Flickr Photo by Key Lime Pie
This is part of series of reflections on what I've learned about working wikily through working on NTEN's WeAreMedia wiki - not so much the content, but the community curriculum development and knowledge sharing process. In past posts, I've talked about:
- The Secret Life of a Wiki Gardener: Using a gardening metaphor, I drill down into the fine art of wiki facilitation.
- Balancing Participation On Homebase and Outposts: How wiki participation can happen on the wiki and off the wiki and how to weave that participation together.
- A Visual Way to Track Participation: Using a timeline application/widget, you can visually track who has added what to your wiki over time.
- The Power of the Newbie and Sustaining Participation As you wiki grows over time and new people come into the community, how to make the user experience a good one.
- Establishing a Culture of Giving on Your Wiki: This post looks at ways that you can encourage people to add to the wiki, not just browse.
- Getting out of the way: How to encourage participation in the beginning - moderating with a light touch to encourage and grow community responsibility.
At the beginning of the project, Dave Cormier agreed to be my "critical friend." (Here are a few resources defining critical friends - here, here and here). But the short definition is: "A critical friend is someone who is independent of the project who asks provocative questions, offers an alternative view, and helps facilitate fresh insights or alternative sources of information or expertise." This has been invaluable learning process because Dave's insights have sparked the above reflections.
Dave's most recent critical friend post offers some thoughts about community. He makes these points:
- No matter how good a community, its ideas, its positioning, there are almost always a couple of people working their tails off to keep it what it is.
- Community participation is almost entirely about the responsibility of the participant.
He goes on to say:
I’m going to be working with george siemens on a course starting (omg… next week) and will definitely be using the wearemedia project as a resource… we should, as good members of a community, update the part of the content that need updating as a manner of ‘responsibility’ or payment if you like, for using the material. I worry, however, about potentially adding confusing information while beth et al. are designing their delivery methods… something to think about.
This kind of relationship, though, seems like a good one. A couple of courses decide to use the same repository/ies for their work and that keeps the work uptodate as well as avoiding the duplication of effort. I wonder if something like this with wearemedia and alec’s 831 course would make a nice balance between two excellent resources. mmm… community.
If you look at the work plan, the content development part of the project is coming to a close (there's one module left to build on experimentation) and "instructional" part of the project is ramping up.
The wiki serves as a companion to the face-to-face workshops and Dave asks a very good question: How does one keep content this changeable uptodate?
Here's what lies ahead -- a division and then a bridge between online/offline learning and community/content. The problem is how to accomplish that without it being too confusing.
Community Driven Content
The Wiki/Community generated material will be the place to keep less static, more changing information. Where "responsible" community members and the wiki gardener (me) will add. These sections are:
As drill you down into the sections, you'll see links to blog posts that people contributed to this effort as well as links and text/bullet points on the wiki itself.
The challenge is how to keep the community engaged? We've worked rather intensely - perhaps this becomes a slower community.
Workshop Companion Content
At the very beginning of the project, people wanted to see "edited instructional content" - and Michele Martin wrote a great post about this. The next task is going to be transform the Community Driven Content into a more instructional and static format intended as a companion for workshop participants. I also see them eventually contributing to the wiki. This will happen over the next 6 weeks.