Landing : Athabascau University

Week 3: Blogs and Aggregation: Revision

Last updated May 3, 2010 - 9:18am by George Siemens

This week, we'll take a break from the conceptual discussions we've been having about fragmented learning content and conversations and the creation of "temporary centres". We will return to these topics periodically, as they form the base of social networked learning. 

The key topics in week 3 are: blogs, commenting, and aggregation. Blogs have a long history (in the world of social software, at least!). In the late 1990's, technologists starting using simple websites, with posts in reverse chronological order, to share ideas and accept comments from readers. At first, blogs looked similar to regular websites, with the small addition of reader comments. The inclusion of comments, however, was a significant departure from the static one-way information flow of most websites. At a basic level, blogs combined the static web with the more dynamic early internet bulletin board services (for more information on the evolution of the social web, have a look at this archived version of Trebor Scholtz's History of the Social Web).

With this seemingly small change to two-way information flow, the beginning stages of what became known as web 2.0 - and is now known as social media - was established.

When you join the Landing, you are able to engage with other Landers (what shall we call them??) through a variety of tools: the wire, file sharing, groups, pages, photos...and blogs. Understanding how blogs work and how they can be used for learning is important to understand The Landing and its educational role.

Readings: - an information page on blogs and potential uses in education

Collectives, networks, and groups

Stephen Downes: Educational Blogging


1. After reviewing the readings this week, post (on your blog) how you might use blogs in a) your teaching/learning and/or b) in designing courses. Continue tagging posts with TLSTN. Take time to engage with others on their blogs as well (by searching for the course tag).

2. Attend our Tuesday Elluminate session at 2:00 PM Mountain time. We will be discussing aggregating blogs and "collecting" followers. We will meet here in Elluminate. The session will be recorded if you are unable to attend.

3. After our Tuesday session, create a "collection" of course participants (a quick way to find who they are is to search the tlstn tag). We will make this process a bit easier next week when we look at groups...but as collections/aggregation is a key skill outside of groups, it is presented here first.

4. Continue with deep breathing and stress relief activities :). Within the next week or so, the value of distributed course content and conversations will make more sense. Before we can start to filter relevant information, we first need to experience the fragmented structure of information in networked environments. Pulling the pieces back together into some type of coherent whole will make more sense now that we've all experienced the joys of fragmentation! 

5. If you are feeling lost and confused, let me know. We can arrange a skype or phone call to review the Landing, or, if you're at ELC, I can provide a short tutorial.