CASE 4: Best Practice Models for E-learning

CASE 4: Best Practice Models for E-learning

by Sylvia Currie -
Number of replies: 4
Our 4th case in this series for the Exploring Networks of Communities seminar will be presented on Monday (tomorrow!), July 20 at 9:00 PDT (check your time zone).

We welcome Helen Walmsley from the Best Practice Models for E-learning community. This community is supported by Staffordshire University, and is an interesting example of how a variety of platforms and networking options can be used to accommodate the needs of community members.

From the Best Practice Models website:
Aim of the E-learning Best Practice Models Project at Staffordshire University:

to identify and model good practice in facilitating eLearning using descriptions which practitioners (both novice and experienced) can adopt easily as part of the course design process to enhance learner-centred, flexible learning.
The session is in Elluminate and in English. Here's a short URL to pass around to your colleagues via email and twitter: And please do invite your friends!

Hope to see you there!
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: CASE 4: Best Practice Models for E-learning

by Sylvia Currie -
We had a really good presentation and discussion today with Helen Walmsley about the Best Practice Models for E-learning community. Thanks everyone who participated, and John Smith for moderating!

Here is the recording if you'd like to revisit or see what you missed. I'll post the text chat transcript in a separate message. I believe John Smith is bringing forward some of our questions to the forum.

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Questions emerging from the session

by John Smith -
Toward the end of the conversation we tried to articulate some of the questions that were emerging. Here is my reconstruction / elaboration from the chat room notes.

* Learning from Helen's example: the strategy to support Stafforshire University faculty and staff, people from a global population were recruited and served. Should every institution replicate that strategy or is it OK if some "ride the coat-tails" of Stafforshire?

* What can new technologies, such as ELGG, which make it easy for people to set up their own little groups, bring to a community or system of communities? What's the effect on the "mother community" of a proliferation of such small groups, or of expanding the community network with ELGG?

* As we seek to support learning at a large scale, is it more important to support "networks" or "communities"? Are people seeking one more than the other? Does one lead to the other?

* As we expand the ways that people can connect, do we reach a saturation point, where the community feeling that we seek is lost?
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: CASE 4: Best Practice Models for E-learning

by Emma Duke-Williams -
I've just listened to the discussion - and have found it very interesting.

Several thoughts came to mind, some of which others brought up ... others that I thought at the time I heard, would have commented via the chat had I been there & have now forgotten ... so they can't have been that profound!

One thing that did strike me was the discussion about how people decide which, if any, aspects of a community to participate in - given several different vistas to what's essentially the same group.

I think that the point that Moodle could show what was in Ning (or was it the other way round??) was useful - that's always been one of my issues ... if something has several facets, is it best to use the tool *I* like best (given the choice of Ning/FAcebook or Moodle, I'd pick Moodle); should I pick the one that has the largest audience (seems to be Facebook from the feedback we got ... but I don't really like it), or the one that seems to have the greatest flexibility (which sounded as if it was Ning ... though personally I *really* dislike it).

That then got me on to thinking about how we select platforms ... I guess we tend to pick what we know & like using ... which mayn't be the preferred option for others.

Ultimately, of course, we need true "open Social", so users can use all 3 platforms (and tweet about it as well) - each participating via the platform they personally prefer - and getting the information back from everyone else.

Hope that makes sense!
Regretting missing the original session now.
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: CASE 4: Text Chat Transcript

by Sylvia Currie -
Here is the text chat transcript from today's Elluminate session with Helen Walmsley

Sylvia Currie: Nice to see BC folks here! Welcome Gary and Gerry
jennymackness: Hi Karen!!
Karen Guldberg: Hi jenny!
Sylvia Currie: Oh, we could have scheduled it for earlier in the day :-D
jennymackness: I wish I was an amateur then Helen!
Sylvia Currie: I found out about the Best Practice community through participation in
John Smith: Helen, during that first Foudnations workshop, did we have a visit to your community?
Sylvia Currie: Interesting dilemma -- people see the resources. Need to see people
Gerry: Yeah for RSS
Sylvia Currie: @John I think I first saw the community during the Long Live the Platform conference
jennymackness: So is there now a need for the Moodle site?
John Smith: @Sylvia: and that would have been the January after Helen was in the Foundations wrokshp.
Sylvia Currie: Moodle for scheduled discussions / Ning for ongoing?
jennymackness: How many members in moodle?
John Smith: I see Jenny and Lynn Tveskov!
jennymackness: Oh yes!
Sylvia Currie: Yes! I was thinking hey Helen stole my friends! lol
Sylvia Currie: I like the approach of standing back to see how each space is used
Gerry: People are starting to do this type of "Ning" thing with WordPress and BuddyPress.
John Smith: Hey, there's LaDonna!
Sylvia Currie: As it turns out that's the only good feature in FB groups (events)
jennymackness: Do these multiple platforms fragement a community?
Sylvia Currie:
Gerry: The classroom 2.0 ning has events in it including who is attending and the ability to invite. I don't use FB, so maybe it does more.
jennymackness: Thanks Helen
Sylvia Currie: Seems nature of the community -- more open to exploration / using different venues
Gerry: How big is the overlap of participants between the 3 communities?
Gerry: I would thing so
Gerry: think
Sylvia Currie: I think I remember in one conversation that there were some people in NING who are not in Moodle
Gerry: Looks like the Moodle site is kind of the "mother ship"
jennymackness: Is it possible to build resources in the same way in Ning?
Helen Walmsley: Jenny - the resources are on our Moodle server - Ning resources would be on Ning's (and not secure) So we've not done that yet
Gerry: Many communities are like that now and are thriving - connected by PLE's for individuals
Karen Guldberg: How much input do you feel 'the leader' needed to put in to keep the community going, Helen?
Helen Walmsley: The faciliatator puts in a lot of effort!
John Smith: go ahead, Helen.
Helen Walmsley: Christa has beenorganising events and encouraging discussions on a regualr basis
debra Beck: In a voluntary process like this, what factors do you think best facilitate ongoing participation?
Christine Horgan: Helen, given that the facilitator puts in a great deal of work to organize and keep a community current, if one were looking at a small, internal community (defined membership), which would be the best route to take: Ning, Facebook, Moodle? (Chris Horgan)
Sylvia Currie: So much behind the scenes work. We need to do a better job of documenting that!
Gerry: That is true Sylvia
Gerry: I mean documenting
Sylvia Currie: Plus on a server in the United States, which gets complicated for Canadians
Christine Horgan: Sylvia, are you talking about the current concerns about Canadian privacy issues? Chris
Sylvia Currie: @Christine Yes, maybe more of a concern for students but still a fuzzy area
Gerry: Was there any difference in terms of how participants were able to shape the communities when comparing what happens in Moodle/Ning/FB?
Gerry: Point in case is the community the grew around George Siemen's and Stephen Downes' Connectivism course last fall.
Gerry: I was more thinking if one community was more "authentic" and user built as opposed to top down.
Sylvia Currie: And maybe Gerry is also asking does one platform lend itself to being a community effort to shape the community itself
Gerry: sorry no mic
Gerry: but the course - 30 registrants but 2500 participants
jennymackness: @Gerry - was the connectivism course a community or a network?
Gerry: A network that grew out of a community ??? LOL
John Smith: yes
Sylvia Currie: Yes, you sound good
Sylvia Currie: I was just thinking that too!
Gerry: And it was a course, not a community. It would be nice to have this type of viral participation in communities - rarely happens.
Gerry: Maybe something to learn from the "open" approach
Sylvia Currie: And perhaps coming from outside the university was an advantage?
Karen Guldberg: is becoming clearer that you did very much behind the scenes, Helen and that it didn't just happen!
Gerry: And which one supports "lurkers" the best. There are a lot of "lurkers" like me who might eventually participate
Gary Hunt: Was a motivation for faculty based on wanting to develop blended course models or distance courses with no face-to-face component?
jennymackness: @Gerry - do you think people want a community more than a network?
John Smith: a new community on ELGG -- for own groups.
Christine Horgan: Helen, you just mentioned an easily managed platform for small communities. I couldn't catch the name of it. Could you please repeat the name and talk about the pros/cons. Thanks, Chris Horgan
Sylvia Currie: Interesting...expanding the community network to ELGG
Sylvia Currie:
Gerry: I think people are finding "networks" more valualbe these days - that's my impression.
Gerry: Communities need to facilitate feeding into people's networks
John Smith: Sylvia: expanding the ways that people can connect. Do we reach a saturation point, where a community feeling is lost?
jennymackness: I think that even within networks, groups exist
Gerry: Communities of practice vs Networks of Practice
Gerry: Helen's work really has develpoed into a network
Sylvia Currie: Please do participate in the asynch discussion!
Christine Horgan: Many thanks, Helen, for taking time out of your day (and the end of your day). Cheers, Chris
jennymackness: Thank you Helen
Helen Walmsley: thanks
Karen Guldberg: This was really interesting
Sylvia Currie:
Gerry: Thanks Helen
Gerry: Going to the Yukon tomorrow or Wednesday, but I will revisit
John Smith: bye!
Helen Walmsley: Thansk Sylvia!
Tracy R (B.C.): thanks!
Karen Guldberg: bye!
Gerry: Bye

(Edited by John Smith - original submission Monday, 20 July 2009, 12:27 PM)