SCoPE: Next Steps: September 17-26, 2008

Welcome to SCoPE Next Steps

Welcome to SCoPE Next Steps

by Sylvia Currie -
Number of replies: 9
In keeping with tradition we're scheduling the annual "Next Steps" seminar at the beginning of the academic year. We have found that even though we don't have the resources to act on every excellent suggestion for improving our experience here in SCoPE, it's still a great exercise to reflect on the past and invent the future.

First...a bit of information about where we are today. In the past 3 years SCoPE has grown to 2,113 members from 47 countries, we've organized 34 seminar discussions, 42 members have volunteered to facilitate scheduled discussions, and we have hosted over 39 special interest groups and events. Many of our activities are organized in collaboration with other communities and institutions, and all are made possible by our collaborating partners and volunteers in the community.

During the past year we have had some administrative changes that have probably gone unnoticed. The Learning and Instructional Development Centre at Simon Fraser University provided SCoPE with the support and design expertise to get up and running, and continues to host the site and provide technical assistance as needed. Since April, 2008 BCcampus, an online educational service connecting learners and educators to programs and resources across all British Columbia institutions, has been supporting my role as community coordinator. I'm so grateful that international participation in our professional development is valued in this way!

As always your help is needed in planning for future activities and enhancing our community. Thinking ahead to the next 12 months, what would you like to see happen in SCoPE? Remember, BIG ideas are great but tiny suggestions are also very important! approve
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Welcome to SCoPE Next Steps

by Christine Horgan -


As I will be out of the country and unable to check email for most of this seminar, I'll throw in my two cents' worth now and do a brief bio/intro at the same time.

The BIO piece:

Christine Horgan (Chris); SAIT Polytechnic, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

I am the Curriculum Co-ordinator in a large service department.

This year, as part of my professional development, I am (in part) looking after my own personal and professional learning/development needs through less-formal on-line sources. SCoPE is one site; WIMBA is another; others may be added as I discover them.

Wish list for SCoPE seminars over the next 12 months:

What would I like to see from SCoPE over the next 12 months?

Please keep in mind that I am very new to collaborative on-line learning and that I may not be making the best use of an excellent resource. From a position of some ignorance, then,  I believe I would like to see a more obvious organization pattern in the SCoPE seminars. Doesn't matter if that's the group building a Wiki or the moderator summarizing/pulling content together from various emails.

I find that I largely either "lurk" or buzz into/out off seminars, and so I'd often like to see the Readers' Digest version of the discussion rather than reading every submission. Yes, I know, I will miss a lot of wisdom, but on a busy day, a "buzz" is the best I can manage.

Other than that, the only other things I can think of are

(a) seminars that focus on Canadian post-secondary issues (issues that might be different from those in the U.S. or G.B.) and

(b) seminars hosted by moderators in developing countries so those of us in the West can learn more about the realities of post-secondary studies in other areas of the world.

Look forward to reading the postings/catching up on this seminar when I return to work.

Many thanks, Chris Horgan

In reply to Christine Horgan

Re: Welcome to SCoPE Next Steps

by Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers -
Hi everyone,
I'm Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers and this is my 5th Scope conference.
I like the topic, and I'm so involved with the CCK08 course and my work and life, and last class with AU in the Graduate Diploma in Distance Education and Technology (GDDET), that I have not had time to think about what I want to see on Scope. Jeffery's ideas resonate well with me. I think there could be one conference on how teachers/business people cope with the amount of new learning options online, the number of new connections (e.g. through connectivism and connected knowledge course -- CCK08 -- available if they want to reach out, and on the downside --the challenges of spam -- of all kinds, and the best ideas of how our styles of teaching -- advance certain technological preferrences or deter us as teachers from using certain technologies -- and why? Any ideas of how to feel more confident using webconferencing, ustream, Youtube, etc. Just a few thoughts -- and I support Jeffery's ideas in his last post too.
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Welcome to SCoPE Next Steps

by Jeffrey Keefer -
Sylvia, I think you have posed us a great few questions here. I have been thinking about them for the past few days, and think I better get these ideas up here for some feedback and discussion.

Some ideas I would like to see:
  • Best practices for preparing to teach an online class. This is like how and what to prepare for the first day of school. As more people are preparing to teach for the first time online, this may help allay some nerves, as well as share some best practices.
  • Best practices for synchronously teaching online classes. This is a continuation of the first topic . . .
  • Research, Writing, and Presenting at conferences. What wisdom do the members of our community already have and can share on this topic. The more we can encourage one another, the more we all may benefit.
  • How about a Best Practices thematic cornucopia (somewhat seasonal as well!). Choose a technology, perhaps based around social networking or Web 2.0, and discuss some of those wonderful nuggets we have learned along the way and are dying to share with others.
Probably nothing very original here, but they are all topics I am interested in right now for various reasons. Perhaps others may be, also?

In reply to Jeffrey Keefer

Re: Welcome to SCoPE Next Steps

by Colby Stuart -
Sylvia, though I've been following the threads of this discussion, I've been traveling so much that I have not been able to contribute.

I would like to build on everyone's suggestions.

1.) Time is crucial for most people with a busy schedule. Finding ways to share our experiences requires a framework that we can build on and make visible for everyone to see what's growing from that. How to map those experiences and learnings that build to best practices - and beyond - is something we need to address.

2.) I am sure that there are many of us who are not lurkers, but just very busy. We follow the threads through our email notifications. How can we make it easier for those people to contribute?

3.) Summaries and charting impact could also help. A bit like Wikipedia's evolution, we would need to find roles that mobilise our expertise in such a way that it fits easily into what we normally do. Having someone initiate and moderate that process might be a good starting point.

Over the past couple of years, I have learned a lot from engagement with SCoPE. You are serving a much needed purpose and playing a role in learning innovation for many who would not necessarily have access to the content or the participants. Much appreciation for this.

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Welcome to SCoPE Next Steps

by David Millar -
This retrospective/prospective seems a good idea. I will participate as much as possible while travelling. I am currently trying to set up a worldwide environmental information exchange.
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Welcome to SCoPE Next Steps

by Sylvia Riessner -
Hi Sylvia,

I too am grateful to BCcampus that they are willing to support your facilitation of this online community. Although I haven't contributed, I have followed the conversations and learned a great deal from the exchanges between participants.

What I'd like to see in the next 12 months:
  • I agree with Christine Horgan that a focus on Canadian post-secondary issues is of most interest to me. Having said that I also agree that I'd like to hear from educators in developing countries to see what they're doing with Web 2.0 tools and open content or just with their own resources.
  • I agree with all of Jeffrey's bullet points - best practices on online teaching et al.
  • An additional concern of mine has been how to encourage students to participate actively in online environments. Perhaps we could convene a seminar and exchange strategies and ideas of how to engage students more effectively.
  • I've been a proponent of open content / open learning for a long time now. I'd like to hear what other educators think of collaborative development of learning materials, sharing of content, quality of product... I'd also like to have a dialogue with anyone who has been actively producing, sharing or teaching in this environment.

  • I'd like to participate in a seminar / discussion about "Teaching in a Web 2.0 World" where we could talk about the enormous range of free online tools that are available to teachers and the implications of using them. Who owns what we produce? How can it be used? Some services are wide open; others (like Youtube) hang onto your work if they choose. Which ones are best for supporting collaborative work?
  • In terms of organizing the discussions so that busy participants can pop in and get a sense of what they've missed - I agree it's a good idea but I also realize how much work that can be. Do you have the time for that?
  • Idea maps - I noticed that George Siemens is using the cmap tool in his MOOC and some of the maps of ideas / concepts are enlightening. It would be fun to try and create those for some of our discussions. Maybe you could troll for volunteers as it's a skill we all need to develop (I think).
Just some thoughts

In reply to Sylvia Riessner

Seminar Topic Ideas + roles

by Sylvia Currie -
Wow, these are great topic ideas! I've been gathering your suggestions into a wiki. It's an impressive list! Jeffrey says he listed the topics he is currently interested in right now in hopes that others are as well. I'd say that's a very safe bet! If I've missed or misinterpreted any topics please edit the wiki or post them here.

Jo Ann's suggestion for feeling more confident using specific tools seems to be a popular request these days. At a recent meeting with British Columbia post-secondary educational developers we talked about a "sliver" series -- short (30-60 minutes), focused, live sessions to demonstrate and discuss specific tools and strategies. Perhaps this can become a weekly, twice monthly, or monthly live session, depending on demand. Also, offers their popular "open weekends" which are great, practical opportunities to learn new tools. This includes a regular "tools potluck" which is a fun way to get exposed to all the possibilities.

I also added some roles thinking this might be a good way for members to volunteer. We can keep this wiki active in the seminar discussions area. I'll move it to the top after this session wraps up and any time you think of a topic or have some time and interest in an existing topic you can add to the wiki.

Sylvia R. asks:
In terms of organizing the discussions so that busy participants can pop in and get a sense of what they've missed - I agree it's a good idea but I also realize how much work that can be. Do you have the time for that?

The short answer is no, I don't have time. I've tried to fill that role on occasion, but usually I'm already off planning the next seminar or event. Also, the feedback I receive from facilitators is that they often begin with big plans to provide summaries and outcome resources, but it's difficult to fit it in. These are usually people carrying on with their full-time jobs and all the rest of it. It would be great to work out a division of labour so that we can accomplish this task -- what Christine calls the "readers' digest" version.

We may not need to fill every role with every seminar, and there is no doubt some overlap in some of these roles. Perhaps we can begin to define each role and list the tasks?

Map Maker:
Wiki Attendant:
other roles??
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Seminar Topic Ideas + roles

by Wendy Kraglund-Gauthier -

Hi all

I really like the idea of the "Sliver Series." I also recommend recording the live session so if we have to miss one, we can still reap the knowledge.

Excellent ideas on the wiki as well.

Wendy (avid lurker, sometimes poster)

In reply to Sylvia Riessner

Re: Welcome to SCoPE Next Steps

by Christine Horgan -


Sylvia R's comment: "I've been a proponent of open content / open learning for a long time now. I'd like to hear what other educators think of collaborative development of learning materials, sharing of content, quality of product... I'd also like to have a dialogue with anyone who has been actively producing, sharing or teaching in this environment."

In Alberta, eCampusAlberta (eCA) is probably the best model of province-wide sharing.

Just a guess....outside of eCA, I'll bet there's not a lot of formal sharing between institutions (or even between deaprtments in the same institution).

Such a shame.