Saturday, June 08, 2002 has some very interesting "self-organizing" work underway. The Galileo Network Projects page lists current projects. The Alberta 2005 By Kids for Kids project represents an example of what can happen when participants meet online to socialize, "self-organize" and generally construct learning. As with all learning, the journey is always more important than the destination.

Having the student drive the process of meeting Learning Objectives seems to me to be an effective way to ensure that learning needs will be met. Providing a means for faculty, staff, students and learners to "connect" online to determine how best to meet their educational needs will help to ensure that skill and knowledge gaps are bridged -- by and for the members of the community itself. Powerful stuff.

As an online student, I know there's nothing quite like getting the "straight goods" from a classmate. I know I'm less concerned about asking a "stupid" question of a peer than the prof. Besides, the peer has first-hand experience of the online environment and may recognize my situation and contextualize the information provided. "Yeah, I know that's a drag, happened to me too, here's what I did ...."

More on OSOSS -- Gaming the system: How moderation tools can backfire by Derek M. Powazek, Posted 2002.05.30 and cited in the 2002.06.07 edition of the dailyLinks from elearningpost.

Friday, June 07, 2002

I've updated my home page at OISE to reflect ongoing research in online self-organinzing social systems (OSOSS). Click here to learn more.

Well, I made it back. Because this is a learning diary I thought I'd write a little about the things I learned this week in the Big Easy:

For instance, I learned:

  • how to eat crawfish
  • how to get to Bourbon St.
  • do not enter into bets with anyone you meet in the French Quarter

Thankfully, I didn't have to learn any of these the "hard way."

After four days spent at a trade show, the Big Easy is one of my favorite towns. Rich with culture and history there really is something for everyone. The Mississippi River brings trade to the port of New Orleans. Port cities are notorious for the "characters" they attract. Think of any major port city. Pick your favourite -- Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Montreal -- each has a character and a culture all its own. I'd pick New Orleans for my next visit out of those listed. Don't get me wrong -- the other cities certainly have their selling points, but I'd pick the Big Easy for a return trip by a long shot.

I've never encountered a city with such a wide variety of both music and food options. I can't imagine what the city's like during Mardi Gras. Given what little exposure I had to the French Quarter (Sun through Wed nights in June) I can't imagine what happens on weekends, let alone Fat Tuesday.

Monday, June 03, 2002

I'm making this post from New Orleans, LA. The site of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) annual conference for 2002. I'm here to work the booth we have on the exhibitor's floor of the conference. I know from personal experience that the SMART Board(tm) interactive whiteboard is a very valuable tool for trainers and I'm happy to be here demonstrating the Roomware(tm) product line for the training market.

I'm also enjoying the city of New Orleans -- the food, the music and the culture have all been great. The heat and humidity have been a bit of an adjustment for this Calgarian to handle, but after the winter-like spring we've had in the Great White North, it's a good problem to have.