Week 2 Overview
We have an itch. We want to scratch it started us off in week one – our first insight! The second is insight; the research framework upon which we base the fundamentals of the innovation. From an online groupscommunities/networks perspective, this implies we have a sense of how to match need to form. This week we are slipping back to the past for a moment to understand how we got to the range of options we have for online interaction today, then we’ll begin to differentiate what those forms and tools can do for our research framework.
Technology has changed what it means to be together. We are no longer confined to geography. With the first networked interaction platform like PLATO in 1973 at the University of Illinois, to today’s wide range of social networking sites, we can “be” together across time and distance. This has impacted our human group formation practices as well. While the term “online community” is used to describe a very diverse set of configurations, it might be helpful to explore more closely the variety this term encompasses. Or even start using more precise language.
To prepare for our conversations, please listen to the 11 minute talk by Howard Rheingold on networks
and Nancy White’s short talks with Matt Moore on this issue. If you want something longer, see “Me, We, the Network” from an IBM presentation (1 hour). Then scan our resources and look for items tagged week2 to see if there are other readings/watchings that might be helpful to you. We did not emphasize these readings in week one, so you might also want to peek at the week 1 resources. Drive your own learning! Pick the readings that resonate with the research and learning agendas you drafted in your blogs last week.
Then join our online conversation about how we use these online forms for open and innovative design.
Below is a graphic recording of a talk Nancy did on this subject a while back. We’re sharing the visual because some of you have already noted the value of using different modalities. Some of you have been sharing your art! (Terrific!)
Discussion # 2: Individuals, Groups and Networks
The rise of “online communities” is not new — for many of you online communities have been around as long as you have been alive. Yet we go through cycles of re invention and discovery based on new perspectives and applications. New technologies give us new ways of “being together.” This diversity presents us with both an opportunity and a challenge. How do we usefully utilize these opportunities for innovation and open design? What forms of online groups serve the “four i’s?” In this discussion we’ll start by differentiating and analyzing different online social networks. Where is the online empowerment of the individual (me?) most useful? Where is the bounded group or team best utilized? Where is the open network, the sweet spot across the four ‘i’s’ ? How do you strategically choose where to engage for which phase of the innovation cycle? Consider some of the comments about Facebook in week one (social, distraction) And Make sure you watched the videos listed above to start discerning the difference between individual, group/community and network!
Teamwork Activity #2 – Your Group’s Research Framework
In week one you were asked to articulate and define the scope of your group project and post a link for your instructors. This week, your task is to more explicitly state your project research questions and understand where you can gain insights into those questions.
- With your group, you will decide who will do what in your research process. By the end of next week you should have:
- Identified how the “me, we, network” continuum is present in your research area. How are individuals empowered in your area? How are groups and networks contributing? Give examples and if possible, tap your team’s connections and networks and get some first hand accounts. Document this online somewhere and share the URL with your instructors.
- Narrow down to 2 online spaces you want to explore within the context of your group’s theme and our context of international development. Note the URL of the the group/community/network(s) you will join or observe, or your proposal to start a new group for your community project.
- Identify who will do what on your team and demonstrate any insights you had in making those selections. How are you (or not) tapping into individual’s connections and networks? How are you defining project roles in groups and initial tasks and responsibilities? Document this online somewhere and share the URL with your instructors in the comment section of this page. Again, please pay attention to and make notes on both process and content.
Personal Blog Reflection Prompt #2 – A personal research experiment
Think about your own network(s). Do you use online spaces primarily as an individual, which implies you find and harvest information, but perhaps don’t interact much with others online? Are you a member of defined and bounded groups? Or do you interact along the way as you intersect with others in the wider network? Which is most valuable to you? Which is most comfortable? Explain. If you use Facebook you might enjoy looking at the TouchGraph Facebbook browser tool. Finally, what new area or type of use might you experiment with in your online networks? Create an experiment and begin!
Post your reflection on your Tumblr blog and tag it #week2reflection
Resources to share
- Howard Rheingold’s Technology of Cooperation (PDF) and A Mini Course on Network and Social Network Literacy (11 minute video) See more related videos by Rheingold
- Review Wenger-Trayner’s Communities versus Networks and How are Communities of Practice Different from More Familiar Structures Like Teams or Task Forces looking at these different forms from a communities of practice perspective.