I have not been posting here for some time...I guess one cannot be at a hundred places at the same time ...even if virtually it does seem easier. I have been participating at a collaborative experience at Moodle. Karen Garcia, who did the BaW in February invited interested participants to join her in the exploration of the Moodle and Open Source, a space graciously ceded by Venny Su on his server in Taiwan.
Some three years ago I set a short course for my students at Blackboard (when it was still free) but I have never used Moodle so I am eager to see how it works and what we can do with it.
Although Karen is the initiator, she deliberately did not want to set a fixed syllabus and is asking people to give ideas and suggestions. I must say I felt a little frustrated and irritated at the beginning, because as a participant I had absolutely no access to the tools to experiment with... I clicked and clicked and could not do anything...just receive news, fill in surveys (but could not view the results)or post in the forums, which I find useful but boring... So I asked Karen to upgrade my rights. I have the gnawing feeling that this environment is too top down for what Karen has suggested we do. I feel disturbed by the log feature...do not like the feeling Big Brother is watching every step I make, how long I stayed in each section...students must feel terrible!
As a moderator I can now do a lot more, but it is still frustrating because there is only me and her in the area. I feel that if you want a collaborative space, all must have the same rights. There should be (a) leader(s) and some kind of structure, even if loose...people who have some experience can think of a structure but newbies, who are still at loss with the technology itself, may find it difficult and this may prevent them from fully participating and venting their doubts and fears.
My personal view is that you discover better the use of a tool if you have content to deliver...what comes first..the content or the tool? Do you find content to fit the tool or the other way round?