Pageflakes down Mon 14th March

We have a new participant in FO2011 overnight, Audrey Campbell, plus I noticed Sarah’s link to my first Pageflakes blog post when I created the FO2011 “pagecast”.  Went to add Audrey’s blog, but my browser complained it could not connect to my pageflakes page, and when I tried http://www.pageflakes.com, I got the same response.  Looks like their server maybe quite poorly.  If it doesn’t recover, we’ll have to think of some other way of aggregating our blogs and other resources in one place, if people think that would be helpful. Google sites is one freebie, and there’s also GroupSpaces.  Any other suggestions will be gladly welcomed.

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Scribbling

I stumbled on another collaboration site today – scribblar.com. Delighted to say it’s a UK business 😉 At first glance it looks like it’s aiming at the educational market, so it might be something we explore in the course. It might also be something to keep in the toolbox for more general use. Anyone else come across it? Views on its usefulness?

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FO2011 aims

Not before time, I’ve tried to set out what I want from the course – thanks Sarah for the nudge 😉

I think there are broadly four areas I want to explore through the course.  To set some background, the huge majority of my facilitation since I became freelance has been for fairly structured workshops.  I see some delegates delegates more than once, and sometimes a workshop may be a follow on from an earlier one, but often they’re standalone.  Their purpose is usually sharing experience.  And I act as an agent for my client organisation, so I get brought in to refine the agenda and then run the workshop.  The ratio of physical to online workshops is about 80:20.

  • I’d like to do more in the creative problem solving area, though I think that might be challenging to do online.
  • I’m also interested in how one works with a group for a series of workshops or other interactions.  Again, online makes that more “interesting”.
  • And I want to improve my online presence – more and better work-related tweets, a regular blog that addresses interaction (broadening out facilitation, meetings and workshops) and IT.  So I’m hoping, by practice on the course and by exposure to more “professional” bloggers and tweeters, to find a good rhythm for my online postings and a better (more appropriate?) writing style.
  • And lastly, I’m also interested in facilitating asynchronous interactions and groups.

So, what help would help?  I think some of what I’m looking for I can probably work out – it may even be just a matter of systematising things I already know but haven’t quite realised that I do.  But having a periodic challenge from someone else to make me reflect or to suggest a direction I may not have spotted would keep me on track.  Plus I’d really appreciate critiques of my postings on style as well as content. And last, but not least, the occasional nag if I appear to have gone quiet 😉

Having said “last” already, here’s the real last thing for this post.  This course looks designed to be very interactive, with all of us participants contributing to each other’s work.  Blog posting is not just for the sake of it, but to help our fellow students on their journeys.  I hope I make the time to do this for everyone.

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Pageflakes

When this course ran in 2008, one of the participants set up a web page on Pageflakes to bring all the students’ blogs together.  I’ve had a go for the 2011 group here.  There’s a “flake” for each blog page where I could find an RSS feed.  There’s one where I couldn’t, so I created a flake to add the URL (URI for the purists) for each such blog.

I also included a welcome piece, a message board (which seems to work as a stack – i.e. the most recent post appears at the top), and a flake of useful sites including a world time and date website.

At the moment, I’ve set the “Pagecast” (as Pageflakes calls it) as completely open, so anyone on the internet can fnd the page.  My idea is to let anyone on FO2011 have editing rights, but I’ll need email addresses to do that.  I wouldn’t suggest you add email addresses to this post, so if you want to email me (cw “at” cwoodhouse “dot” com), or send me an Instant Message via Skype (my Skype username is on the participants page of the course wiki) with your email address, I’ll add you to the list of editors for the FO2011 Pagecast

I’d also be interested to hear any views on whether the FO2011 Pagecast is OK to be kept public, or made private so only FO2011 participants can see it or edit it.  I’ll still need your email address to grant access if we end up changing it to private.

Thoughts?…

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Connecting

Week 1 of the course starts on Monday, with the first meeting scheduled Thu 10th – at least here in the UK.  I can’t make the first meeting (07:00 UK, 20:00 NZ) but I’m all set for the second (23:00 Thu 10/3 UK, 12:00 Fri 11/3 NZ) and looking forward to getting started.  I’m hoping to be a bit more systematic about establishing and keeping in touch with the other participants this time, so this afternoon I’m working my way through the list of participants, checking out their blogs and requesting connections through all the ways they have listed in their entries.  I’ve already had a couple of visits to my blog, so thanks to everyone for that.  I’ve also ticked the “Watch this page” box when I edited the participants page (to add my LinkedIn details) so hopefully I’ll get notified as new participants join the course.

I use bit.ly a fair bit and I’ve registered for an account – it’s free and it allows you to set up customised bit.ly links, so you don’t have to accept the random strings of characters bit.ly usually offers up when shortening web addresses.  I’ve set up a custom link for the home page of the course wiki, seeing as the address is a bit of a mouthful.  So if you want to share it with other people, point them to bit.ly/FO2011 – but note that the address is case sensitive.  “FO2011” is not the same as “fo2011” for bit.ly.

See you all next week – and hopefully on Twitter, Skype, LinkedIn etc etc as the course progresses.

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Registration incentive

The fee levels for Facilitated Students and Formal Students have now been added to the course wiki.  Facilitated looks like a bargain at under £100 so I’m going to enrol at least at that level.  Considering Formal Student, which is less than £250.  I’m hoping that even just the cost of being a Facilitated Student will be an incentive to see the course through when “stuff” intervenes (as it’s bound to) and life gets busy.  Be interesting to see if anyone else registers as other than an Informal Student.

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Third time lucky

I’m signing up again for Facilitating Online.  Hopefully this time I’ll get the time management bit right and get to the end 😉  Really enjoyed starting the last couple of times, and looking forward to #VIDM2011 Virtual International Day of the Midwife
http://internationaldayofthemidwife.wikispaces.com/ midway through this year’s course.

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