Let’s Get Going!
We’ll start our journey by getting to know online communities. Let’s examine first the Ning platform. Any teacher can support their work by starting an online community. The community may consist of the students and function as a course platform such as Moodle and Pedanet. It can also be built for communication between the professionals in a specified field.
The advantage of services such as Ning is that, for a small fee or completely free-of-charge, the teacher has the usage of many tools on the same platform. The discussion forum, blog, chat and rss-feeds are right at your fingertips. It is also possible to create various groups within the community that cater to your own tasks and interests. The creation of a community is easy – even a beginner can do it. And all the elements are there, ready to use.
This Is Easy – Give It a Try!
The first thing to do when starting a community is to create your own profile: you give the required information and add a photograph. On Ning, everyone has their own page – My Page – which shows your own messages on the forum and the blog posts next to your personal information. In other words, your own page offers easy access to all the materials you’ve produced.
You’ll get to your blog by clicking the Blogs link on the bar at the top of the page. The view that opens up has a list of all blog posts and a menu which allows you to move to your own blog and modify it. You can start a new post by clicking the Add blog post link, which opens an easy-to-use text editor. The keywords or tags will help you to find the texts dealing with the same topics.
Content Trumps Technique
Content, participation and interaction with others are priorities in an online community. Openly sharing interesting content takes a little effort and attitude. Discussion of online communities often raises the issues of crowdsourcing and collective intelligence. Problems can be solved collectively on the forums, and the other members of the community can offer assistance. In practice, the results of crowdsourcing depend on how committed people are to working together.
Then again, participation is affected by the atmosphere, which is why it is recommended to pay particular attention to the tone of your messages. In speech, the tones are expressed in multiple ways, but in writing the dialogue easily becomes monotonous. The tone of your answers gets better if you have the patience to read what others have said a few times over. Allusions to the texts the others have written adds to the conversational feel.
Are You Familiar Yet with Sometu?
Sometu is a Finnish online community which promotes the usage of social media in learning. Operating on the Ning platform, it is a network which has over 3 599 teaching professionals. There are as many as 81 discussion groups for the developers of work communities, IT trainers, library people, those interested in wikis and so on.
Next to Ning, there are many other services which offer platforms for online communities – for example, Elgg and Grou.ps. All of them offer plenty of material to familiarize yourself with the service either on their own web pages or on YouTube. These become helpful when you’re creating your own community.