Drupal-based Social Learning is taking shape — you wanna play?

Social Learning

One down, two to go. This week’s big event is the BCcampus Spring Workshop on EdTech. Although the workload issues are a little daunting, I’m excited how it’s all shaping up. I’m scheduled to lead a session on Social Software, and by a fortuitous set of circumstances it appears my longtime co-conspirator D’Arcy Norman will be joining me.

What’s planned right now is a variation on the workshop I did with Alan last week. But since BCcampus has funded the Social Learning project, and this gathering is pretty much the intended audience, it seemed like an obvious place to take the nascent site SocialLearning.ca out for a spin.

A lot of people have been involved with the long, at times painfully slow (maybe not-so-slow considering who has been coordinating) evolution of the site: Bryght, Raincity Studios, Katy Chan from UVic, Jo McFetridge from BCIT, and Jason Toal from SFU (among others — I’m not even gonna go into the many organizational hands who’ve been vital). All of whom are simply tremendous talents.

It’s taken me a while, but I am increasingly coming to appreciate the power of Drupal. It is of course an immense help to have had D’Arcy poking around in there lately — the dude knows a thing or two about the system, and he also has a most groovy sensibility. Some fairly small but critical changes that he has implemented (like the improved site tagcloud) have really made the place feel more like home. (And Jason is still buzzing around in there doing cool things.)

I hope that Thursday’s workshop will be, among other things, an effective and persuasive demonstration of the platform. And more importantly, I’m hoping the occasion will give us the clearest possible sense of whether this site is going to be useful to educators here in BC and beyond. I am hopeful that with some work this will be a pretty good collection of resources, a repository with a bit of zip. What we might learn this week is if the site can be more than that, whether it can be a place that promotes collaboration amongst peers. I don’t think that communities can be created, they need to form, so that remains to be seen. Maybe this Thursday will be Social Learning’s coming-out party, maybe Yet Another Flogging Demo. In any event, I think this workshop is going to be fun, and I’ve already learned a lot.

As the site edges closer to full-scale operation, I want to take this opportunity to invite you to join the site as a contributor. Signing up allows you to add materials, and gets you a blog within the blog, here’s mine — as you can see, there’s no rule against repurposing your content for this space. If you have stuff that you think might be useful, but don’t have time to submit it yourself, by all means drop me a line.

And if you will be in Comox for this event, you have until tomorrow to sign up for the workshop. Though there’s no shortage of promising options at this week’s gathering. There are two sessions on wikis (one by John Maxwell, another with Roy Sinn), a podcasting workshop (Frank Fucile and Glen Lowry), and Scott Leslie will be doing a session on reusable content which if history serves will be excellent. And my colleagues Kele Fleming, Tannis Morgan, and Jan Johnson will also be there with a workshop on assessment that is based on a very successful previous iteration. There’ll be some good learnin’ and fun to be had in the valley this week.

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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