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'.
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'!