Presentation - Conole - The rough guide to Cloudworks

OU Learning and Teaching Conference 22nd June 2010

Cloud created by:

Gráinne Conole
21 June 2010

Presentation for my talk at the OU Learning and Teaching Conference 22nd June 2010. Powerpoint presentation that will be presented during the Eluminate session is below, or try the link to the alternative Prezi presentation. 

Extra content

Notes from Gráinne's presentation - rough guide to Cloudworks:
She is obsessed by Cloudworks - but you need a vision to take things forward. Have some excellent colleagues - Juliette, Nick, Rebecca - also working hard to take things forward.
If you want a mini-break, don't go to Barcelona, go to Cloudworks!
It's a place for sharing learning and teaching ideas. Developed about 3 years ago from an idea that there wasn't a place for teachers to share and discuss teaching and learning practice and designs. Teachers wanted a space to talk to each other. Built site from scratch, and developed it in the light of the emergent use of the community that has grown there.
Basic object is the cloud, which are arranged in cloudscapes. Clouds are anything - a topic, a discussion, whatever - about teaching and learning. Many other features to keep track. Will be going open source this summer.
Who's there? A range of people - all sorts, very exciting that it crosses boundaries. Existing spaces for niche communities, but not one that enables cross-boundary discussion for learning and teaching. And multi-cultural: Greek version, Spanish, Greek, German, Dutch discussions going on. 165 countries in there.
Gráinne gives a guided tour of the site. Events have proved to be a really good way of using the site - especially conferences. The OU conference, of course, but many others too, including International Blended Learning Conference 2010.
Can now add gadgets - Simon will talk more about this later.
Clouds can belong to more than one community or Cloudscapes - so can create a cloud on, say, mobile learning, and that can go in several different cloudscapes.
Anyone can start a cloud, and once it's started anyone can improve it by adding to it, or discussing it.
You can follow a cloud or cloudscape, and see the list of people who are also following it. That makes any activity there appear in your personal activity stream. Can also see who's said they're attending (if it's an event), and how many people have viewed it. Can favourite it - a sort of social bookmarking.
Beneath the cloudscape view, you can see all the different clouds below. Can section up the cloudscapes.
The ELESIG community have moved some activities to Cloudworks, including a virtual reading circle. Can also do virtual desk research - Giota did an extensive review of the use of Web 2.0 in HE: set up a space, with clouds for each research question, put up her references, links and so on, and others came in and contributed - big benefit to all. Detailed report to come.
Another use - flash debates. First one was 'Is Twitter killing blogging?' which turned rapidly in to a big discussion. Spotlight debates too - as part of an EU-funded project called OPAL. Gathered case studies worldwide. 
Tom Brown and colleagues have done a review too.
Plenty of support available too; have an explore and use. She gives a guided pathway to explore the site. Create a cloud! Can be anything you like so long as it's to do with teaching and learning ... and nothing to do with football!
Questions:
Martin picks up from the comments: Have any feedback on the interface, and user stats?
G: We have an admin panel to gather this. Distinguish between the core team and others. When started, nobody knew how to use it, so fostered social intervention. But now shifting away, site running away with other people using it. Periodic surveys, have a request for the UI since have a designer coming in again next week to tweak the site. Researching the site, theoretical idea about social objects, Goffman, collective intelligence. Evaluation and analysis of the site is core to what we're doing. Want this to be shaped and guided by user behaviour. Can point to lots of papers!
M: Are the stats openly released?
G: In the papers. The admin panel isn't public, but synthesised stuff released too. Papers in AJET on initial theoretical stuff, Networked Learning paper, Rebecca has a case study on Exeter's use will be done soon. [Outline figures from Rebecca: 2727 users, 2740 clouds, approx 9000 unique visits per month.]
Marie Arndt: Only started using it recently, are doing H800 at the moment. Please could you simply distinguish between clouds and cloudscapes? Is it the content, or what it generates?
G: A cloud is the core object, could be anything - here's an idea I did with my students. Or could be a question - I have 300 nurse practitioners, anyone good e.g.s of how to use PBLs. Or info about research project, or a tool - many clouds about Twitter and use for T&L, about iPad, Google Wave. Or about a research report. A cloudscape is simply a collection of clouds - clouds can be grouped together for a particular purpose. You might choose to create a cloudscape of technology tools you like, add clouds for the tools you like. A collaborative learning person might create a cloudscape about that. The conference cloudscape now includes lots of clouds that already existed. People ask why they have to learn new concepts - no way round, because it is a new practice.

Notes from Gráinne's presentation - rough guide to Cloudworks:

She is obsessed by Cloudworks - but you need a vision to take things forward. Have some excellent colleagues - Juliette, Nick, Rebecca - also working hard to take things forward.

If you want a mini-break, don't go to Barcelona, go to Cloudworks!

It's a place for sharing learning and teaching ideas. Developed about 3 years ago from an idea that there wasn't a place for teachers to share and discuss teaching and learning practice and designs. Teachers wanted a space to talk to each other. Built site from scratch, and developed it in the light of the emergent use of the community that has grown there.

Basic object is the cloud, which are arranged in cloudscapes. Clouds are anything - a topic, a discussion, whatever - about teaching and learning. Many other features to keep track. Will be going open source this summer.

Who's there? A range of people - all sorts, very exciting that it crosses boundaries. Existing spaces for niche communities, but not one that enables cross-boundary discussion for learning and teaching. And multi-cultural: Greek version, Spanish, Greek, German, Dutch discussions going on. 165 countries in there.

Gráinne gives a guided tour of the site. Events have proved to be a really good way of using the site - especially conferences. The OU conference, of course, but many others too, including International Blended Learning Conference 2010.

Can now add gadgets - Simon will talk more about this later.

Clouds can belong to more than one community or Cloudscapes - so can create a cloud on, say, mobile learning, and that can go in several different cloudscapes.

Anyone can start a cloud, and once it's started anyone can improve it by adding to it, or discussing it.

You can follow a cloud or cloudscape, and see the list of people who are also following it. That makes any activity there appear in your personal activity stream. Can also see who's said they're attending (if it's an event), and how many people have viewed it. Can favourite it - a sort of social bookmarking.

Beneath the cloudscape view, you can see all the different clouds below. Can section up the cloudscapes.

The ELESIG community have moved some activities to Cloudworks, including a virtual reading circle. Can also do virtual desk research - Giota did an extensive review of the use of Web 2.0 in HE: set up a space, with clouds for each research question, put up her references, links and so on, and others came in and contributed - big benefit to all. Detailed report to come.

Another use - flash debates. First one was 'Is Twitter killing blogging?' which turned rapidly in to a big discussion. Spotlight debates too - as part of an EU-funded project called OPAL. Gathered case studies worldwide. 

Tom Brown and colleagues have done a review too.

Plenty of support available too; have an explore and use. She gives a guided pathway to explore the site. Create a cloud! Can be anything you like so long as it's to do with teaching and learning ... and nothing to do with football!

 

Questions:

Martin picks up from the comments: Have any feedback on the interface, and user stats?

G: We have an admin panel to gather this. Distinguish between the core team and others. When started, nobody knew how to use it, so fostered social intervention. But now shifting away, site running away with other people using it. Periodic surveys, have a request for the UI since have a designer coming in again next week to tweak the site. Researching the site, theoretical idea about social objects, Goffman, collective intelligence. Evaluation and analysis of the site is core to what we're doing. Want this to be shaped and guided by user behaviour. Can point to lots of papers!

M: Are the stats openly released?

G: In the papers. The admin panel isn't public, but synthesised stuff released too. Papers in AJET on initial theoretical stuff, Networked Learning paper, Rebecca has a case study on Exeter's use will be done soon. [Outline figures from Rebecca: 2727 users, 2740 clouds, approx 9000 unique visits per month.]

Marie Arndt: Only started using it recently, are doing H800 at the moment. Please could you simply distinguish between clouds and cloudscapes? Is it the content, or what it generates?

G: A cloud is the core object, could be anything - here's an idea I did with my students. Or could be a question - I have 300 nurse practitioners, anyone good e.g.s of how to use PBLs. Or info about research project, or a tool - many clouds about Twitter and use for T&L, about iPad, Google Wave. Or about a research report. A cloudscape is simply a collection of clouds - clouds can be grouped together for a particular purpose. You might choose to create a cloudscape of technology tools you like, add clouds for the tools you like. A collaborative learning person might create a cloudscape about that. The conference cloudscape now includes lots of clouds that already existed. People ask why they have to learn new concepts - no way round, because it is a new practice.

Doug Clow
09:22 on 22 June 2010

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Michael Hopwood
8:37am 22 June 2010


Why not use Google Wave? :D

Gráinne Conole
8:43am 22 June 2010


Hi I have been playing with GoogleWave but haven't used it extensively yet. Do you mean use it as an alternative presentation tool or as an alternative to Cloudworks?

Michael Hopwood
8:46am 22 June 2010


Exactly, yeah, as a collaboration / conference... first impression from your slides was "that looks like Wave, very confusing but maybe useful"...

Gráinne Conole
8:47am 22 June 2010


It's got different functionality to GoogleWave and has been specifically designed as  a space to support learning and teaching activiities - a space to share and discuss. Clouds have a mix of functionality - area for discussion, ability to add links and references etc. Will explain more in the presentation!

Patrick McAndrew
9:12am 22 June 2010


Questions that came up during elluminate session:

Bieke Schreurs OUNL: is clouds created by UKOU?

---------------------
Karen Cropper: Yes, cloudworks is a UKOU project/product

m_hopwood: yes... isn't there some sort of messaging protocal that will allow merging of twitter / ell / clouds / etc?

Moderator (Simon Buckingham Shum): So, we now have splintered micro-blogging in both Twitter & Elluminate + elsewhere?). Where to look? The streams should be merged #OUConf10

Tim Hunt: Also, I don't really get what Cloudwords does that a customised Druple can't do?

markuos: What's been the feedback on the cloudworks design?

m_hopwood: cloudscapes not very real-time for someone used to twitter client / blogging etc integration

markuos: What's the overall usage stats for Cloudworks?
markuos: are these published?

Tim Hunt: The community issue is very importnat, but that seems ot me to be completely independent of the decision to write a whole lot of new code from scratch. Community is property of a particular installation.

Patrick McAndrew
9:22am 22 June 2010


Extra elluminate qns:

Tim Hunt: Before starting this project, what sort of 'literature review' did you do. What other online community building systems did you review, and what does cloudworks do better than them?

markuos: Are these stats and data to be released openly?

fred garnett: @Grainne, wasnt Cludworks a JISC CDD project set up for a particular purpose, but has found a wider use beyond the institution and beyond the projects, which suggests that it is tapping into an underlying need? Which is?

Jenny Hart: Are you analysing any of the connections people are making in terms of social networking?

Gráinne Conole
10:04am 22 June 2010 (Edited 12:59pm 22 June 2010)


Tim re: Drupal Juliette started coding in Drupal but felt it wasn't flexible enough for what we wanted to do, so she switched to Codeigniter.

@Markuos yep we have lots of stats and also analsis of qualitiative data - comments on site and patterns of behaviour, also survey, interviews etc. Are publishing these in papers and presentations at conferences. Rebecca has a very nice case study where she looked at the Exeter review on the role of educational technologists and Giota is currently doing some detailed evaluation of the use of cloudworks by the OER community.

@TimHunt we did look at existing tools and communities and felt that there was a gap. Also we wanted to start from scratch and monitor patterns of behviour and adapt accordingly. We have coined this approach as 'socio-technical intervention' i.e. a series of technical interventions, monitoring and evaluation of patterns of behaviour and then a series of social interventions which seems to work well.

@Fred it was partially funded initially through OU strategic funding but also some funding through our JISC OULDI Curriculum Design projects.

Rebecca Galley
1:12pm 22 June 2010


@Fred I think that's a really interesting question - and you're right  - conferences are a good example of this. Part of my role is defining what these new and different uses are and their impact on professional knowledge and practice. I think what Grainne said about how the site works well with other tools is key (for example we often see the movement of ideas and discussion from Twitter to Cloudworks to blog). And I personally like the way ideas (in Clouds) can be cross-fertilised so easily just by pinching a Cloud and adding to a new Cloudscape/ new group of folk with different experiences and points of view.

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