Getting Beyond Lurking with #etmooc and Blackboard Collaborate Sessions

Newbie’s log–newbie date 31/01/2013….

3:15pm CST retweets #ETMOOC invitation to Sue Waters’ session on student blogging

3:23pm CST gets help from Elizabeth (gentle nudging tweets) to get butt into Blackboard Collaborate session and start lurking

3:24pm CST gets more Twitter nudges from Alison to get butt into Blackboard and begin lurking tonight

3:30pm CST rummages around desk to locate newly purchased JVC headphones for testing purposes. Check.

3:32pm CST goes to Blackboard Collaborate test site to test audio, microphone, and nerves #anxious #deepbreath

3:33pm CST finds out just how slowly my 7 year old HP laptop loads Blackboard Collaborate

3:49pm CST after successfully testing sound, unsuccessful with microphone (phew, didn’t really want that to work anyway) announces to world through Twitter that I will, in fact, be lurking on #etmooc Blackboard session in 2hrs (or so) #nervousness #gulp

4:00pm CST realizes #etmooc session during supper hour, must come up with supper plan *fast* so family happy and lurking can begin

4:02pm CST dials number of local pizzeria, places order

4:15pm CST also remembers to give kibble to our two hungry dogs

4:30pm CST nervous stomach (good grief, it’s still 1.5 hours away!) #calmdown #slowbreathing

5:30pm CST picks up pizza from local pizzeria

5:59pm CST after quickly flinging pizza boxes onto kitchen table, dealing with yappy happy lapdogs, and what seems like an eternally slow laptop, I begin my very first Blackboard session. Ever.


That wasn’t so bad, was it?

Thank you, thank you, thank you! to Elizabeth, Alison, Sue, Claire, Alec, Al, and Mary. Your combined Twitter nudging for the past two days got me to leap into the unknown and try something new.

Blackboard is fascinating.

I love the whiteboard portions of the session where the moderator asks us to fill in our thoughts on the guiding phrase/question.

The chat screen is a bit of a … hmm, nuisance is not the word, but … distraction? Not really that either. I guess it’s “too much” kind of like the #etmchat I joined for the first time last week was too much. Something to get used to, build skills, develop brain power. 🙂

What did I do to deserve the support of seven people on Twitter, all of whom I have never met in “real life”, and their combined encouragement for me to try Blackboard? Dunno. But that’s the beauty, I think, of connecting online.

Hey, that reminds me….. Helen responded to Alan Levine’s challenge to post a video about connecting online and sharing “true stories”. I was impressed by her honesty and challenged with the video format of her blog post response.

That will be my next new challenge. Video. And having the courage to post the video.

But not tonight.

For now, my brain is full.

Thanks #etmooc’ers! Looking forward to continuing to push the boundaries of online connecting in a safe, encouraging environment!


About tjthiessen

explorer, administrator, consultant, student, leader
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11 Responses to Getting Beyond Lurking with #etmooc and Blackboard Collaborate Sessions

  1. Kirsten says:

    Hi, I agree, I am very intreagued with the whiteboard share on blackboard. Wish I could have that in class. I was so inspired by the simplicity of blackboard I signed my class up for video conferences! The first was great, had to cancel the second as it depends on equipment built in 1892, that has to have been booked in 1893, and requires 1891 hours of training and the promise of my first born. They could have my second born, but the rest is too much. Felicitations on your major steps!

  2. tasteach says:

    G’day TJ,
    This is only my second MOOC and I am lurking more at this one rather than taking part writing lots of posts. But I do share your trepidation with tweeting and joining discussions in blackboard collaborate.

    I began my journey back in 2008 when I first met Sue Waters and her blogging. Since then it has been a steep learning curve, but now I would not be without Twitter or my blogs. They are an essential part of my life. Until you see the value of a new tool and use it as part of your everyday work, it will often sit there on the back burner. But as a teacher or educator, we should be prepared to have a go at new things – we expect the students to do that and we should be leading by example.

    • tjthiessen says:

      Thank you for your comment! What I am trying to figure out, as I go through my own trepidation with connecting online, is how I can encourage students with similar anxiety to share safely.

    • tasteach says:

      With those anxious students, start slowly just like you are. Depending on the age of the students, commenting on class blog posts, then going out to other classes and commenting. Maybe two students working on the one comment instead of separately.

      When I was working with grade 6/7 students I would share what i felt like as a learner of new technology. I had to go slowly, get comfortable with one thing before heading to another. I didn’t see the value of Twitter till I began the student blogging challenge. For the previous six months I had just been a lurker on Twitter.

      The most important thing to teach students whatever age is – what you put online today will stay there forever – so if you don’t want your children, grandchildren, grandparents reading it or seeing it, then don’t put it online.

  3. Sue Waters says:

    Great to see you manage to attend the session while juggling dinner and a computer that didn’t want to play nicely. Technically I blame Collaborate rather than the computer. Collaborate has very specific requirements for Java and that can affect if it loads and how well it loads.

    Chat can be distracting which is why I encourage participants to download the chat at the end of the session if they find it too noisy. As the moderator I’ll try to keep an eye on the chat but rely on my co – moderators to let me know if I’ve missed anything important.

    Thanks for sharing! It is nice to know that I’m not the only one juggling everything while trying to work! I had my two sons keep coming into the room while moderating — to grump at me 😦

    • tjthiessen says:

      Thanks for a very inspiring session! I was glad the microphone I had wasn’t working, partly as a very good excuse not to connect that way, and partly because it would have picked up on our two dogs grumbling and girls asking “where are the napkins?” and such. 🙂

  4. arbogasts says:

    I too am more of a Lurker when it comes to Social Media (I have accounts at Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter) and MOOCs. I do have a blog, or two, but have not really posted much there. I am not sure if I lurk due to my introverted nature or procrastination (I will work on solving that dilemma tomorrow, next week the latest).
    But I found your post humorous and inspiring. That people you only know through these interaction would be so inclined to get you to participate in the classroom sessions, says something wonderful about both you and them.

    • tjthiessen says:

      I was truly amazed at how many people nudged me ever so gently – encouragement from people I have no connection with other than Twitter. Actually made me feel a bit of guilt for not connecting sooner! I’m working on a post about lurkers in general, and how to safely encourage them – either to continue lurking or to move beyond and into participating. Thanks for your comments!

  5. laladams says:

    Thanks for your post. I laughed as I read and wondered if I had accidentally left my web cam on? Have you been watching MY journey? My kids are boys, but my dog barks at the most inopportune times as well. I have stepped out from lurking and it has been the encouragement of strangers that has helped me too. I guess that’s what this whole neighborhood/network thing is all about. Congratulations and I have found each experience (BB Collaborate, tweetchats, blogging) has gotten easier each time I do it. As far as encouraging other learners- telling your story is a gift unto itself.

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