It truly is not that remarkable to find examples of informal learning communities online, indeed these are the very genes on which the net has grown so explosively. What’s maybe more remarkable is that people even feel the need to remark on them. So why highlight this one? Well…
– I like the fact that in this one spot you can see the convergence not only of informal learning communities, but also the “mass amatuerization of everything” and “open source science” in one fell swoop. Take a look at the post titled “Biodiesel from Algae Reading List” where a propsective Master’s students solicits feedback from the forum’s members on a proposed reading list as he has no access to local experts on as specific a topic as “generating biodiesel from Algae. What’s even better – he not only gets feedback on specific Thesis topics that could greatly advance the field, someone in the forum actually knows about a researcher at the student’s institution that might be worth hooking up with. Awesome!
– I think it illustrates quite well how discussion forums aren’t going away and can be quite powerful for facilitating community discussion. Sometimes we need to take a step back and realize not everyone has the same problems or goals as us, and that blogs aren’t the only way.
– in writing about this specific forum, I’m outing myself as a closet biodiesel fan. If I’m still writing EdTechPosts 10 years from now, please givem me a kick in the #@@. ‘Cos secretly (well, I guess not so secretly anymore) all I want to do is homebrew! – SWL