Just a few thoughts first up… it’s a real shame that they didn’t use Bloglines as I’d’ve liked to know how that went. Instead though they used a kinda Drupal-esque group aggregator of the type favoured by Dave Winer. Personally I like both the folders and the river but most of all the personal control so I’m a little surprised and kinda pleased that:
“The aggregator held four days of information. Through the end of the class, about 80% of students used this option for keeping up with the class.”
The discussion of trackbacks and the large amount of value they add in part 1 is pretty interesting too, I guess the problem there is that spam is about to kill trackbacks (perhaps?), are pingbacks any safer?
Part 2 introduces itself pretty well, sell this to the ‘it’ll be more work’ lobby:
“Over the course of the term, there were 1,078 posts in the blogosphere. The number of posts represents a doubling in online communication over when interaction in the course occurred principally in email. Student posts accounted for 78% of this volume and determined the content of the discussion. The group leader (professor) level of involvement represents a halving of moderator effort relative to the email method. Thus, the use of blogging tools, specifically RSS, appears to have led to a quadrupling of moderator productivity over email.”
Following this is what I long for, statistical, hard-nosed evidence of learner centred online learning facilitated, it would seem, in many ways by the tools and environments that were used. Can’t wait for the third instalment. These are an absolute must-read-and-share-with-the-world coupla posts!