Activity 0.3: Exploring and experimenting

Home Forums Induction (“Week 0”) Exploring and experimenting (Activity 0.3) Activity 0.3: Exploring and experimenting

This topic contains 46 replies, has 27 voices, and was last updated by  Helen Crump 6 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #801

    Martin Hawksey

    Experiment with and reflect on different ways of communicating with fellow ocTEL participants. These include Twitter, your blog if you have one, the ocTEL JISCMail list[], the ocTEL forums, the ocTEL groups, the chat window in the webinar.

    Try and use at least one channel of online communication that you haven’t used before (or don’t use regularly), and try and find out why other people like it.

    • What forms of reflection, challenge and learning do each of these do best?
    • How do the channels support relationship forming and community building? Is that important for learning?
    • Which do you prefer and why?
  • #1982


    I am using the forum as a means of communication that I don’t use regularly. I have stopped using forums in preference for more immediate forms of communication like twitter and Skype. However, where I have used forums for supporting the development of MineCraft in Education, it has worked well.

    Hold Ups

    • Forums can go off topic quite quickly, or threads can get very long and therefore it can be quite hard to find the information you are looking for.
    • Forums need to have active moderators to keep things tidy
    • RSS subscription not always available top keep up to date with latest posts
    • Posts can hold out of date information
    • Slow response time… people can take hours or days to respond to a post



    • Can search archive easily for solutions
    • Can form a more measured response (compared to instant posts like twitter)
    • Have spell checkers in them… (no more embarrassing typos)
    • Can give much more detail in the response.
    • Can attach files, pictures and other information easily

    I am interested in other users channels of communication that are less well known.

    My list of channels I might use and why:

    Personal Blog – I can post to this any length of post and have it automatically repost to my Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest pages if need be.

    Twitter (via TweetDeck) – Quick responses: Rapid engagement: Wide cover: Multiple accounts

    Forum on OCTEL – Measured, interesting to see who engages in this technology

    Skype – Probably for chatting with work colleagues who are also on OCTEL (open to making new Skype contacts too)

    Google+ – could create a circle of contacts there… Might work out. Could be a good reason to start expanding my circles.

    Secondlife – Don’t think that there will be much take up of this. It could be used, but is so processor heavy that it tends to get bypassed

    MineCraft – Could possibly set up a world in MineCraft where OCTEL participants could engage and experiment with Gamification. Also has a chat function and people problem solve there… Just an idea.

    Facetime… probably not

    iMessage/SMS probably not

    Any others that people are using or thinking about?

    • #8169

      Tom Franklin

      An excellent review of some of the pros and cons of using forums, even if I don’t agree with everything you say.

      For me one of the advantages of a forum is the ability to have threaded discussions, but this forum doesn’t really seem to support them the result is that you read through the postings in order they were written rather than having them grouped, but I shall preserve anyhow.

    • #8621

      guy saward

      Great list of channels – I think I have dabbled in them all – except minecraft which I get second hand via home environment.

      They all have their overheads, and I tend to use one tool per job. So here (as for my online courses) I am trying out the provided platform, facebook is for social stuff, skype for (typically) personal work conversations/meetings, secondlife for checking out architecture …

      But I am all for blending things, so have been working to link our VLE to FB and Twitter. This course may be something to re-enthuse me about Twitter and get me to dust off/reinstall tweetdeck (see your teachers as actors tweet, and raise you a musicians as teachers;-)

  • #2660

    Maha Bali

    Hiya, I have also recently focused on more on Twitter and blogging but am willing to give forums another try (despite all the setbacks you mention, which are huge!). It’s cool that some ppl use similar profile pics on social media (like i recognized ur photo from twitter) – it helps recognize ppl across platforms.

  • #2943


    Agree with your assessment of forums, but for me the +s seem to outweigh the -s.  I am not a user of any social media, so that takes me a out of the network I expect.  Maybe give it a go for this course though if I can work out how to use them – can’t hurt.  The forum here is useful for me to learn (TEL virgin me).  Doesn’t seem to be anything happening in the public email space though, or maybe I am not looking in the right place.  My “students” are not the norm, as I develop and present training on HR related matters to university professional support staff, not uni students and/or academics.

  • #3098


    I feel more comfortable in forums than iLearningUK. I think moderation might be a key issue, but then there are different kinds of forums and providing expectations are appropriate then they work or perhaps it just isn’t the right kind of place for what you want.

    For me I have started a new activity – blogging. I have started a blog many times (so starting isn’t new!), but never felt it was worth the effort. Fairly recently I have become a big fan of PebblePad and I find I use that increasingly. The prospect of a private blog holds no fear for me, but a public blog is a different matter. It isn’t that I am afraid I just feel awkward talking to myself in public, if that makes sense. Blogs which I follow also seem to be so well maintained and I wonder where people find the time to do that.

    Can anyone share with me why they blog and how do you find the time?


    • #4118


      Hmm. Eureka moment maybe.

      When there are so many voices in a forum (task 0.1) going in so many directions, maybe talking things through on your own is the way to go?



      • #6357

        Helen Crump

        Hi Big Particle Person
        Well your question has caught me at an interesting time. I have been a great blogger for over a year and a half now; however, I have not blogged since February and I am finding it difficult to get started again. I started blogging because it was a requirement of a course I was doing, and I have to say that I’ve got a lot out of blogging, decent follow and readership stats but most importantly it’s extended my learning as all sorts of folks drop by and comment, continuing the conversation and helping me learn. I find that it’s a good record of my learning journey; it shows how my thinking is developing. But this is the thing – I’m wondering if I can only blog as part of my participation in a MOOC. Looks like I can’t always get round to to blogging if I’m not prompted by a MOOC question. Regards finding time, if you can find time to MOOC you can probably find time to blog. I find blogging is quite a different experience to posting/responding in forums. Blogging kind of makes you raise your game and really clarify your thinking. I agree, forums beget so many divergent conversations, which is also the beauty of a blog post – just one post and a select few responses.

        • #8602


          Thanks f0r your helpful post Helen. I get your point about having some reason to blog. I have maintained project blogs before, but that is a different beast.

          For me I currently don’t feel constrained to be more professional, yet. Maybe comments will fix my approach!



        • #8638

          guy saward

          Hi Helen – would totally agree about blogging for a purpose, as neobadwolfone mentioned in activity0.1 it can be hard to keep up when time is short and things change.

          My first real blog was on a personal health issue but my work blog has never really taken off – though I have written today about using twitter to fave things in the forum here.

          As for bigParticle and the need to be professional, taking part in this course really brings home the student experience of what should I say in front of teacher/fellow students. Shouldn’t I know all this stuff already?!

          p.s. am liking the outdoor picture!;-)

        • #9539


          In #edcmooc, quite a few of us tried out quadblogging, where you formed a group of 4, blogged in turns and had authentic audience for your posts. It promoted small group interaction and a possible PLN network formation.

  • #3335


    I feel more comfortable using forums, I am rubbish at using WordPress for blogging and I have a Twitter account but do not use it as much as I should. Therefore I think I will try and use Twitter more this time. That is until I can get my head round WordPress!

    I agree with ‘thebigparticle’ in that I wonder how you find time to keep up a quality blog.

    • #4570


      Wordpress blogs aren’t as tricky as you might think. You can get a wordpress blog with no knowledge of programming or databases.
      Wordpress will host you blog so you don’t have to. However, it is when you do host your own blog that things really become interesting. I have just linked my twitter account to my blog feed so that whenever I post an entry in my blog, it automatically sends an update to my Twitter followers too. Thus I can reach twice the audience in the same time as it takes me to write a post.

      I have neglected my blog for too long, so I think this course has helped me to find and make the time (I am blogging at 9.30pm…!) to post new things and write new blog posts.

    • #9862

      Helen Crump

      Hi Maddie
      Thanks for mentioning the ‘Quad blogging’ experiment. I agree, it’s a useful mechanism to help ‘newbies’ in a MOOC and maybe as a way of fostering new connections for established bloggers too. I just went back and read the paper you wrote about it. Enjoyable and interesting. Thanks–Peer-Learning-in-a-MOOC?

  • #3652

    ed3d (Peter)

    @ilearninguk I don’t use SL but I do use an open source variant called OpenSim (also known as OpenSimulator) which has numerous advantages. There is, in fact, a low-res client called Radegast that works with both SL and OpenSim. Its 3D graphics are not very pretty but a core feature is a built-in screen reader. There’s also an Android app called Lumiya. If anyone wants info on OpenSim, just ask.

    In my experience MOOC forums get very unwieldy after a time.

    I don’t use mainstream social media much but do occasionally use which is a microblogging service I prefer to Twitter, not least because it supports RSS. The downside is that you have to pay if you want to follow more than 40 people.

  • #3798


    Like many of you I am most comfortable in the forums. I know where I am and how to do it reasonably well. I can also easily find what others have said and can mull it over. I am also experimenting with WordPress as a blog tool which can then capture my experiences on various different courses. I am still not sure I am using it correctly – I seem to treat it more like a static web site than a dynamic changing thing. Perhaps it is both! I too cannot get used to talking about myself to others – not something I am at all comfortable with. Some do it incredibly well and naturally.

    I think I will try some other means that I am less familiar with just to have a go – perhaps Google +.  After all – how can we expect our colleagues to embrace technology if we haven’t a clue ourselves.

  • #4456

    Nick Ribeiro

    @<span style=”font-weight: bold; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0);”>ilearninguk Interested to see how we could use Minecraft for the purposes of our Activities</span>

  • #4463

    Nick Ribeiro

    <p style=”margin: 0px; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; font-family: Helvetica;”> I think I’m just amazed at how quickly clusters have developed and by what means.  Which came first…..the cluster topic or the preferred mechanism for cluster collaboration? #ocTEL</p>

  • #4467

    Nick Ribeiro

    Should there be a consideration here about device we use for communication too? Smartphone vs tablet vs etc and the whole UX thing? #ocTEL

  • #4743


    I like the forums too, although I acknowledge ilearninguk’s points about their wekanesses as platforms for active dialogue.  Like some of you, I’m disinclined to set up a blog: I’d see it as more permanent and discursive than conversational media such as forums, so I know I’d spend too much time crafting and editing blog posts. I’m also trying twitter as I go through this course, it’s a neat way of recording what I’ve found to be key quotations from the readings, questions I have, and ideas as they emerge. Twitter felt like I was just tossing random thoughts into the white noise of the twitterverse, but then one of my tweets from yesterday was featured in today’s ocTEL email digest. Interesting: it was read, it circulated. Made me go in and check out #ocTEL tweets myself. Seems like twitter is going to emerge as my key platform for reflection in this course; whether it “supports relationship forming and community building” is yet to be seen.

  • #6266

    Cinzia Gabellini

    Me too i prefer using forums for communication, because i am comfortable with it and in context of learing because it make me feel to be part of a group that focus on the same interest. Recently, in MOOCs i have used Google+ Community Groups to communicate and share.

    One important criteria for me is mobile capabilities of the channel. Often forums are nearly  impossible (technically) to use on a smartphone.

    Will give Twitter a try here, currently I see Twitter mainly as an information stream and can’t immagine how it can work as a communication tool.

  • #7900

    Julie Tardy

    Like other participants, i will pick up forums as a way of communicating i rarely use as well as my blog that i will try to ressuscitate, again.

    The challenge i can notice in forums is exactly what i can see in that thread: busy, too many comments and me being too lazy to read them all (sorry). Concerning my blog, i created it to support my PhD research and exercise my English but i do find it extremely time consuming and i don’t share my articles fearing a possible backlash.

    In the past two months, i had to come back in Europe for personal reasons, so i now have plenty of time in my hands to discover 2.0 tools that i couldn’t used back in Tanzania because of the low bandwith. I discovered Twitter at last, i figured i’d give it a try, the same for, and i am now a daily, if not more, user.

    I feel it is easy to bond with people with the same interests without shoving information in their face. You can follow people and/or topics without asking for reciprocity or claiming a friendship, which i find to be really refreshing.

  • #7908


    I have not used forums much but have been experimenting recently.  We have a number of blended learners covering the same modules at opposite ends of the country, some have suggested they’d like to be in contact with each other and this could be a way of accomplishing that.

  • #7989


    Hi all

    Interesting conversation going on here about

    A page for this course has been setup at



    Octel tutor

  • #8383

    Gary Vear

    Like a lot of people my main experience is in using forums. My only gripe with this is when posts are out of sync and you can miss a response to your post.

    I’m a big twitter user in my social life but this is the first time I will use it to connect with people professionally.

    My new thing is blogging. Never done it before but thought it would be worth giving it a go, not only for ocTEL but also to comment on various subjects I have an interest in.

    Badges have also caught my attention…I am currently scoping open badges for my organisation as a way of awarding accreditation to volunteer training and I’m hoping that I will be able to use this site (and the badges I earn!) as a case study.

  • #10596

    Sandy Barker

    Hi All

    I have been a traditional forum user but an avid social user of social media. I have spent quite some time in education with Wikis and last year attempted a blog in one of my courses.

    I have just started my own blog for this course and hope to continue once this is over. I will continue to follow forums as well but it will be determined by available time to spend trawling through the posts. I agree with some of the comments above in that is very difficult to keep some forums on track and focussed to make for easy reading

  • #6005


    Another who is happy in forums, time to digest, hone ‘lurking’ skills and reply 🙂

    I’m going to use the course as an opportunity to try beyond the quick login/play I’ve already done.

    In college we are currently considering using WordPress blogs for intranet style announcements plus the sharing of good practice blog posts from curriculum – sharing with all college staff the great work of curriculum and support areas in one place.

    p.s. This is also a great opportunity to see badges in action, I wonder is the motivation to achieve them stronger for willing participants as with other activities – or do they really work engaging reluctant learners.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 4 months ago by  elearnscc.
  • #6098


    I think would be useful to collect various items. Not sure how you collect selected posts though as I have only used this to collect web pages so far. If you find out let me know!

  • #6396

    Helen Crump

    Funny, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of forums; I find following the threads can be a little tricky and time consuming and you don’t always get the same sense of the person and where they’re coming -like you do with a blog. However, I think I’ll try to re -examine this over the duration of the course. I’ll also be interested to see how forums stack up when using mobile devices. That’s an interesting point. Thanks

  • #6388

    Cinzia Gabellini

    Hi Louise

    Thinking from an IT point of view ‘collecting web content is about collecting links’.

    In the grey bar on the top right of each post you see a number (next to the REPLY link), clicking on this number will show up the url to the post in the browser url field. You could then share or collect this link, but need to copy the link and add title/ description manually to or wherever you like.

    Not a very ‘elegant’ solution but …

  • #6859


    Hello Louise,
    I am going to have a look at scoop it. I believe a did look a while back but not as a tool for work.

  • #6856


    Hello Helen,
    I am not a big forum fan either but I am giving it a go today as a new way of communicating. Living on an island online communication is the main way that we can network with others.

  • #8255


    For mobile devices using forums check out I don’t know if it works for all forums, or whether the forum needs to be enabled on Tapatalk. I just know it works with

    Will check out to see what it is and how it is used

  • #6969


    Brilliant- thanks Cinzia I’ll give it a go. I did ‘scoop’ the whole oCTEL site into my but it would be better to be able to focus on specific threads which I want to keep. One thing to consider if we are keeping these for reference later – what happens if the scooped site disappears? Presumably all is lost unless you have copied the text into a blog for instance!

  • #7173

    Helen Crump

    Hello Nicola
    Agreed. I live on the island of Ireland which island do you inhabit? Online networking definitely opens up a whole new world of opportunity and learning. Let’s see where the forums take us.

  • #7785


    Hi all interesting range of tools, ideas and approaches….

    I’m a more visual, hands on social learner and dyslexic…so the idea of blogging myself doesn’t really appeal. Though I follow a variety I find interesting, the thought that others might find my chaotic musings of interest, seems slightly disturbing.

    However experiencing the forums on the Carpe Diem MOOC recently, highlighted the issues iLearninguk has pointed out. It did get very unwieldy as the course progressed.

    So I’m determined to try some alternatives to my usual forums and Pinterest sharing approach. Although I love to use Pinterest as a huge shared database and research tool with my students. We’ve used as a seed source for collaborative work in Prezi and laboratory assignments etc.
    I’ll still use both, but I think I need to start using Twitter, as I’ve had an account basically unused for several years and feel weirdly guilty for not using it! I know I have a lot to learn to use it effectively.

    Have joined the LinkedIn group too, curious to see how that goes, as I’ve really only used that as CV store!

    Also want to look at Feedly to save and share.

    As ever time allowing…I start a new job next week and already have a busy month booked ahead.

    Cheers Ghizzi

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 4 months ago by  Ghizzi_d.
  • #8257


    Pinterest? Damn – now another new thing to check out – and yes I am not very “on-line” – I am sure that is such a noob term, but all this is new to me.

  • #8457

    Cinzia Gabellini

    Hi Ghizzi

    Was on Carpe Diem MOOC too,  and had the same impression about forums. To keep my discussions manageable I focused on the group forums only. Small world, but in my case it worked well. Think forum browsing experience could be improved by the system or usability, e.g display headings using some folding technique, similar to posts on Google+ Community Groups.

    Yes Pinterest is great for collecting content in a visual way. Need to give a try too.

    Good start at the new job!
    Cheers Cinzia

  • #15290


    I think the list of technologies available for communication is so big you have to pick and choose.

    I have a twitter account that Im learning to do more and more with. I don’t think I’ll be using it for reflection, but I did find myself tweeting during a recent conference and making great use of the hash tag to exchange comments with others at the event. I didn’t and wouldn’t have spoken to them at the event otherwise and some of them are still providing great tid-bits of advice and guidance!

    I have a blog which I’m hoping to really make some use of for self reflection. I’ve also started using it for keeping notes of training days and conferences after the event as I may want to refer back later, but don’t really want to create a full blown document on my PC nor have yet something else to loose in my filing cabinet.

    I recently started using Pinterest, but mostly to gather images for inspiration in crafting activities. I can’t see it working for me as a reflective tool, but then I haven’t really had that in mind when I’ve been using it – never say never I guess.

    I have linked-in and facebook accounts, but haven’t done masses with them. I did set up an IFTTT account to link my tweets to linked in when I think they might make a good attachment to my information, but I mostly think of it as a glorified CV so forget to go and check what the groups are doing unless someone prompts me. Facebook is purely for silliness and although I do have colleagues as friends I try to stay away from posting anything more serious than finding out who watched Eurovision at the weekend!

    Finally for me are forums, which I preach the wonders of to tutors in our college, but use quite rarely myself. Maybe this post is the start of a whole new aspect of online communication for me?!


    PS I do use JISCmail a lot at work to keep up with ‘the big topics’ in the areas of information and of technology, but have decided not to use it during ocTEL unless required as I wanted to focus on tools I’ve had less to do with.

  • #8278

    Pinterest? Damn – now another new thing to check out…..”

    @ Graham, :-) Yes, it can seem like an uphill struggle to keep up with all the new social media tools available and coming on the market. A shortage of time and energy generally dictates  that choices have to be made. I am very interested in the ways in which learning professionals make choices to include or exclude technology from their area if interest.


  • #8321


    I live on Guernsey in the Channel Islands. When I started this MOOC I was thinking this was a very new concept to me but I am realising that the internet and social media, particularly twitter, is the way I gain most of my information these days. I think what my online time can lack is focus and I am hoping that this course can bring me that as well as a network of like minded people. I am enjoying playing with scoopit but I am yet to be convinced by public blogging. I think I may be overthinking that one!

  • #8444

    Cinzia Gabellini

    @Graham, thanks for sharing. For my work I need to evaluate the discussion capabilities in wordpress blogs, so your suggestion comes right here.
    Tapatalk says it will work on existing forum systems including wordpress, thats great. As I understand users then need to use the Tapatalk App on their mobile phones. Will check out.

  • #8455

    Thank you for the suggestion about Tapatalk.

  • #8607


    CD-MOOC Badge

    Certified badge owner!

    Has anyone carried out research into badge obsession?


  • #15707

    Helen Crump

    Now I am wondering about the use of Twitter for reflection, sharing that reflection and inviting comment from others. I think it could be useful. It would be a small part of a learn out loud strategy. Once you have reflected on some of your own learning and have maybe written a blogpost, tweet a link to it. Also, it could be good for a short summary of a smaller piece of learning.

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