Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Identity & Ownership

I listened to the recording of James Farmer's lecture on Indentity and Ownership from last Thursday and came away with the following.

  • Using bulletin boards/forums are useful for individuals to express a view or seek help on a specific issue but are less conducive to effective discussions. (As shown by our 'persona' task perhaps).
  • Learning management systems (which can include bulletin boards) have been developed in response to teacher's needs to deliver content online and not necessarily as as an aid to communication. Hence LMS are not always successful in creating communities.
  • Blogs, on the other hand, enable effective communication to exist which can be recorded, archived and shared easily. A blog also gives the 'teacher' a chance to create a 'social presence'.

LMS/Bulletin Board


  • Difficult to interact.
  • Individuals search for relevant content rather than communication?
  • Interaction exists (comments/links)
  • Personality can be developed over time.
  • 'Real' life commentary can help establish identity.
  • Diffcult to build a presence.
  • Work created and copied to Word docs - requires extra effort/skill
  • Work archived and/or shared.
  • Central hub eases management of communication

My experience with Blackboard (during previous papers on this course) leads me to disagree to a certain extent. Through some extensive posting and discussion (including 'real' life stuff) there were some very strong identities created. Group tasks which resulted in a concluding post led to quite a bit of discussion especially when the activity was being assessed! However, the ownership issue is apparent as once access to the course LMS is removed there is a lot of work lost - unless you were organised enough to make copies of everything. Did we create a community? By the end of the paper I think we did. Will the blogs be more successful? My impression is that one blog as the 'strong coherent hub' (James' term I think) could be, although at present it still feels like a muddle (emails, googlegroups, blogs). With a bit more knowledge about RSS I'm hoping I can grasp the idea of creating a 'hub'!


Leigh said...

Hi Yvonne,

I think you are right. Identity can develop inside a forum space.. but it is an identity developed inside a group environment and so determined largely by the group. So I think identity is closely linked with ownership.

Take our initial efforts at blogging as an example. Already I am seeing deeper and more considered writing on each person's blog - could this be because the blog is owned by a person and therefore more closely tied to their identity? Over time this can only increase, and where as in a forum your identity is developed and tied to that group, your blog (or other personal web presence) can move with you and develop as you develop.

I'm not saying you are wrong. You are right - identities do flourish in forums.. its just a different type of identity that James is talking about I think.

Perhaps this 8 min video of Stephen Downes talking about the difference between groups and networks will challenge you further?

Yvonne said...

Hi Leigh

Your point certainly makes sense about 'group identity' as opposed to 'individual identity'. I didn't pick up on that distinction - but will now be able to reflect on that as we progress.

Thanks for the video link. Frustratingly my work computer cannot access all the video links you offer up - I'll have to make the effort to look them up from home.

bronwyn said...

the table puts all the aspects together. I have used Bulletin Boards (pre-Blackboard) and discussion Boards in Blackboard as well as email groups with Discussion Boards AND I have to say I find using a blog much more personal. I feel as if what i post is linked more closely to my identity rather than to an assignment or a question from the teacher ever can.

I have just started using blogs in teaching in the last 18 mths and am really enjoying the experience. a lot of new jiggling though and it forces us to be more organised doesn't it?