Monday, August 18, 2008

Techniques for Looking

Continuing to probe the questions that Leigh asks from Week 2-3:

In this course we will be looking for online communities in very different
places. It is important that we try and develop an understanding of what exactly
we are looking for, and techniques for looking. What is an online

I don't know if I can say what "we" are looking for but I think I know what I am looking for. I am looking for a community that does not yet exist on the web. It is a community that I only imagine. What interests me more is this part of the question that deals with techniques for looking. The questions asked by Leigh are a good technique for looking. And these questions are not only stimulating answers but more questions from bloggers.

But how do you look for something that you imagine might exist? What are we looking for? My feeling is that I am looking for something that has been lost and am concerned to regain it. I feel a great sense of having lost something when I'm on the Internet. The traditions have been lost. I suppose that I am here in this course because I am looking for people who recognize this loss also and would like to regain, to rediscover, those things that we value in community. I hope that I am looking in the right place.

I want to rediscover the democratic traditions that were first developed by Lucy and her clan in Ethiopia and handed over to Neanderthal and passed down to Cro-Magnon and have now entered into some lower evolutionary form on the web, these forms that have been squelched and silenced and have introduced a new Age of Miscommunication. I want to get back to the circle form that rose up as the tribe gathered around the fire.

I think that this course is one way of looking. I'm enjoying blogging on this topic and this is my first experience ever as a blogger. I think it has some definite strengths, and now, due to the FOC course, I am experimenting with it. I also enjoy browsing all of the other blogs and learning how others view community. How they see it. What they think. This helps me to see and compare with my own views.

I wonder how others have answered this question of how to look? I have read through the blogs and haven't seen any other interpretations of this question. Leigh is inquiring about looking for something, not looking at it. And Leigh seems to suggest that it is not a thing that is lost but a thing that is unknown? So the question is confusing. If I am looking for something that is lost, at least I know what it looks like and maybe where it was last seen. I'm looking for something that has been lost and is clearly identifiable. What are other people looking for? Are you looking for something that is yet to be discovered, that is unknown? That might be a more difficult task. Kind of like looking for the Abominable Snowman. Should we bother to look for something that doesn't exist? Of course, we can't know that it doesn't exist unless we go a looking! Even with the Abominable Snowman, you still have a lead on what it is supposed to look like. This is more like looking for God.

Let's suppose we already have something before us and want to look at it rather than for it. In that respect, when Leigh says "techniques for looking", I think about the evaluation process and how important it is to have a good system of objective evaluation for web community faciliation. This requires making the members responsible for evaluating the whole shebang.

In our culture, we are taught the Scientific Method. So I suppose a good technique for looking is to measure. I really appreciate the structure of this course. It acts as a common ground and guiding force for the discussion. It includes realistic objectives and evaluation. The course itself can also be measured and evaluated.

I think that I am going to use the Scientific Method and be doing a lot of measuring of web community qualities.


  1. Artie, I'd like to share with you the task I once had on another online course. It was, funny enough, about blogging.

    We knew (or had some idea of) what a blog was and so as a first task we were supposed to look for a blog that was similar to what we could imagine using our blog for in an educational environment.

    The task cost me enormous amounts of time, energy and patience. I had no idea where to look and the key words I was putting in weren't generating what I was looking for. And since I didn't REALLY know what I was looking for, it became so much mre difficult.

    I learned a lot about blogs, and became extremely sceptical of them.
    In the end, however, it led me to know what I did NOT want a blog of mine to be and in the search and discovery phase that came after the course was over, I slowly began to appreciate the power of blogging and the possibilitities to learning that blogging added.

    In this course I am finding it a much easier course of development to share conceptions and definitions as to what communites and facilitiators are rather than to first go out and find one. It's given me time to reflect on what an ideal community for me would be and the connections to the others to be able to share at this stage. I'm sure there are many different kinds of communities represented just by the people in this course.
    To start with, I'd take the 'easy' way and see what the others here are doing :-)

  2. Well, you're right about looking in the other blogs because that's what all of us are blogging for, so other's can read it and maybe find something of interest. I'm doing that too. Look at how I have my sidebar set up. All of the blogs should be listed there. That gives any visitor on this blog an easy escape route:) If I am missing anyone, please let me know. I had to set the list up by hand because I don't know about RSS. Also note that on the sidebar, I have listed all the essential course links and the complete course outline. If you have any other suggestions let me know. It took two weeks to get this far! We are ready to get rolling now!!!! I am cranked! Watch out! There's a new kid in town!

  3. Hello artie Just popped by to say how well I think you are doing with this blog. I went through the same process this time last year and I have found it to be a hugely empowering process. So good luck and hope you enjoy the course.


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The ordinal discussion arts lead us into coherent group building and groups become the building blocks of communities.

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