Hooting away a la TMA?

I bet the title of this post befuddled the brains of many readers. I have been out of the loop for some time when it comes to the blogosphere. Nothing particularly sinister; more a case nothing of any particular interest to write about.

Anyhow, hello, I is back, innit.

So time to introduce a little notion I have been working on and whist I am not as yet going to give away too many secrets. On our Cisco Module at the Open University I am now at a beta stage of using social media to support/drive delivery of an online curriculum and blended distance-learning experience.

Personally I don’t think there is anything novel in this idea but research on papers on the web does not ‘as yet’ seemed to have uncovered anything vaguely similar.

I could be asking the wrong questions, or missing the point, nothing unusual there.

The idea makes use of some interesting tools and apart from the Hootsuite batch-scheduling tool, many free resources out there.

Think about what can be accomplished with a CSV, Moodle, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, IFTTT, RSS, Bit.ly and Cootsuite sitting in the background. Your only limitation is 140 characters on one channel; otherwise you are in a freeform world.

As with all Open University modules, the critical feature is the study calendar. Using this and generating sequential dates in your preferred spreadsheet application takes little effort; just some planning.

Appreciating the limited space available in twitter and the need to avoid long web addresses, Bit.ly becomes a useful friend. Here you can point your audience at different parts of your online experience (in this case Moodle and the Cisco Academy).

Being multiplatform, you do not need to dictate to your audience their method of engagement. They can use an RSS reader, their phone, their tablet or PC. They could simply go to the Moodle site, follow on LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+. The kinky bit is that all of these platforms have already created a large community of free resources on all platforms. Giving students, reminders, cues and moments of thought to encourage their participation.

Why not Facebook? So far this in my experience was the least tidy, but I am sure I will work it out soon.

So, once you are generating content to your audience, you have internal (paid) and external (free) participants. So, in my mind we are not only creating learning tool, but also an indirect method of self-promotion. Letting others see the vapour trail of learning pass by in the public ether, whilst having a password protected backend where most links land.

There is much more to be done, some of the work just in tidying up the process and documenting how it works.

Meanwhile, watch this space or at least go to @OUCisco on twitter and give it a try.


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