Hello! I'm Sean Michael Morris, the director of Digital Pedagogy Lab. I'm writing up this quick blog post to welcome you to DPL 2020, our first online event—actually our first online anything the Lab.
One of the things that's always been really important at the Lab has been the sense of community that's created when we are all on ground together. So this year when we had to go online, we made a big effort to create that sense of community, even a sense of place. We are using a variety of websites and a discussion forum to create a consistent, uniform experience (some teachers are using other platforms and tools as well); and we wanted to be sure that you'll have a sense of belonging, a familiar place throughout the week, a "this is where I go every day" feeling.
As with all online learning, design of the environment is key; and so is a clear understanding of how the architecture of the design (and therefore, the learning) works. So, to help you navigate the coming week of intense, immersive discovery and collaboration, I want to take a moment to break down what participation will look like. This way, you can make the best of the event.
You are currently in the Auditorium. You should plan to start every day of the week here, at dpl.online. You'll come here to check out new morning announcements to see and read special presentations. and just to sort of see what's going on each day. The Auditorium is also a place where you'll have access to your courses, discussions, keynotes, and workshops.
The navigation at the top of the page will take you wherever you need to go. So for example, if you want to see the keynotes, you'll just click on "Keynotes" in the upper right-hand corner.
Here's where we will have keynotes posted. You can take a look and see that we've got them all lined up. This is also where the live streams and recordings will be housed. And, at any point from here, you can go back to the Auditorium.
Right now visiting the site, you're not going to see all the navigation pictured above on the page. That's just because we haven't started the event yet. And there's a lot of building still going on in the background, as we make sure that your experience of the Lab will be memorable.
At the top of the page, you'll also have a a link to the Course directory, which will in turn link out to the Course you're enrolled in. All Courses have their own sites—the "room" reserved for your cohort.
For example, let's take a look at the Information Literacy site. It's right here.
If you're signed up for Information Literacy, this will become a very familiar spot for you. But regardless of the Course you're enrolled in, when you go to your classroom site, you'll see blog posts from your instructor (and possibly other cohort members), as well as course-specific navigation at the top of the page. All Course sites will include a link out to the discussion that's situated for that course.
I want to explain quickly just the architecture here. The Auditorium and Courses are located on a platform called Ghost. It's a blogging platform.
Some instructors will be using the Ghost blogging platform as part of your work during the week. If that's the case, you'll receive an invitation to join the site (see below). But invitations to these sites aren't necessary in order to view them. The Auditorium and Course sites are all open access.
But while the Auditorium and your Courses are on Ghost, Discussions are housed elsewhere.
Let's pop over to Discussions. The discussion forum is hosted on Discourse, and is available only to those folks who have registered for the event. Here's an example of what you might see on the Discussion forum page.
As you see, the only forums that appear are those associated with a Course or Workshop you're enrolled in. There's also a discussion forum for the Auditorium, which is open and available to everyone at the event (and is a great place to meet and network with other participants).
Discussions will be available once the event begins on July 26. Then, what you'll see is you'll see the Auditorium, the Course you're registered for, and any Workshops that you're signed up to attend.
Now, when you enter one of these forums, you'll see discussion threads. You can join in any of these, depending on what's going on with the Workshop or the Course.
Instructors will be making various uses of the Discussions—some more than others (and at least one instructor isn't using the Discourse site at all, preferring instead to use Slack).
Invitations to Join
Everyone will receive invitations to Discourse. Only if your Course work involves blogging on Ghost, will you also receive an invite to that platform. These are separate platforms, and will require two different accounts; however, once you're signed into Discourse for the week, you shouldn't have to log in again.
These invites will go out on the 25th of July. So the day before the event begins, you'll have the opportunity to then jump in and sort of look around. But we are also reserving the 26th of July as the day when you can kind of just get your feet wet and figure out what's going on. (Note: Invitations to these platforms usually end up in spam folders, so look for them there.)
To Sum Up
So, to summarise, the whole event is really designed to give you a sense of place, and a sense of community—a place where you can belong, easy access to other people who are attending and, and a reliable pattern or routine.
Every day, you'll want to:
- Check the Auditorium for the latest announcements.
- Visit your Course site for any updates, readings, new materials and activities, etc.
- Keep up with work you're doing in Workshops.
- Visit the Discussion to collaborate, meet new folks, and enjoy time in your cohort.
So in short that's the architecture of Digital Pedagogy Lab this year. I hope this makes sense and that you will enjoy the design we've laid out to take the guesswork out of your learning online.
That said, if you have any questions, please let me know. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to welcoming you to Digital Pedagogy Lab 2020 this coming July 26th!