A Great Launch

What a great day we had for our Launch.  Lots of excited discussion amongst “the converted”.  But a couple of confused and overwhelmed e-Learning newcomers also made their feeling known.  Which is great!  So important for us all to remember how overwhelming the world of e-Learning and technology generally can be.

leanne-fitzgerald-at-the-launch-in-benalla-oct-16

 

 

We started the day with Leanne Fitzgerald from Coonara relating some of her experiences
with NEVCOP.  Why do we think a Community of Practice will be of benefit for Learn Locals trying to embed e-Learning.

 

 

 

Then Karen continued on that theme asking us all some very relevant questions.

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Next was a tour of the online Community with information about how to start when you first enter.  We are asking people to complete an e-skills audit so we can have a benchmark to measure progress at the end of the project.  Then newcomers to the Community are invited to introduce themselves in the Introduction Forum.

We had  a bit of fun with a Kahoot Quiz.  This is a great new tool which is free and very easy to use.  It can be used for checking students knowledge.

karen-shows-us-the-coonara-ch-moodle-launch-in-benalla-oct-16

 

We also had a chat about what those who are using moodle for online learning and/or blended delivery have been doing.  Coonara, YNH and Cobram Community House were all able to show us around their courses.

 

 

tools

 

 

Liz from Cobram finished the day with a demonstration of a few free online tools that many of us are using either in our blended/online courses or just generally within our organisations.

 

Now on to the next challenge – to extend the reach of the community to more Learn Locals.

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North East e-Learning Community of Practice Launch

The launch of our new community will be held on Tuesday 4th October at the DET Conference Room, 150 Bridge Street East, Benalla from 10:00am – 2:30pm.

We have an exciting program planned which has something for the more experienced e-learning practitioner as well as those with very little experience – plus a delicious lunch and morning tea!

Program

Welcome and Introduction to the Project

Why a Community of Practice?
Presented by Leanne Fitzgerald and Karen George – stars of the NEVCOP Project

Tour of the Online Community

Morning Tea

Kahoot with  Karen

Demonstration of Moodle Courses currently being used in Learn Locals

Lunch

Simple Tools even you can use to introduce e-learning

Conclusion – Where to from here?

The Community is Buzzing

Well here we are, a couple of months in and the community is really starting to buzz!  We have 10 people regularly visiting and most of them are also contributing.  This is IMO a fantastic result!

This from one of our early participants:

“Quite enjoying being involved. Feeling a bit overwhelmed with the enormity of this week but posting at the end of the day is becoming a fabulous release valve. So, thanks for the opportunity.”  Karen George

The interface of the Community has evolved and whilst I am no graphic artist, as least it looks colourful.  And I have created a video to explain the aims which participants see as soon as they come in.

The next step is to invite others in and get them as enthused as we are.  So now onto the planning for our Launch!

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Planning gets underway

Our first planning meeting with all the partners and supporting partners has been held.  We ran the meeting in our Virtual Meeting Room which is in Big Blue Button.  All participants were able to access the meeting and all had audio.  A great start for those who were new to Big Blue Button.

We discussed what makes a good online community and how we want the community to look and feel.  Also ways of engaging participants.

All the research we have been doing points to the fact that a really strong strategy is needed to ensure the sustainability of the community and that we need to start small and grow the community gradually.

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The next step is to start some conversations and get the community looking like it is “buzzing” and then invite some further participants in to join the party.

What makes a Good Community of Practice

Community of practice imageExciting times!  A new Community of Practice is about to be born.  But more on that later.  For now it is time to explore best practice for setting up and maintaining a great community of practice.

So what is it that makes people engage and re engage in a Community of Practice.  Answering this question will be paramount because without engagement there is no community.

There are lots of resources available.  One of my favourite community practitioners in Nancy White.  Her fantastic book Digital Habitats  has been on my digital bookshelf for a few years now.  Finally I have a really good reason to read it properly rather than just skimming.

I have also joined Feverbee.  It is also a great resources with lots of active forums to explore.  I came across Feverbee several years ago and it has grown and changed a lot since I lasted visited.  So they must be doing a lot right.

So the research and planning stage begins!  I would love to hear others experiences so I will be sharing in the hope that others will comment.