Since #thoughtvectors is about helping you explore the magic of the Web, we want to help you become “of the Web.” That is, we want to help you develop the awareness, skills, habits and dispositions necessary to take full advantage of the affordances of the Web. It’s all about the personal learning network!
Before the course starts, we expect that you will have:
- Established a home on the web (details in #1 below)
- Joined Twitter (details in #2 below)
- Joined the #thoughtvectors Google+ Community (details in #3 below)
- Once you’ve done those things, let us know by committing yourself to the #thoughtvectors cause by following the process that starts here (details in #4 below)
1. Get your very own space on the World Wide Web
If you haven’t already done so, grab a spot on the World Wide Web!
If you already have a space on the Web that includes blogging capabilities, you can use that space for #thoughtvectors. That said, we’ll be working with and demonstrating the affordances of WordPress as a publishing/design platform. Nearly a quarter of all the websites on the WWW are built on WordPress, including this very site. We’re big fans here at ThoughtVectors HQ and we think you will be too.
FOR ENROLLED VCU STUDENTS: We have a new, flexible, extensible instance of WordPress running at VCU. rampages.us allows any member of the VCU community to carve out their own presence on the Web. Getting started is super simple:
- Go to rampages.us
- Click the “Create An Account” button
- Complete the form (we suggest a different password from your VCU eID). Check the box to create a new site, and add your webpage title.
- While you can opt out of search engines if you’d like, the site will need to be open and viewable.
- Go to your new site and begin customizing.
FOR PARTICIPANTS NOT ENROLLED AT VCU: If you are hosting your own WordPress installation on your own site, great. A good second choice is WordPress.com. Blogspot can also work well. We can work with anything that generates an RSS feed, but these are our top recommendations.
2. Join Twitter
Twitter is a fantastic tool to have in your social/networked learning toolbelt. It’s a great space for “hanging out” and “chatting” out loud with friends/family/colleagues. But, it is also a great place to share information; to post links to articles/posts that those who follow you on Twitter would find interesting/relevant, to post pictures (like the Engelbart Selfies), etc. You can even engage in discussions, 140 characters at a time. As with many things on the Web, the more active you are, the more rewarding the activity becomes. When you link, retweet, favorite, and follow, you’ll soon find your personal learning network growing by leaps and bounds.
Throughout the #thoughtvectors experience, we will come across links to articles/posts that are relevant to our discussions. We will also aggregate and archive those tweets by using a hashtag, specifically #thoughtvectors.
You can find what is shared there by using that hashtag by going to the Twitter search page for that hashtag.
- Go sign up for a Twitter account.
- Update your profile page; it’s probably best to include a picture (not necessarily of you) and a brief description.
- Start following other Twitter users. Look at the #thoughtvectors stream. Find other interesting people. You can follow others by going to their Twitter pages and clicking on “follow.”
- Post, share, link, etc. Be sure to add #thoughtvectors to your posts.
3. Join Google+
Joining Google+ will make your life easier for the Hangouts. Please join the Google+ #thoughtvectors community here. All the Hangout video notifications and archiving will occur in this space.
If you need help signing up, Google will help you out with the following orientation guide.
4. Enlist in the Cause
Now that you have your tools in hand, come join the community. This will be essential for participation and community building. The Internet is a big place and this will help bring us together.
More Helpful Information
We recommend this additional “personal learning network” affordance:
3. Diigo – Group (social bookmarking)
One powerful way tol share and connect with each other (and the “community” at large) is through social bookmarking. The goal is for you to share relevant resources that come across your radar screen. In the course of your day, you might come across an article that’s relevant to our course. You may find it useful to develop a habit of bookmarking those articles and sharing them with other classmates. While you’ll obviously be sharing lots of resources on Twitter, social bookmarking is a more persistent and searchable resource. For Twitter, think “real time.” For Diigo and social bookmarking generally, think “building an archive.” Each has its benefits.
To get started, please create a Diigo account and join the class group at https://groups.diigo.com/group/thoughtvectors. Whenever you stumble across something that you think is relevant to this learning experience, share it through the Diigo group.
TIP: Using Diigo is easiest when you add a plugin or bookmarklet (a Diigolet, to be specific) to your browser and tag things as you explore each day. Information about adding the Diigolet to your browser is located here. If you use Google Chrome as your browser, the Diigo extension for Chrome makes bookmarking super easy.
We may organize some explorations of other social network sites / web affordances during the semester. You may too! It’s all part of the expedition.