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How do discussions in closed spaces like password protected forums compare with open debates in spaces like cloudworks?

There are some really interesting debates going on in cloudworks at the moment amonst students...

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Gráinne Conole
15 April 2010

There are some really interesting debates going on in cloudworks at the moment amonst students taking the H800 course as part of the OU's Masters in Open and Distance Education.

In particular I am struck by the comments arising from both the H800 cloudquest challenge and the Using Cloudworks on H800 cloud.

It's got me wondering about the followng question:

  • How do debates in closed spaces (for example password protected forums) compare with open debates in somewhere like cloudworks?

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Gráinne Conole
5:59am 15 April 2010


My own initial thoughts are that both types of spaces are valuable and have different roles. In a close space you can feel part of a community and a sense of collective shared identity and trust. An open space brings the possibility of new connections and serendipity and the excitement of being part of something much bigger.

Juliette Culver
3:09pm 15 April 2010


I find it hard to compare because most closed spaces in which I have participated differ from public spaces in more ways than just privacy level.

Closed spaces can differ enormously and I don't think you can automatically equate such spaces with feeling of community, shared identity and trust. It's almost easier I think to look at what public spaces have in common.

I wonder too if it's not debates where the differences show themselves most but in other types of communication and discussion. 

Sandy McAuley
11:24pm 15 April 2010


I think this is a really important question, although I question its either/or connotation.

I think we need to be able to open closed spaces and close the open according to goals. In other words, we need online technologies that facilitate one becoming the other, as needed.

Julia Wells
11:20am 16 April 2010


I like the wider scope of the  Cloudworks forums  and the potential for ongoing interaction once the closed forums disappear, which for me will be at the end of H800.

Gráinne Conole
1:21pm 24 April 2010


Sandy I argree with you - I think they are both useful in different circumstances. One of the interesting issues we face with cloudworks is that alot of people want to have 'closed' spaces and dont like the fact that everything on the site is open. But of course the openness is its strength it means anyone can comment on anything and we are seeing some great ways in which this is beneficial, connecting people in unforeseen ways. However we plan to make cloudworks open source in the Summer and I am sure that one of the first things someone will do is created a 'closed' version ;-)

Gráinne Conole
1:22pm 24 April 2010


Hi Julia

yes I know what you mean. I feel a sense of loss now I am not studying L140 and so no longer have access to the discussion forum. Will be really interested to see whether those of you on H800 continue to use cloudworks! I hope so!!

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