Tuesday, September 30, 2003

A shift in survey responses

I am doing an online survey on new employee orientation practices, have done this several times in the past, but have always just invited people in my database. But this time, I have also posted the survey link on some training and development online forums.... and I am finding something a bit interesting. The only mandatory questions I've included are for the respondent information. What I am finding interesting is that there are people who are responding who are putting fake information (e.g. "*" or "no response") into the fields for organization, name and email. As its a survey into organization training practices, I do find it just a bit fascinating.... I can't imagine responding to a business survey myself and doing this. On the other hand, I can only think that people have been burned by inappropriate marketing as a result of sharing information, which is a shame if this is the result.... I haven't figured out whether to exclude these responses from my survey results yet, but am thinking perhaps I have to, as I can't be sure they are from "real" companies. Just an interesting development.
Revised November 30, 2003:
The survey is now closed, and the results are available online.

Are you Blogging Yet?

Here's an Information Week blog piece, "Are You Blogging Yet?".

Monday, September 29, 2003

Session on blogs in Vancouver October 2

The KM group is focusing their October 2nd Salon on blogs: "Blogs, Blogging, and Really Simple Syndication (RSS): As If Managing Formal Knowledge Weren't Hard Enough". The facilitator is Catherine Kerr is. 6:30pm at Adega Restaurant, 1022 Main St. More info from www.kmcop.org. I'm not sure if I can make it, but want to, still gotta figure out the RSS thing....

Thursday, September 25, 2003

A little in awe...

I am a little in awe. About 12 hours ago I blogged about Oliver Wrede and his work "Weblogs and Discourse: Weblogs as a transformational technology for higher education and academic research" (or slides)... and I 'wondered outloud' (in my blog) about whether there had been a conference on blogs in May...

When I woke up this morning, I had a personal email from Oliver confirming that yes, there was just such a conference - it was called BlogTalk (and, yes, lots of resources there). I didn't even know anyone had found my blog yet. It's a wired, wired world...

BTW, Wrede is a professor at the Aachen University of Applied Design (it's in Europe, trying to figure out where, the "about page" on the English version of the university website links to something that's clearly not English ;-) .... will come back later and figure that out!

Oliver's email motivates me to figure out how to set up a Comments function for my blog. My observation is that the best blogs all have this functionality. Gotta figure out how to do that. I have been trying to upgrade my Blogger service from free to the paid service, which gives more function, but to no avail (each time I try to do that, I eventually hit a screen that tells me the upgrade service is unavailable, try again later). Shall keep trying!

Storytelling stuff

I've been long interested in storytelling in learning, but it's storytelling online that has intrigued me in recent times, as without the human being in front of the learner I think, done well, stories can be very powerful. It's something I want to learn more about, so this piece on Digital Storytelling grabbed my eye.

More blog research....

A few more links on blogs... I am out of my office, so I'm really just capturing some links to dig through in more detail later...

Blogging in Corporate America - by Michael Angeles (hmmm... Is this the same Michael Angeles resource I found the other day? probably; will have to go back and check... anyways, this one give you the option to get the PPT with notes)

A Blogger in their Midst - Sept 2003 HBR article, here's the gist: a fictional case-study in blogging to explore "the question of whether a highly credible, but sometimes inaccurate and often indiscreet, online diarist is more of a liability than an asset to her employer." (abstract from elearningpost).... Hmmm... I don't subscribe, will I break down and buy the article? maybe I'll find a friend...

How I Would Implement Weblogs in Business - from Common Craft (gotta check them out too)

Weblogs and Discourse: Weblogs as a transformational technology for higher education and academic research - by Oliver Wrede - the accompanying note says "Blogtalk Conference Paper, Vienna, May 23rd-24th 2003" - does that mean there was a blog conference in May? will have to hunt and see if there was, and if there are resources. {Update: the conference was called BlogTalk, see how I found out in my entry on Sept. 25}.

BLOG SPACE: Public Storage For Wisdom, Ignorance, and Everything in Between - by Steven Johnson, in Wired.... I liked this quote, "What happens when you start seeing the Web as a matrix of minds, not documents?"

Employee Weblog Policy - by Ray Ozzie

Blogs in Education - an interview with Maish Nichani (of elearningpost). You can read it, or listen to the audio. If you like the article, you might like the discussion as well.

I actually poked around that discussion, and found this about blogging in a course on "Writing Across the Arts". Here's the course description, that mentions use of weblogs, here's the instructor's view of it all,

And another example, about students using blogs in research.... Makes sense, as that's what I am doing right now... doing a bit of my blogging research while I am at the library... capturing my links, initial reactions and questions for myself in this blog is WAY better than emailing myself links.

I continue to feel challenged to find examples of blogs in corporate learning; I am finding stuff on blogs in business, and stuff on blogs in 'education' (read: higher education)... I shall continue searching, capturing this other stuff along the way.

Blogs refine enterprise focus: companies are leveraging blogs to streamline business processes - by Cathleen Moore for Infoworld

Best of the Blogs - from CETIS (the centre for educational technology interoperability standards)

A friendly note to anyone who stops by and reads this: if you have, or know of, examples of how blogs are being used in corporate learning and development, please email me (link in the menu bar to the right). Thanks, Roberta

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

26 things

This was a cool stumble-across... the 26 Things Photographic Scavenger Hunt. I didn't even know how to bookmark this, I didn't have a mental category for it.... It is SO cool!

One of the things I am enjoying about exploring blogs is discovering a whole world of things I had no idea existed. While I practically "live" online, I realize how small my virtual world has been... so much more to learn!

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

My exploration for blogs in business

I've been digging around, and posting to some groups, asking for examples of blogging in business. Actually, I'd focused my questions on blogging in learning, still on a discovery process there.... anyways, I am finding some interesting stuff.

Jay Cross, one of my favourite bloggers, has done a couple of interesting things recently on blogs:
Blogging for Business - an article in Learning Circuits
Blogs ("Let's talk about blogs....") - A short audio overview of blogs

Jay mentions that there was the first every business blogging conference in June, and I have dug up the link. Haven't fully explored this yet, but it appears to be a blog leading up to and including the conference; it's loaded with links:
ClickZ Weblog Business Strategies Conference

A few interesting related links:
VinBlog review of the conference, and more - which lead to:
Michael Gartenberg's slides on Business Weblogs
International Blog Meetup Day - Oct 15

Eric Snyder pointed me to this great presentation on blogs and KM (that wasn't apparent by the title, but it's just bursting with great KM stuff as it relates to blogs:
Making sense of weblogs in the internet

There were also a couple articles on blogging recently in the NY Times, but not so recent that they are still online. Will have to look them up on my next trip to the library. Here are links to the abstracts of:
The online journals known as Web logs are finding favor as an efficient way to communicate within the workplace
The Corporate Blog Is Catching On

The folks at Groove are blogging and making their blogs public and easy to find. You can even read the CEO's blog. Granted, they are using the page on which they have them all organized to cite everything good people say about Groove in blogs, but that's ok. The blogs of their own people are kind of interesting.
Groove blogs

I am finding enough stuff that I am starting to wonder if I am repeating myself here, but what the heck, that's the beauty of this medium. Sometime in the future when I have a more organized collection of citations, I may create a page on my website on this topic, but, for now, this is an easy way to randomly record what I come across, along with some thoughts.

I have been bookmarking this stuff - I use a product called Backflip to handle my bookmarks these days, but at some point, the list of bookmarks becomes lengthy.... the blog is a nice intuitive tool to help

Learning Objects eye opener

I've been learning bits and pieces about learning objects for a few years now, but I haven't been able to apply it directly to my own practice yet. But today I attended a webinar (interesting format, went and joined 2 others and we participated together) that gave me some new perspectives.

One of the speakers was Doug Macleod of eduSourceCanada, with quite a vision of a world wide repository of learning objects. A bigger vision than what I could describe here, but I am quite interested in where they are going. I like that they are using an "open source" foundation, and will be making tagging tools and such readily available. I think that's key, at least to someone like me.

The other speakers were Ed Walker of IMS Global Learning Consortium, David Porter of BCcampus, and Solvig Norman of Open School. It was a great session overall; if the slides are made available on a publicly available website, I'll come back here and put in a link.

Just visiting these sites led me to some interesting links:

I just loved this one, "Designing Learning Objects". What I liked about it, is that it answers the questions that I think instructional designers have about learning objects (or at least I did). What was most outstanding was the analogies it used, as they really connected for me, namely: "learning design as a play" vs. "learning design as a game" - as models for how learning objects fit into the instructional designers' and learners' worlds.

Other links:
Educational Objects from eduSourceCanada
The Instructional Use of Learning Objects (an entire online book!)
What are Educational Objects - from Careo
What are learning objects? - U of Milwaukee

Now, to try to capture where my brain was going while all this was going on....

I was inspired to find a way to apply the concepts of learning objects to my own work, even without all the tools. I have some ideas for my own courses that I offer, and my speaking, I think that's going to be a promising but relatively simple road to go down. What really got my thinking popping was how I might apply it to a current clients' project. We are putting some learning online, using some good development tools, but are light years away from metatagging and content reposititories. But.... the more I get the 'concepts', the more I can see what is possible. From the scratchy notes that I made during the webinar when the idea came to me, I am now working out how the various nuggets of the content we design for this online learning intervention might be repurposed.... NO, not repurposed, reused, and how that can be facilitated through some up front planning. It's causing me to step back from my design process a bit, but I've got all new insights, and I think it can work for the project (allowing objects to be used in different ways) and, perhaps, can have tagging added later that would allow it to work in a repository in the future.

My head is sparking with lots of ideas lately... I am finding the process of 'verbalizing' my thinking - really, I'm externalizing it - is helping me to both clarify and shape new ideas. Blogging is my [new] life?

Updated Nov. 23/03: here is the link to the recording of the Learning Objects event

Sunday, September 21, 2003

the homeless blog too

In my research on blogs, I stumbed across this piece, "A homeless guy finds a refuge on the Internet" from USA Today, OCT 03, 2002. I am putting a link here, but not sure if it will work for others (try signing into your library's web resources). It's a rather inspiring piece about a homeless man (Kevin) and his blog. While the article is good, it's a visit to his actual blog, http://thehomelessguy.blogspot.com/, that is meaningful. Since I've moved to the West End here in Vancouver several months back, I've become more accustomed to being around homeless people everyday. Used to scare me, now it mostly just makes me sad. There is so little one can do to help. This blog will help me understand and, I'm sure, give me more compassion.

Unravelling research and database mysteries

Yesterday I took a 2 hour free workshop, "Research @ Your Library". It was certainly worth getting myself going on a Saturday morning. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of both the instruction and the facilities. These two librarians, Ross and Louise, did more than show the how to's... they did a wonderful job of explaining the "why" behind things. As a result, I finally undertstand the Boolean thing for the first time, and understand how a "dumb" database is responding to my requests. Light bulbs were going off! I am also in awe about the databases that are available to me, free, and on the web, with just my library card number as my price of entry. I knew they were there, but I had NO idea how much I could access. And, of course, now I know how to talk to each database in a way that it will respond with useful information.

I think everyone who wants to be able to find stuff online should take a course like I did. Although I do pretty good at finding stuff online - I have had others tell me that they think I can find anything (nice compliment), but now I feel I have double the power. Really.

An interesting outcome is that I used my quest for how blogs are being used for learning in organizations, and found all sorts of great stuff. Will cycle by here again soon to post some links.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Blog definitions, trends and uses in learning....

In continuing to explore how blogs are being used, and talking about them, I am finding folks asking me "what is a blog?" So I've been digging for definitions I can share with others. Of course, learned more along the way....
- This definition of blogging from Webopedia is short and sweet
- This description of blogging from Blogger (which powers this blog) is a good place to start
- I really like Jay Cross's description of blogging, and recommend it highly. Jay really knows his blogging (several blogs of Jay's are in my list of fav's).
- There is fascinating information on blog statistics, who blogs, live vs. dead blogs and way more on blogcount. Also some interesting stats on blogging and languages

What I am really focusing in on is how blogs can and are being used in learning and development. This is a new thought to me that I really hadn't explored, and I find is really drawing me in. There are some good posts on this topic in the Learning Times discussion forums.

I've got an e-line column to write in the next week or so, and am thinking of making this the focus. I wonder what examples of blogs in learning I can find. This is going to be an interesting exploration. This is the kind of stuff that keeps my brain lively.

Friday, September 19, 2003


Today I rejoined the Knowledge Management Community of Practice (www.kmcop.org), they seem to have some good stuff going on. This morning was spent with Dr. Blaize Horner Reich of SFU, and her topic was knowledge management and project management, two guru-ish themes of hers. She's embarking on an international research project on the subject, so it was quite an interesting discussion.

One of the things I found most interesting is that Europe is much more tuned into the "soft" side of projects (the social aspects). Everyone's eyebrows seemed to go up at that one... but then it made sense when she gave us the context: having experienced the 'hard' side of doing things (images of war and hitler flashing in my brain), they tend to have much more interest in the soft side of things (they have seen what the hard / no-social-concern approach can do). That left me thinking.

Today also picked up my application to go back to SFU, I seem to be craving taking a history course. Taking the step feels good, timing is about right.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

What's hot in blogs?

Beginning this blog journal has made me curious about whether there have been reviews of blogs of note. Here's a bit of what I found:
Forbes list of Best Blogs
blogcanada.ca's blog list.... No, it's not a government website, look closer!

Entering the world of blogs....

About 5 months ago I really learned more about blogs, and vowed to create my own. Well, all those months went by and I still hadn't done it. Well, today while I was attending the Wired.org conference -- this is an online event hosted by iCohere -- I stumbled on the blog of another attendee. Had a few good chuckles, then when it's creator and I, Ozzie, where chatting online, I told him of my stale vow. He pointed me to blogspot -- and I decided to see how easy it would be. So, here I am blogging within about 10 minutes of the inspiration. I expect it to be a continuing evolution.

For a sense of what a blog is and can be, check out Ozzie's blog and learn about how important bolts are to the life of a satellite.

All 4 now,