Survival Strategies

Image representing Diigo as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase, source unknown

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.

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About Kimberly McCollum

I'm a former middle and high school science teacher and current stay at home mom.
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5 Responses to Survival Strategies

  1. Kimberly – thanks for this analysis. One of my goals in taking the CCK08 course was to explore some new tools and I hadn’t heard of Twine, so I’ll be sure to check it out.

    The load of information can be overwhelming for sure. It will be interesting to watch how our tools change over the coming weeks.

  2. I am sure it will take a couple of weeks for things to settle and it will be fascinating to see what the drop out rate is – I mean, I haven’t even got started yet!

  3. inpi says:

    Hi Kim,
    Thank you for the splendid strategy to deal with the superabundance of information sources. I had a hint about coming here to visit you and learn something essential about this issue.
    As my new school year just started – and my new internet connexion was down during 4 days – I couldn’t follow the connectivism course as it deserves, but I can stil use your tips to find great readings.
    I leave here my blog written in Portuguese, especially set up for the students blogging competition: as the majority of posts are translations from English Edublogs posts I thought that perhaps you would like to check the similarity between Portuguese and French.
    I’m glad you are enjoying Twine. Everything I’ve found about Connectivism was there.
    Ines

  4. sarajoypond says:

    Looks like I better check out Diigo…haven’t even heard of it yet–at least not in a non-information-overload state🙂
    Thanks–and I’m really glad you’re still taking the class–and participating so actively. I miss you insights, and your humor. This way I don’t have to go without completely🙂

  5. @Jeannine – You’re welcome, but the thanks for Twine should really go to Ines — she’s the one who told me about it.

    @Sarah – I am also really curious to see what the drop out rate will be. I hope someone is trying to measure it. I wonder how lurkers would be handled in such a count?

    @Ines – I am enjoying Twine. Right now I’m free-loading off of the efforts of others, but hopefully I’ll start contributing soon. As always, thanks for the language resources. I hate to admit it, but with all of this connectivism stuff going on, I’ve temporarily shelved my language learning efforts. I am going to make a goal to start again in November.

    @SaraJoy – Thanks for your comment. I miss you too. I really appreciate your chat comments during class. I don’t know how else I’d manage when my Skype connection gets on the fritz.

    Also, I’m glad that you think I have a sense of humor to miss🙂 Reading your comment has made me realize that this blog over-represents my serious side. I need to think about whether I’m comfortable with that . . .

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