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Idea: Mahara like social connections for staff using Moodle

My colleague recently raised the point that teaching staff would like to know what their faculty colleagues were doing in their Moodle sites. I too have often come across the desire by staff to share practice - in and out of Moodle. With regard to opening sites the trick is how to make the sites open for viewing without opening all sites, adding staff to all sites, etc - i.e. system based approaches. We need an approach that is tailored to the needs of individual staff and facilitates or strengthen local or personal connections. It would therefore be more appropriate and effective to enable staff to choose who they connect and share with. For example a corridor conversation takes place and staff decide they wish to share each others Moodle sites/practices etc. Moodle should make this easy to do and enable a persistent connection between these people and their units.

There is a lot of talk about social networks and their use by students, but there needs to be a way to make it easy for staff to connect to share and discuss their sites, blended strategies etc.

One approach could be to make use of spare screen real estate and have a second column to the right of the sites list (which is currently un-used white space) to list colleagues sites.

The system initially might say: "Sites your colleagues are running. (You don't have any colleagues registered here, click to add your colleagues. See here for recommended colleagues.)"

This approach has a few benefits – it puts the control over what sites and who their colleagues are into the hands of the staff member. It also allows staff to add recommended colleagues that perhaps a social star rating system raises to the top 10 for great sites, and it also adds the level of transparency that staff are looking for. It does this in a way that is non-threatening, non-imposing, and encourages talking about teaching and learning practice - which is such a critical part of staff development and consequently delivering a great student experience.

What do others think?


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