Taking a course on New Media, Social Media, and Learning means sifting through a lot of information. Simultaneously participating in a distance education course with nearly 2,000 participants means sifting through a lot more information.
To cope with the flow of information, I’ve subscribed to the RSS feeds of the blogs of all of my New Media classmates. I’ve been checking these feeds almost daily and commenting frequently (Since I’m the only course member participating from a distance, commenting on blogs feels like my strongest link to other course participants). The class size is under twenty, and so it’s manageable and even enjoyable.
Dealing with the information flow for the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge course honestly feels like a chore. Originally, I had subscribed to most of the CCK08 (the course tag) information channels that were available in English. I had joined the Moodle course, the Google Group, the Facebook Group, the connectivism Twine, and subscribed to RSS feeds from the course blog, Delicious, Technorati, and even Twitter search. One of the few things I didn’t join was the Second Life cohort.
I checked all of these feeds yesterday and began to be annoyed. Once I saw what seemed like the 100th bookmark for the course website on Delicious, I realized that I wasn’t getting unique perspectives, I was getting redundant information. The Delicious feed was the first thing to go. Now that course related discussion has begun in earnest in Moodle, the Google Group was the second thing to go. The Twitter feed was third.
I’ve kept the Twine Digest, which I feel is a nice supplement to the course daily. The digest provides a few links in an easy to scan format and I’ve found a some the links valuable. For now, I’ve kept the Technorati feed, but I plan to lose it in a week or two. Through the Technorati feed, I’ve come across some high caliber work by my classmates. My plan is to use Technorati for a week or two to locate my most insightful classmates. As I find these classmates, I’ll subscribe directly to their blogs and/or Twitter feeds. I’ll probably stop somewhere between10 and 20. After that, I’ll cut the Technorati feed.
The most pleasant surprises that I’ve had in this course is Diigo. I’ve been a Diigo user for some time now, but this class is the first time where the ability to make public annotations to webpages has lived up to its potential. It’s amazing to me to see discussions emerging in the margins of the articles I’m reading. Diigo is perhaps the most profitable way that I’ve found to connect to insightful classmates.