As part of the Learning 2.0 programme at Imperial College, all those taking part have been asked to setup a blog, and use this to reflect on each week’s activities.
I’ve setup RSS feeds for all the blogs setup as part of Learning 2.0 to track what people think, and when I think I can usefully respond to a post, I leave a comment.
I think that one of the key features is that they not only allow anyone to easily publish to the web, but that they encourage a dialogue to take place – it isn’t just about the author, but about the readers as well.
It seems a shame that I am one of the few people leaving comments on these blogs, as it is when people leave comments that you actually realise as an author that you have an audience who are engaging with what you write.
I’d suggest that commenting on blogs becomes part of the Learning 2.0 programme in the future.
Technorati Tags: learning2.0
Microsoft recently (quietly) announced a Creative Commons plugin for Office 2007 that enables you to add a Creative Commons license to your documents (Word, Excel and Powerpoint).
I installed this yesterday, but only got around to having a look at it this morning when I was prompted by a post by Paul Walk about the use of Creative Commons to license his blog posts.
The first thing I wondered is whether the plugin also worked for
Liver Live Writer (Microsoft’s blog authoring tool, which I use). No such luck, although Tim Heuer has kindly written a Creative Commons plugin for Live Writer which you can use.
Anyway, back to Office 2007 – I created a new Word document, and started to apply a license. Rather than offering me all the licenses, I first had to ‘create’ a license – a wizard helped me through this step-by-step, although the wording at each stage could have been clearer and more helpful (e.g. the first step asks you to choose between ‘Creative Commons’, ‘Public Domain’ and ‘Sampling’ without any explanation as to what the differences are)
The ‘Sampling’ license intrigued me, as it seemed to relate to something Andy Powell blogged about where someone had taken an entire presentation by Andy from Slideshare (licensed under creative commons), and uploaded to a similar site called ‘Authorstream’. In his post Andy says what he really wants is a license that says “you can take this content, unbundle it, and use the parts to create a new derivative work but you can't simply copy the whole work and republish it on the Web unchanged”. It seemed to me that the ‘Sampling’ license was exactly this. However, when I applied the license to my doc, and followed the link to the license I found this text:
“This license is retired. Do not use for new works.” (at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/sampling/1.0/)
(it seems that the Creative Commons site needs some tidying, as there is still what looks like current information on the Sampling license at http://creativecommons.org/about/sampling)
I should say, it is great to see Microsoft offering the plugin – although there is room for improvement…
The TFPL blog has an interesting post on some comments from a focus group on Social Computing (and it's use in the workplace)
To draw out some specific comments/points:
- The Civil Service code for online participation
- Example of the reduction of email "burden" by use of a wiki
- A company responding (positively) to a negative 'Tweet' about them
- "IT must learn to trust people with tools and increase its user focus"
- How a tool is rolled out impacts on whether it increases or decreases workload
Technorati Tags: learning2.0
This week the Learning 2.0 at Imperial course is looking at RSS
One of the activities is to subscribe to 10 or more feeds on Bloglines or Google Reader, but as I've got loads of feeds in my reader already (I use Google Reader), I thought I could do something else instead. What I've done is create an 'OPML' (Outline Processor Markup Language) file for all the blogs created by participants in the Learning 2.0 programme.
What is an OPML file? It is essentially a format for lists, which computers can read (similar to RSS, it uses XML to give structure). Probably the most common use of OPML is to list RSS feeds for import or export to/from RSS readers like Bloglines and Google Reader.
The OPML file for all the Learning 2.0 blogs is available at http://www.meanboyfriend.com/overdue_ideas/learning_20/learning_20_opml.xml – if you click this link, and download the file, then you can import it into your feed reader software. For example in Google Reader, find the option 'Manage subscriptions', choose 'Import/Export', use the 'Browse' option to find the file on your computer (where you previously downloaded it) and click 'Upload' – this should get you all the RSS feeds for the Learning 2.0 blogs.
Bloglines also supports the import of OPML files – see http://www.bloglines.com/help/faq#import.
I've created a couple of other OPML files as well:
Feel free to download these and import them into your reader (although be warned that the last one has a lot of feeds in it, and following this number of feeds can be a bit intimidating)
I note that several participants in the Learning 2.0 programme at Imperial have
mentioned that dealing with all the additional accounts they are
creating as they take part in the course (so far, MSN/Windows Live,
Wordpress, Wetpaint, Bloglines or Google Reader)
Where services are offered by the Imperial ICT
service one advantage is that they usually integrate with the standard Imperial
username and password – so you only have to remember one login. It may
also be worth mentioning that Wetpaint supports a login method called ‘OpenID‘
which is a way of using a single username/password (owned by the user,
not by the service they are logging in to), to access many sites. In
theory it is a great idea, although in practice it isn’t always as easy
to use as you might wish (see http://electronicmuseum.org.uk/2008/07/16/openid-fail/ for a critique of OpenID)
I’ve been on holiday for a week, and so missed the ‘wiki’ week of the Learning 2.0 programme at Imperial. I’m playing catchup now, and have setup a page in the Wetpaint wiki that has been setup for the course – it’s members only I’m afraid.
Although many participants in the course have created a wiki page, I feel that a focus to the wiki activity would have been helpful. It seems to me that getting each person to setup a wiki page really is similar to the ‘create a blog’ exercise, and doesn’t encourage the collaborative working that wikis are ideal for.
The course organisers put together a list of all the participants, with their MSN account and blog details (these were setup in week 1) – I’d suggest that asking people to enter their own details into the wiki would have demonstrated the way a collaborative effort can work. Perhaps also a community Q and A page for the programme – where people on the course can both post questions, and answers, to get a sense of community to emerge.
We already have some great examples of using wikis in the library – the Spiral project, and the IRD team have used it to create documentation (two members of the IRM team comment on how well the wiki works for their documentation either on their wiki page or on their blogs), and I’ve used it for some brainstorming around the creation of a digital library strategy (something that I really need to get back to soon). These all use wiki software called Confluence which is supported by Imperial’s ICT service. Confluence is essentially a wiki, but also supports a few other functions, like blogs.
We have also started to try out ‘Sharepoint’ – a collaboration tool from Microsoft – this supports a wide range of different types of collaboration, including wiki-type functions – this is currently being trialled by the Learning Development team in the library.
What we haven’t done in the library at Imperial (yet) is try using wikis in a user-facing environment. The kind of thing we could look at is creating documentation which can be edited and updated by students – so that we can see some peer-to-peer support going on. I’m not sure if this would be successful – it may be that students are happy to share with their peers in other environments (in the cafe, on Facebook etc.) rather than in an ‘official’ library environment – but it would be an interesting experiment…