Well, just by the number of participants this time around I vote we were successful and I have high hopes for next year. We changed things up a bit and I think that the commenting week went ok. I liked the posts from Northwestern Michigan College and I think our posts were read by the folks there. The gifts this time around were good. For me, it was best when it was, “One cookie for me, one cookie for a teacher.” I ate a lot of cookies.
At 1, 261 views, the Webletter had more views in October than it has in the six years it has existed in its present form. That is good. I think that unless I am outvoted, we will return the Title Clicks to direct back to the author’s blog. That way the faculty will have more views on their sites. Not that views are everything, but it is an indication of interaction.
I will be moving the Webletter from its current hosting service (Bluehost) to another service (Reclaimhosting). I have never done that before, but I am excited by the new service as it will allow me to add @discourse as a way for faculty to have conversations of the Webletter. The screenshot below is a forum from the connected courses class. (http://connectedcourses.net/ ) We will have the capability to have conversations on the Webletter using a really elegant and adaptable interface.
I bring that up because the structure of the 9x9x25 is still overwhelming for a reader. I am not sure if that needs to be “fixed” because maybe when you have 23 awesome people writing at the same time you just end up with a lot to read. But, I am interested in making the whole thing more interactive. Be that with comments on posts or a discussion forum or just bringing in posts from other intuitions, I am interesting in trying to make it better. Of course, the real point of the whole thing is not so much the interaction, but teachers sitting quietly and reflecting on their practice in writing. I think.
I am excited to see how our lunch goes. I have some questions for the group about next year and I am interested to see how they are taken. One is about actually charging faculty to participate in the Challenge. The other is to see if we can get some other gifts from the college students/faculty. I really thought the plants from the Horticulture program were great. I like that the college students were involved in growing them. There must be some other items like that that we can use as gifts.
I hope I remember to get on the soapbox for a minute or two and talk about the challenge we face in creating sharable web presence as faculty. We have a few stellar examples of faculty using the web beyond adding content to a Blackboard shell. I think that the “digital literacy” that we need to role model for our students includes being capable of defining the purpose of, and creating and maintaining, a presence on the web. So I’ll say something like that.