Nicholas asks some telling questions about seminar content and virtual, physical, discussion, and perhaps even personal conceptual contexts (our mindsets, which he or someone else suggests on another thread might be revealed by mindmaps); he suggests that someone provide a notional case study, one that exemplifies the goals and constraints of current activity; and then he makes an interesting observation regarding de-contextualization.
Is this a discussion about distance learning or campus based learning? Is this really a discussion of collaboration or tools? Are we talking about staff or student development? Where is that context?
What about providing a notional case study of pedagogical need as a basis for considering a given tool? For example, what are the design goals and constraints of this activity in which we are engaged as a possible case study for staff development contexts? That would give you time, audience, activity design, aims and outcomes to evaluate amongst a host of other things. We are discussing de-contextualised ideas in at least 2 different places. (15 March 2010)
If I may venture a response to his first few questions, assuming that the two different places to which he refers are this moodle site (seminar venue) in tenuous conjunction with a collection of Google waves (and other sites such as MindMeister), I'd say:
Yes, we're discussing possibilities for distance learning, at least some of us, and yes, probably campus-based, too, though at any particular juncture in the discussion exactly which may be obscure;
Yes, possibly, for staff and students, if there is such a thing as coerced collaboration; and or but also for ourselves and peers, near or distant;
Yes, we're discussing collaboration, per se, at least in this particular forum, possibly online, face-to-face or blended, and again exactly which may be obscure.
I gather from the example Nicholas gives, listing elements for "a possible case study", that he is quite interested in "design goals and constraints … for staff development contexts", and this makes me wonder (again) how all the big pieces fit together:
Instructional design and actual learning;
Collaborative design and collaborative learning; and
Staff or student development, administered or coerced, and collaborative development, self-initiated and self-directed.
Nicholas, most of the rest of this post might better be directed to you:
I get an impression that you have a preference for highly contextualized discussions, a preference perhaps of the sort to which a "personal preferences" twig on the mindmap
Emma started refers. However, I'm unsure to what extent you feel discussion manifests or reflects collaboration. (In a previous SCoPE seminar, Sarah Haavind, as I recall, suggested that discussion does that, if it reaches a certain depth. [Perhaps Sylvia can reconnect us to that discussion.]). Yet I sense a desire on your part for productivity or deliverables, motivation to produce and promulgate, if not formally publish, a case study on staff development, collaborative or otherwise.
How far is that off the mark?