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Live notes from DML Commons Intro Hangout 23 March:

Here are my notes for the first 30 minutes of the March 23 Introductory #dmlcommons hangout (exported  to Evernote from

I’ve found a Why? and I’ve found a How? I’ve set the Why comments below in blue.

TIP: Click on the + sign for any line to open the video source in context. This will open in the same window you are in. The relevant time stamp will be highlighted. Click that time stamp to go to that point in the video. You need to have the plug-in for Chrome enabled for this to work.

+ Alan: Connected courses project brings people in to talk about people working together on blogs and connecting together through a central course.
+ Include your blog here at any time.
+ Why would researchers blog?
+ Keeps an ongoing narrtion of things that are important and that are not important.
+ Creates a record or narrative of what you’ve been thinking about and working on
+ Connects you to others who are thinking about the same things.
+ Howard: Uses as an “outboard brain” – for incomplete thoughts, stuff that won’t be edited lot.
+ A collection of spare parts.
+ Things that you throught out for a public that is potentially responsive.
+ Thinking in public, with a public, can help you to refine your thoughts.
+ This connects you to a community.
+ DS106 was the beginning, using WP
+ Provided students for an individual voice in their own space.
+ Public communication is important – it isn’t about closed groups, peer-reviewed journals and so on.
+ Having control over your own online platform is important. It means that you are the publisher and you “have your hands on the mechanics” – you are indepenednt and empowered.
+ Jim: Works with faculty across disciplines to think about the relevnce of digital media to scholarship. Faculty need their own space.
+ Faculty resisted – is this part of my tenure package?
+ Group blogs for academics help them to understand what the point is. They are building a community in space they control.
+ Many faculty at MWU now have their own WP blogs.
+ Some develop these into group blogs that involve scholars from other countries, or become conference blogs…
+ Alan: Use blogs as a way to think in public – a notebook – write about what’s interesting to you.
+ Public activity creates a “serendipity potential energy field”
+ Personal blogs do not disappear when the course is over and connections also persit.
+ Students decide what to include and what not to include.
+ Content is more important than presentation. Blog content is stored differently than formatting is so the entire blog can be reformatted easily. Focus on content.
+ Howard: titles of posts are important. Learn to think of good titles quickly.
+ Blogs are a ‘WORK IN PROGRESS’ you can customize it later.
+ What is it like to get started as a blogger?
+ People think with their finger tips so get started and see where it goes.
+ Jim: Got profession for what he needed to do.
+ Started to blog about his work – became a professional blogger.
+ Bulding a professional network helped to develop skills rapidly.
+ Someone is always reading. If you blog, pepole will find you and read what you’re saying.
+ When you put yourself out there, something more will come back… manifestly far more.
+ Reflect quickly. YOu don’t need completely formed thoughts. It can just be a record of where you are.
+ Reading this on other people’s blogs can be disorienting. Over time, you build up a sense of what is going on.
+ You are following lives and ideas as much as you are following a discipline.
+ It is humanizing. It is an investment and it takes a lot of time.
+ I’m going to become a digital scholar, to become a connected scholar … this will take a lot of time.
+ Howard: Blogging is leveraging. You put out what you’re doing and it comes back as more.
+ Share what interests you. This is a small investment. People will understand your interest and will reciprocate.
+ Rhetorics of blogging: link share, write something about a link, tell people why they should read this; reflect, just say what you’re thinking about – you don’t need to refer to what your reading – you can include link or reference; critique – link to something and say why you disagree; advocate – others who share this advocacy will respond.
+ Alan: Gardner Campbell – do you need to summarize an entire paper? Go for the nugget. What is it there that sparks your interest. Follow your reactions.
+ Look for something outside the scope of your research.
+ Draw in unlikely links – disconnected things and bring them in.
+ Jim: Working in different spaces – twitter, flicker, tumbler … each has a different character.
+ Link to someones blog – this creates a connection – an ET Moment.

So, why participate in DML Commons?

This is a learn by doing sort of thing. My personal goals are to

  • learn to use the WP platform – I’ve used it for a long time but have not learned it well.
  • learn to use blogging as a foundation for my personal learning network
  • learn to integrate Twitter into this network
  • find people who are interested in some of the same things I am
  • become an active participant in a learning network
  • explore digital scholarship

Tools for #DHLCommons

Skate Keys 1950I3

Who doesn’t like tools? This is a first response to brotherly DHLCommons “hangout” on Monday with Jim Groom, Alan Levine and Howard Rheingold.

This is meant as a spectator event to introduce DML Commons and explain the Landing Page for the website. The first half hour includes a very interesting discussion of connected, digital scholarship and how we can use blogs to discover and create communities.

The second half of the conversation is a description and explanation of the DML Commons landing page, which you can find at

Here’s a link to my notes on the video – a kind of summary really, using plug in for GoogleDocs, (Opens in a new window. Install the plug in to view, from GooglePlay). is a video annotation package that’s really nice for keeping track of what people say on video.



#DMLCommons Kick Off

West Bay - Doha

West Bay – Doha

Connected Courses Kick Off

I’ve registered in a lot of MOOCs but only ever finished a couple. Finishing is not really the point. I’ve been involved one other “connected course” – the 2013 OLDS MOOC organized by the Open University. OLDS stands for Online Learning Design Studio. The event lasted for nine weeks and used Cloudworks as its main platform. Cloudworks is an experimental platform designed to channel / explore emergent learning networks. It was an interesting experience, but a lot of people struggled with the platform. In the end, there was little point in learning this since skill in Cloudworks would not be particularly useful after the course. Connected courses using Blogging platforms should raise this problem. Personally, I like the idea of working beyond the LMS to focus more on learning design and less on web design.

My day job is as an “Instructional Designer”. I’m not sure what that means. I see myself more as a “learning scientist”. I try to understand how learning happens, what the features of productive learning environments are, and how productive learning environments can be “designed” – whether these are face to face, online, or blended.

Designers typically work with faculty and this is another thing that interests me. There is a space between the designer and the instructor where new understandings learning can and does emerge. This question, too, moves beyond the LMS to look more at learning science. I suspect that a connected or networked learning environment that is not locked into an LMS with its limited “affordances” may be more convivial to learning science research.

This brings me to Design Based Research. For the last few months, I’ve been investigating the Change Laboratory as a means of investigating these emerging learning spaces between designers and faculty. The Change Lab isn’t quite the same as DBR but comes from the same tradition.

So, I have several objectives in #dmlcommons. I hope to:

  1. get a better understanding of connected courses and how they support networked learning;
  2. get a better grasp of DBR and evaluate its applicability to my own work environment;
  3. expand my professional and research network and explore opportunities for collaboration.

I live and work in Doha, Qatar. I’m new in this country but have been in the Middle East for over two decades.  Qatar is a rapidly developing country with a clear vision for its future and solid determination to achieve it. It’s also wonderful place to be.