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H800 Cloudquest challenge

An activity for students taking the H800 course at the Open University UK

Cloud created by:

Yishay Mor
25 November 2009

This activity is a variant on the idea of a webquest, it provides a fun ways of exploring the cloudworks site and sharing findings. The aim is to explore the site and to give you an idea of what it contains and how it can be used.


  • If you haven't already done so, create a Cloudworks account (you can view anything on the site, but to post comments or add anything you need an account)
  • Spend a max of fifteen minutes exploring cloudworks (suggested stategies - browse clouds and cloudscapes, enter keywords in search, explore by tags, look at individual people's profiles
  • You may wish to open your search in a new tab or page in your browser so that you can easily navigate back to this cloud
  • If you are new to cloudworks you might like to take a look at our 'using cloudworks cloudscape'.


  • How many people with the firstname "Patrick" are registered with cloudworks?
  • How many people are registered with cloudworks from "The Open University"?
  • How many people are following Rebecca Galley?
  • Name three of the people Juliette Culver is following
  • Find an interesting cloud on collaborative learning
  • Find a cloudscape that was set up for a conference
  • Find a cloud you thiink is particularly interesting, say why you like it
  • What can you find in the site on mindmapping tools?
  • What kinds of clouds and cloudscapes have been tagged with the word "twitter"?
  • What's the latest cloud that has been added to the site?
  • What is the latest link that has been added to the flash debate cloudscape?
  • What three words would you use to describe cloudworks?

And finally...

  • Post your findings on the H800 forum, although feel free to add comments here, but note that anything you post here is open for anyone to see
  • Review entries on the forum from other students
  • Vote for your favourite cloud or cloudscape using the survey

Extra content

Embedded Content


Gráinne Conole
12:21am 19 February 2010

Looking forward to hearing from H800 folk on their views about cloudworks! We would be interested to know if you think this might be a useful tool for you to use in your professional practice and also whether it has potential to be used more with students.

Khorshed Bhote
7:44pm 2 April 2010

I enjoyed the cloudquest.  There is so much, just glad it is alphabetically categorised.  Will be suggesting it to my trainee teachers, especially those who may not have a VLE within their organisation to use.  I must explore this site some more to see how it can be used effectively.

Gráinne Conole
3:41am 4 April 2010

Great Khorshed - glad you found the cloudquest fun! It seemed like a good way to help people get a sense of the site and what is in here, better than having to wade through a massive training manuel!

Rosemary Brown
11:09am 4 April 2010

I've just arrived at Cloudworks and have learnt a lot about using it from this challenge. In fact, I'd recommend students on H800 complete the challenge first before they attempt Activity 4 (which brings us here). I was unclear about what I actually had to do for the activitiy and this isn't a good frame of mind to be in when exploring a new application! When I was more familiar with Cloudworks (via the challenge), focusing on what I was meant to do for Activity 4 was better - but that may say more about me than the activitiy!

Gráinne Conole
5:16am 5 April 2010

Hiya Rosemary thanks for this - nope I think it says more about how I set the activities! ;-) I am glad you found the challenge useful. I was stuggling to try and find a way to get users to get to grips with the site and the concepts as it is new and different, without them having to wade through a long, boring click and turn tutorial. Doing something active, looking for things seemed more authentic as that is of course (hopefully!!!) what people will be doing when they come to the sites. Looking forward very much to seeing how you and the others get on with the site and to hear your thoughts on it. The vision behind it is a site to try and harnes the best of web 2.0 practices but specifically to help practitioners share good practice in learning and teaching.

Khorshed Bhote
7:03am 5 April 2010

That is precisely the point I made in an Elluminate tutorial with my study group yesterday.  I see it as a site that would support educators, reducing the need for google searches, searches, etc.  I already found several items that will be useful not only for me but also for my trainee teachers.

Having read Conole et al's chapter, familiarity of software is a big driver for such sites and from the feedback my peers gave yesterday I could see their reluctance in using cloudworks.  Maybe it also has something to do with word association.  To me using this site appeals just because of the entity of clouds as a medium!  For others, it may not have the same connotation. 

Has cloudworks been publicised?  I haven't heard about it before.

I like it and am definitely going to use it.  I presume that anyone can have access by registering?

Gráinne Conole
7:33am 5 April 2010

:-) thanks Khorshed!!! That is totally the vision we have. In terms of your colleagues reluctance I think there are two important things. Firstly, in reality not everyone is going to like this type of site, not everyone likes to participate in such an open way. This is a fact of modern technologies and indeed has always been the case. Some people love the telephone, some people hate it! Secondly, the site is a new way of doing things, there are new concepts to get to grips with and as with all web 2.0 tools it takes time to understand how to appropriate it to your own interests and context.

Gráinne Conole
7:33am 5 April 2010

:-) thanks Khorshed!!! That is totally the vision we have. In terms of your colleagues reluctance I think there are two important things. Firstly, in reality not everyone is going to like this type of site, not everyone likes to participate in such an open way. This is a fact of modern technologies and indeed has always been the case. Some people love the telephone, some people hate it! Secondly, the site is a new way of doing things, there are new concepts to get to grips with and as with all web 2.0 tools it takes time to understand how to appropriate it to your own interests and context.

Carol Price
2:52pm 5 April 2010

Thanks for the cloudquest, it was a great way to get to know the site - which I was aware of before (as an OU member of staff) but which I had never properly explored. As someone else said, there is just so much! - it makes me feel like my head is an exploding cloud - but I know it's going to be a really useful resource for up to date info.

Ursula Rutherford
4:58pm 7 April 2010

I'm new to Cloudworks and am fascinated. The Cloudquest Challenge was a great starter.

Melanie Burton
8:43pm 7 April 2010

I too found the challenge a useful introduction before attempting H800 Activity 4.

I would also recommed reading the article Computers and Education (Conole and Culver, 2010) from Activity 11 as it meant exploring the site was more interesting knowing a bit of the background: the vision, concepts and development phases.

I think it may also help to explain why the content you're looking for may not be on the site yet - it's still evolving and so as it becomes more widely used hopefully more content will be added.

Nick Purkis
1:29pm 8 April 2010

Have just spent some hours navigating myself around the Cloudworks site. Think it has great potential!

Its easy to use, informative and highly collaborative.

Well done


OU H800 student

Marie Powell
2:58pm 9 April 2010

Another H800 student here...

As a newcomer to education as a student I have been completely overwhelmed by the availability of resources  and the use of technology in a creative way to give access to expertise and experience. Great site and great idea.

I am sure it will be very useful and it is very easy to pick it up, concepts and the execution of it very good. So very user friendly.

It seems to be a form of social networking site with a preselected community of interested parties.

I think that the major challenge will be that there is so many sites all forming communities and whilst this has the added benefit of connecting resources to the discussions I wonder whether people will struggle with trying to keep everthing connected.

Gráinne Conole
8:45am 10 April 2010

Hi everyone - glad to hear that you are finding the site useful and that the challenge was a good way of getting to know it. As Melanie says the computer and education paper gives more details behind the vision for the site, there is also an ajet paper which talks more about the theoretical underpinnings.

I agree with your final point Marie about the challenge of how to keep up - to be honest I dont think we can! It's just a fact that we have to accept and we each have to find our own strategies for coping, our own set of sites and mechanisms for communicating that suit us.

Jane Forrest
11:05am 13 April 2010

Hi, all I'm also impressed by the range and potential of Cloudworks, and can think of numerous occassions when it would have been useful to me! And will be in the future I'm sure. I do wonder, though, as others have above -

a. whether you are promoting the site in educational communities where it would be useful? - or do non-OU subscribers just 'come across it' if they're lucky? This is something I woinder about a number of non-commercial online resources and initiatives - (word-of mouth is sometimes effective but all too erratic)

and b. How to keep up! I notice, Gráinne, that you are very much a presence in most of the clouds! Do you do this full-time? Is this a necessary rôle, do you think, for ever, or just to get the ball rolling? How do you see it developing? 


Gráinne Conole
1:25pm 13 April 2010

Glad you like the site Jane! We are promoting it by talking about it at conferences and other events and also via blogs and twitter, but alot of the activity has just spread by word of month which is great! I do think some stimulation of activity is important in these spaces in the same way that is true in discussion forums etc and I am pleased to say that we are seeing evidence of that with the emergence of natural cloudworks champions. I find it personally really useful professionally as a way of keeping up and also as a way of communicating various activiites we are doing - I use it routinely now to upload info on talks I am doing and also on draft papers for comment.

Julie Carle
5:26am 15 April 2010 (Edited 5:45am 15 April 2010)

I echo many of the sentiments shared by my H800 colleagues. I think cloudworks is a great Social Information Network (SIN) and Community of Practice (COP) tool as it focuses specifically on teaching and learning, thereby having the relevance that is needed to sustain social networks and COPs.

It is very interesting to see who has joined and how they have contributed. As a NZer living abroad I have found it beneficial to find other NZ elearnning organisations and practitioners to follow. This may provide useful links when I return to NZ next year and seek employment. It's great that Cloudworks is not exclusive to the OU, UK or academia.

But what I enjoy the most is the Serendipidy of discovery. eg finding authors of Virtual Worlds: Controversies at the frontier of education publication and following Rebecca Fergusons clouds, cloudscapes, and cloudstreams.

word of mouth, grapevine, cloudsphere.

One question, can you get a "reputation" by "looking and listening" or only by posting?

Well done!

Gráinne Conole
5:53am 15 April 2010

Hi Julie

yep you have picked up the key point - i.e that cloudworks has been devised specifically to support the learning and teaching community. We reviewed how other web 2.0 sites were being used and what practices were emerging - peer critiquing, commenting, collective gathering of relevant resources etc and then used these as the basis for building the site specifically around the needs of the academic community.

The site is deliberately open because we want to harness the power of the collective web and its great to see a genuine worldwide community interacting in here now - we have people from 163 countries now!!!

I would be interested to hear how you all find the discussion in cloudworks as part of a worldwide community vs. the more closed community spaces provided such as of course the H800 forums. In fact I think I'll start a flash debate about it! :-)

Gráinne Conole
5:55am 15 April 2010

Re: reputation

people need to vote a cloud or cloudscape you have created or recommend a link you add to a cloud. Once you have a reputation of 1 you can vote too!

godfrey sentumbwe
2:08pm 19 April 2010

My first attempt at using cloudworks, it is interesting to see the range of technology available for educational purposes.

Am still fascinated by the range of issues that cloudworks can address!

Gráinne Conole
2:15pm 19 April 2010

Yes I think that is one of the very interesting things about Cloudworks Godfrey - as a new type of web 2.0 space its interesting to see how it is being taken up by the community and how it is being used.

Maria Tannant
10:56am 27 March 2011

Thanks for setting up the Cloudquest challenge, it's these sort of activities that make discovery learning very useful and rewarding for me.

I also noticed many clouds started without any content and wondered if you had any plans to address this? I realise you are wanting open discussion but perhaps there should be a minimum requirement which might avoid so many unused clouds.

Tamsin Griffith
11:06am 13 April 2011

Thanks for this, made it quick and easy to navigate the site.


Isabella Brown
6:22pm 16 April 2011

it made it easy to find out what kinds of things were there.

like Maria earlier I was frustrated by the relative lack of content in a lot of clouds. I am seeking practical application of knowledge really.

Julia Killen
5:55pm 25 March 2013

The Challenge was a useful exercise for a first timer like myself to get familar with the basics of Cloudworks. I can see the potential in this landscape as long as there is a sustainable network and appropriate audience that will add value to it.  Will this replace the moodle forums?

Yishay Mor
11:41am 26 March 2013

Hi Julia,

Glad you found it useful! No, Cloudworks will not replace the moodle forums, since it is an independent tool and not part of the OU VLE.


Emma Blake
2:59pm 29 March 2013

This was a good activity as it showed me how many useful resources I could find on this site for future reference.


Siobhan Duvigneau
4:02pm 5 April 2014

Hi Grainne, I found the cloudworks challenge a useful exercise to learn about the platform, I also watched your 30 minute presentation. One question, has the interface design changed since you created your presentation? I notice people used to be an option on the navigation bar, but now it has disappeared from my interface. I found the search option for 'people' organisations etc under the support tab.  In your video you mention that it is possible to personalise cloudworks... am I missing something obvious or is there a quick way to search by people?

Many thanks


Robert Farrow
4:21pm 10 May 2014

I've used Cloudworks for projects atThe Open University and also used it as a platform for liveblogging (although I tend to use my own blog these days).

I must confess, I'm just working my way through H800 and already feel familiar with CW so I haven't done all the exercises. Not much has changed here over the last few years but there seems to be new content coming through, which means that the site has a community to sustain it.  Well done!

Greg Wells
3:24pm 6 April 2015

Where are the instructions on how to do the activities?

Brendan Clarke
9:00pm 6 April 2015

HI- I made mine into my own Cloudquest Cloud here

Found the activity really useful and made me unpick aspects of cloudworks, that I woudnt have done.  Had come across cloudworks a few months ago looking at things on the web and bookemarked and came back a time or two, but doing this via H800 made a big difference on my understanding of it and feel more compfortable with using it- so as an induction for me it worked and made me use my own cloud and will use others again- ta B

Jeni Parker
2:38pm 12 April 2015


Cloudquest Challenge made me look more throughly than the quick look it would have been given.

Had not used Cloudworks before, made a good intro.



Munir Moosa Sewani
8:04am 25 March 2017

I enjoyed the cloudquest alot. It was a brainstorming activity, which took me to different features of the website

Will Woods (student)
6:59pm 26 March 2017

I've also enjoyed the challenge. A good way to navigate round site functionality.

Michael Wood
8:55am 29 March 2017

This was fun.  I have found the site very simple to navigate.  I am confused on one thing though.  The cloudscape challenge says "post on the H800 forum".. does that mean our tutor group forum, or is there an H800 forum on cloudworks?

Colleen Godinho
1:33pm 30 March 2017

This is the first time I have seen or heard of cloudworks so maybe that is why it took me a few hours to navigate around and read contributions along the way! A very informative site - I have  already learnt so much from the experience of others. Wish I knew about this site when I was teaching regularly! I have posted on here like Michael and Will in response to the challenge, I am sure this is fine!

Brendan Kilshaw
9:53pm 3 April 2017

Once I'd found it i really liked the cloudstream page for a quick way to see the most recent activity on the site.

Gospel Ikpeme
7:55pm 5 April 2017

I enjoyed the Cloud Challenge. I think it's a great starter. 

Sixbert SANGWA
10:58am 30 March 2018

Navigating on the site for my first time was a bit more dificult and struglled to find information but later noted how rich is the platform. It's recommendable to educators and community of practices as a friend said it. 

Michelle Norman
3:02pm 31 March 2018

Did not know this existed. A great platform for sharing and collaborating. 

Jill Bamber
9:32am 4 April 2018

I'm new to Cloudworks but finding it really interesting. Doing the H800 cloudquest to help navigate my way around. I can anticipate using this a lot!

Jill Bamber
9:32am 4 April 2018 (Edited 9:33am 4 April 2018)

PS, will be having a go at my own soon :)

Selina Griffin
5:25pm 4 April 2018


I have worked on the H800 loudquest challenge; hope to receive a badge!

Nicole Tschumi-Leake
11:28am 8 April 2018

Well, Hi everyone,

nice to see some familiar names, which must mean that I have arrived at the correct site!

Just completed some aspects of the H800 challenge and was amazed at the different Open University students on here.

This feels like a good platform to use. We will see.


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