I've been wanting an opportunity to use this activity in an online course for years! It's been tucked away in my (One day I will... file).
Here's a rough draft - any suggestions for improvement would be appreciated!
Sharing Stories - Building Community
Intended purpose: to initiate (build) a sense of community among participants who are all pursuing courses within a shared program; this activity would be offered during the initial introductory foundation course that they all take. After this course, they may all take different courses, fully online or blended offerings, at different times over a two year period. My hope is that they would have fun and get to know each other enough to make them want to stay connected in other ways that are offered during the program.
What? I chose to use Cogdog (Alan Levine's) Five Card Flickr open licensed activity. I selected the ds106 option. This is a digital "gamified" version of an activity you may have seen done in face-to-face workshops or conferences. Participants are offered a pre-selected number of images (or they have a chance to select a certain number within a limited time). Their challenge is to imagine a story that connects the often disparate images. Sharing their stories helps to build their understanding of each other (often through laughter!)
Things to consider: Suitable for an online or blended course offering. For the online activity, learners would have to be comfortable with basic web browser skills, and have a fairly good internet connection and relatively recent computer and web browser. If any learner found the online activity too challenging, the trainer could easily create an alternate assignment and share as a downloadable document or even send via snail-mail. Learners could be encouraged to be creative in how they told their story - as long as whatever story they told could be shared with their peers.
Alternate option: Use the Five Card Flickr search to perform a random sort and then download several selected sets to produce different documents. The images could be resized, grouped and added to a Word or editable PDF document so participants could complete as they choose.
Disclaimer: This is a new try for me (haven't had an opportunity to test it on my intended victims (oops, I mean audience ;-)
Tasks: (what I need to do before offering)
- Find a 'hook' or way to awaken creative instincts - make it fun. Share some funny, poignant examples. Roll a virtual dice to determine who gets to try first (if I'm able to get them started in a synchronous online session?)
- Provide a checklist that includes a direct link "Are you ready to play Five Card Flickr" and sets a timeframe and explains how to submit to a shared space.
- If they're comfortable sharing their story in the open, they can submit to the Five Card Flickr site and share a link back into the course discussion forum.
- If they're not, they can save the images to their desktop and build the story there or in an online page you provide that can be shared with other members of the course.
- Set a date for final storytelling submission - allow a few days thereafter and encourage them to read each others and share comments. You may want to provide some simple guidelines for comments.
- Provide a summary or share highlights along the way - this helps to keep learners thinking about the activity - even if they're not actually logged into the course site.
- Encourage learners to share what they enjoyed (or might change) about the activity for future classes.