway :-))


Rachel said...

Debra, I wonder if people comment when it is of something that either really interests them or they know what or how to do something. They do not have to spend the time to really think, reflect or research what they are going to compose to write and they feel that they are helping or sharing their knowledge with others.

Stoneleigh31 said...

Hi Rachel-yea, am sure it's a bit like that with some forums. Although with the experience I was reflecting on, some thought had certianly gone into the replies. I guess its again,down to the purpose of the forum as well.

Sarah Stewart said...

There have been some interesting conversations about whether Twitter has had an effect on blogging. I know from my own experience that I use Twitter for synchronous networking & blogging for more reflective posts & in depth discussion.

Back to does it work in the blogging context?

Hervé said...

Could you please enlight me about the use of Twitter in education? I am not a user as I am failing to see the point of it.

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Herve, what I'll do at the weekend is write a blog post about Twitter and why we should know about it as educators & post it for you to see - thanks for asking the question.

Sarah Stewart said...

Hello Herve

Here's the answer to your question about Twitter:

How to use Twitter in the education context


How to follow people on Twitter