I’m with you, if it doesn’t pick up in here, I’m out. I don’t even know what the goal of this group is, it’s one reason I chose the article I did – to raise some important questions. What’s our goal? (Am I the only one who doesn’t know what the goal is?) P2PU keeps coming up, are we a task team focused on identifying best practices for P2PU? If so, please let me know.
I joined this group because I thought the goal was reading and discussing articles on peer learning. To be completely honest, the real reason I joined is because Stian and Rebecca joined, and I took a P2PU course with Stian last year that was excellent (Intro to CSCL). I assumed that this course would be like that one, just with a different leader. In that course, we had an online chat the first week (and every week of the course) and it was great. Not just the chat, the whole course. Papers were sometimes good, sometimes great, no real duds that I can remember. Stian, Monica (who led the course with Stian) and I wrote regularly in our blogs, commented in each other’s blogs (in fact, many of my blog entries that are still get a lot of views often were written during that course). It was, quite honestly, a great learning experience. We were a tight group, we learned a lot. It was fun! Yes, we got off topic, yes, we spent too much time trying to decide if we’d made an end product or not, yes, we got tied up in whether we wanted badges or not (what is the big deal about badges? I have never understood it). But it was a great course, and the level of dialogue exceeded any I’ve had in my recent M.A. and Ph.D. courses. I have to say that Monica and Stian worked extremely hard the whole time to keep interaction and learning at such a high level. And their hearts (and minds) were in it.
But I don’t even know what the goal of this course is, there is little or no feeling of us being a cohesive group, several articles now have been identified as out of date, articles have been suggested by members who don’t even comment on the paper they suggested, half or more of the original members haven’t posted since the first week, and Jessy and I have been working our butts off to keep it going at all (Rebecca gave it a good shot too but is busy now with her thesis and other commitments, she may be back). Still, Stian is posting now, and you have joined, and Thieme posts now and then, but it’s just such a different experience that I am wondering if I shouldn’t be spending my time reading the articles I want to read (mostly cognitive stuff and dist cog stuff, all dated, all seminal). I thought I’d give it one last effort and try to identify some of the problems I see in the hopes of improvement, but so far there is little discussion of how to make it better, just complaints about the article. Please do suggest an article on how to imrove participation in online groups that is more recent and more rigorous, if you know of one. I looked at about 5 other articles that had some good points to make but the groups they studied had members in the thousands, so much of what they discussed was irrelevant to us. This is the only article I found that had practical suggestions for small online groups, and I stand by the 4 principles and pointers to success, simply because they coincide with my own experience.
So yes, I’m feeling much like you do at the moment. It’s not what I was expecting, maybe it’s my own fault for expecting too much. So what I am doing this week is giving it my all, trying to get participation up, I feel some obligation to Jessy and Stian to try to get some dialogue going on what needs to change in here if we want to become a real community of practice (no, we are not one now, we are barely a community now). If it doesn’t work, I’ll know I did my best and I have every right to leave. Still, Stian is here (sometimes :) and Jessy is great and I think we do have a diverse and interesting group of participants (the problem being that they are not participating), so maybe we just need to get organized and get some social interaction going and some way of choosing papers that results in great dialogues… I don’t know, call me a die hard, but I still see a glimmer of hope for this group. I've seen what a great learning experience a P2PU course can be. And hey, with such a rocky start, wouldn’t it be cool if we DID turn into a great community. We could be the Rocky of CoPs… :)
So, in closing, welcome to the group!