Mail lists and more open social software

Chris Rust sent me a link. He said:

An Innocuous list you might want to give to the new staff course? Even better, you might get them to discuss adding their own?! Best wishes Chris

————————— Original Message —————————-
Subject: TP Msg. #961 The Ten Worst Teaching Mistakes
From:    “Rick Reis” [deleted]
Date:    Tue, September 1, 2009 12:56 am
To:      tomorrows-professor@mailman.stanford.edu
————————————————————————–

What might he mean adding their own?

Adding to this list? If it is an innocuous list why bother? Or, adding their own list? That might be more interesting. Could we use a mail list for discussion of our subject matters? In the past we have used the discussion forums on the VLE.

Some groups of tutors and participants have chosen from time to time to minimise their use of the VLE forums. Others have made good use of them and pushed the genre to new limits.

Are maillists the way we want to communicate?

On the PCTHE we will be using three main channels formally.

  • The VLE as a content repository, assignment handler, and discussion forum
  • the wiki for distributed collaborative shared development work
  • email for administration.

I am aware that a lot of information circulates on email. For some people, this is their preferred communication channel.

Currently I receive quite a few mail lists but do not respond to them. If I have something to say I usually blog it more publicly. Like here. I may send a link to the maillist, if I am subscribed to post. A lot of mail lists allow you to subscribe to read without being able to reply.

You balance closed community benefits against more open community benefits.

The thing about blogs is that you can enable “track-backs”. This means if anyone quotes your post and gives the link to what they quoted, as good attribution practice dictates, their quote will appear as a comment on your blog.

So, I will continue to use email for administration notices, one to one correspondence and occasional one-way broadcast to a limited group. Discussion of matters of shared substance I will tend to put in discussion forums or blogs.

So, maillists are useful. I tend to consume and produce them as uni-directional traffic. If I want dialogue with a connected commons, I’ll tend to use social software rather than email

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