Facilitating Online Communities

Gabriela Sellart's weekly work on the course

Sep 1


clipped from groups.google.com

Somehow, for Communities of
Practice to be ‘successful’, we need to encourage learners to develop
an attitude where they value their own thinking and believe that it
deserves to be shared with others

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Several things I liked of John’s post. First of all, the somehow, I guess he doesn’t say somehow out of lack of knowledge on the how, rather, on the contrary. I don’t think there is a magic formula to encourage the development such an attitude, so you have to use all your resources. What I mean is: if this fails, try that.

Secondly I liked the choice of the word attitude. Attitude is related to action, and it’s attitude what moves us to communicate. Moreover, it’s a person’s attitude what we first notice about them. It’s people’s attitude rather than knowledge what creates links within a community.

And finally, believe that it deserves to be shared.I think belief is related to validation and it is sharing our thoughts the way we validate them.

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Aug 25
“The role of the Facilitator could be that of providing the atmosphere where members can optimally interact with one another (i.e., with as many members) and subsequently benefit according to their own needs.” Still learning… «

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Aug 19

Questions to Questions

clipped from wikieducator.org

Many people either don’t understand the differences, or too easily confuse the different roles of a facilitator, moderator and teacher. Some teachers believe that teaching is an act of facilitation. Some facilitators see their main role as moderating discussion and keeping order. Over these two weeks we will consider the differences in these three roles and attempt to describe situations where they might be mutually exclusive from one another.

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Before reading, even before thinking.

When does the act of teaching compromise the role of a facilitator of an online community?

If a facilitator just explains, shows, demonstrates.

When does the act of moderating online discussion compromise the role of a facilitator of an online community?

If a facilitator interferes in a participant’s contribution without providing a meaning for this interference.

When does the act of facilitation compromise the role of a teacher or moderator in an online community?

A feature I think both teachers and moderators have in common is the power to set limits. Does a facilitator limit participants in any way?

When are these three roles appropriate in an online community?

Is it apropriate/desirable/useful/essential for the same person to assume these three roles? Or is it just the opposite?

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Undefined definition

So what’s an online community? The question has been spinning in my head for two weeks. Actually, that’s not the only question that has kept me musing. But what’s an online community is what I’m supposed to have answered by now.

I thought that would be very easy. Had I written this post two weeks ago I would have been able to provide a definition. Yes, that’s what happens when you start to learn. You doubt.

First of all, what is a community?
I’ve been reading lots of definitions stated (or doubted) by experts or non-experts and the limits of those definitions are always uncertain.

Maybe communities are defined by their members and their sense of belonging.

Maybe some cohesive elements hold members together in the shape of a community. These elements may be:

  • identity
  • shared goals
  • shared interests
  • rituals
  • sense of belonging
  • a meeting place

What if this meeting place is a virtual environment? There should be some differences.

The first and obvious one is the breaking of time/space limits.

Both in physical and virtual environment community members are linked to nodes outside the community. However, in an online community these links are more conspicuous. This might blur its boundaries.

Ok, I’m stuck here. I’ve decided to move on…

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Aug 11

Communities and Networks

Tribu virtual runs on Ning. It’s creator calls it a social network. However, he named it tribe.

The first forum question posed to the members was: What is a tribe today? (11-05-08)
Rituals, identity, sharing were some of the words used by the members to define a tribe. Other words: big group, consciousness of presence, support, territory to inhabit, shared interests.

I think rituals and identity are key features to distinguish a community from a network. Both features need time to be developed.

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Where is the centre?

clipped from groups.google.com

We’re coming up against the one significant challenge that faces us online:
decentralization is vital for allowing individuals to create their own
context of learning…and centralization is vital for making sense of the
larger whole (at least for most people).

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clipped from tribuvirtual.ning.com

Una de las situaciones que me parece mas compleja, es la falta de un ámbito centralizado para la comunicación. Lo que tienen las listas de correo, foros y grupos virtuales por mail, (del tipo yahoo, egrupos, etc) donde todos reciben cada mail que se envia, donde toda la comunicacion y los intercambios llegan al conjunto. Claro que esto crea otros problemas que casi todos hemos experimentado: saturacion de mails, mensajes con simples saludos que se multiplican, reenvios de cadenas, etc.

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Is it possible to centralize information when it’s horizontally distributed?

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Aug 9

Tribu Virtual- facts & figures


104 women
46 men
1 ?

92 with profile photos (9 landscapes.animals. flowers)*
59 no profile photos

99 live in Argentina
8 live in other countries
44 don’t provide information**

*Members without a photo have active participation.
**These are members who joined in earlier. I assume they know the organizer face to face, maybe that’s why the don’t provide that information.

Forums: 13
6 started by the creator/administrator

Most active:
Creating a collective story: 101 answers
Started: june 9- Still active
20 members participating

Groups: 3
not active

Videos: 103
between 25-50 views each

Photos: 290

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Aug 7

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Aug 6

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