First reflections on Cloudworks

Having just started work with the Open University on the OU Learning Design Initiative (now in my 3rd week), one of my first tasks was to test the new Cloudworks site. My background is as a teacher educator, and is not a particularly techie one.  I have found it really interesting to consider how the teachers I was working with two weeks ago might use the site, and how it might improve learning and teaching for them. I have an interest in strategies and indicators that lead to collaborating and innovating communities, and found myself thinking about Lynda Gratton’s organisational research - Hot Spots - and considering how transferable it might be to social networking. She has identified four factors which can be found in organisations that 'fizz':

  • Cooperative mindset (as opposed to a competitive mindset)
  • Igniting purpose (so that all participants are fueled by a sense of shared purpose)
  • Boundary spanning (that participants come from a range of different working sets and communities and share their experiences)
  • Productive capacity (that participants have the skills to contribute effectively)


I think that Cloudworks has the capacity to promote each of these, and at the Design Bash we added a Cloudscape of ‘Tricky and interesting questions and answers’. The number of posts from a range of people was exciting (some really interesting discussions about whether learning is, and indeed should be, inherently hard, and how we can foster motivation for sharing). We want to develop this Cloudscape, and add a Twitter feed to bring discussion in directly.

Juliette is also close to adding activity streams for the whole site, user and Cloudscapes which is really good news, and we are looking to add the option to ‘invite’ friends to join discussions -ongoing feedback on the success of this would be very much appreciated! I will also be reworking the ‘hints and tips’ page and adding a page about file sharing approaches.

  Posted by Rebecca Galley on 15 July 2009

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