Switching between Delicious and Diigo: and MultiMOOC to ETMOOC
I’m sorry that Chris is having problems with her Posterous account. Posterous is not acting properly these days. It is particularly not welcoming to newcomer Chris, as she has documented here: http://chris-ab2cz.posterous.com/still-no-password
Two affordances of Posterous in education contexts
But in this post I am hoping to illustrate two affordances of Posterous that I have been able to make excellent use of as a teacher and teacher-trainer.
The first of these affordances is the ability to post by email. The MultiMOOC EVO session which lives here, http://goodbyegutenberg.pbworks.com, has a corresponding Yahoo Group site here, http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/multilit/. I am making this post by composing an email to the Yahoo Group list at email@example.com and cc’ing it to the Posterous account at firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s convenient, and makes Posterous blogs accessible to students and others for whom working through email is closer to their workflow than posting and commenting via the Web.
The second affordance that I find lends itself well to creating tutorials and teaching materials is where Posterous attempts to display in the blog the image or media at an underlying URL. I use this affordance in conjunction with Jing, the screen capture tool that allows you to upload your captures to Screencast.com, thus giving each a URL that can be shared via the cloud.
Today I have been grappling with another Web 2.0 tool that used to be brilliant but after acquisition by a larger partner has deteriorated in performance. Delicious used to be a highly utilitarian no-frills and effective bookmarking tool, but since acquisition by Yahoo has become slow and unpredictable.
The Ning Thing in 2010
There was a time in 2010 when many of us were using another free Web 2.0 tool Ning, which went over to a paid model, and forced unfunded educators to move their content elsewhere or lose it (as I documented here: http://www.tesl-ej.org/wordpress/issues/volume14/ej53/ej53int/). Several alternative sites sprang up to attempt to import Ning content to their platforms, with varying success. Some of the sites specialized in porting your network to their servers but for some reason getting the blogs to port from Ning to most of these sites was not part of the transfer. Ironically, Posterous was able to harvest Ning blogs, and I ported several of my Nings to that platform; e.g. http://webheadsinaction.posterous.com/
Delicious and Diigo
Now that Twitter and Yahoo have bought out Posterous and Delicious respectively, Diigo, another bookmarking site yet to undergo acquisition has for some time been moving to help Delicious users port their date to their site.
I have been putting off the move, but this morning, I just got fed up. The impetus for the move was first of all the difficulty of working with Delicious, a site that used to be smooth as silk, as I attempted to bookmark the ePortfolio sites that participants in the current MultiMOOC EVO session had registered as the ones they would be using for the session. Here are the links I bookmarked:
I managed to bookmark all of these by pasting a comma-separated list of tags directly into the popup (to bypass the interface that forces you to select tags one-by-one as objects, too tedious!). These are the tags I used:
evomlit, mmooc13, multiliteracies, 2013evo, multiMOOC, eportfolio
These can all be seen if you visit my Delicious account and tell it to display all the links I have given one of those tags to. Let’s play with mmooc13, which is the tag in this list that is particular only to this session. At the link below, you can see that all of the ePortfolio URLs I tagged are listed:
However, the idea of aggregation is to be able to find the tags that ANY user of Delicious has given to any website. To get the link that does that, we replace the part of the URL above that points just to my account with the word ‘tag’ which makes the URL point to all links on the Delicious servers which have been given the desired tag; i.e.
Here it can be seen that only a few of the ePortfolio links I tagged are listed. It seems from the results that Delicious is sampling sites that have been allocated this tag and displaying the results in a format that only the designers of the new interface would be able to explain. Previously, you used to get a straightforward listing of all the sites you were looking for, no frills, but now this listing seems overly-refined and filtered.
Porting from Delicious to Diigo
This was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. Finding Delicious to be pretty but unworkable for my purposes, I decided to shift to Diigo. I’ve done this before actually, but continued using Delicious. This time I’ve had it though. From now on I plan to use Diigo while taking advantage of its offer to simultaneously update my Delicious account (handy, in case it doesn’t work; read on).
And this is where I get to explain to others how to do that using screenshots I’ve made with Jing and uploaded in a single click to Screencast.com. In the version of this message that is being sent to the Yahoo Group, you will see URLs to the screenshots. But in the version that is going to http://multiliteracies.posterous.com/ you should see the images themselves, embedded automatically by the nice people at Posterous (not the mean people at Posterous who are making it difficult for Chris to enter the account she set up there and now can’t access).
So how does this work? At the moment, when you go to http://diigo.com one of the first things you see is a prominently displayed link to a FAQ that invites visitors to the site to start the conversion process:
When you click on the FAQ link you get a white paper comparing the services of Delicious and Diigo and explaining matter-of-factly what will happen should you decide to take the leap. A button at the bottom of that page invites you to jump …
Probably the most complicated part of the process is the next set of instructions (shown in the next Diigo screenshot further down). Here you have to go to your Delicious account and find the export link. The next screenshot shows you where it is in Delicious today (not where it says it is in the Diigo instructions; they keep changing it!)
Once you’ve clicked on export, you’re asked if you want to keep your notes and tags with the HTML file it’s about to create for you. If you want that information to port to Diigo (and you do!) then tick the boxes (the default). This creates a delicious.html file and saves it to your computer:
Now back to the Diigo screenshot mentioned above. Having generated the delicious.html file, you CHOOSE it and then click on the button to IMPORT it to Diigo
It seems that a lot of people are doing this lately. When I clicked IMPORT I got this message advising me to be patient and join the queue.
Aggregation in Diigo and Delicious
Now when I check my library at http://www.diigo.com/user/vances/ I see the links I am looking for, just as I do with Delicious (they are there under the sites I’ve just tagged in both my Delicious and Diigo accounts). The set of ePortfolio sites also displays when I search my account for just the ones tagged mmooc13:
However, when I search using the aggregation link given in our sidebar at http://goodbyegutenberg.pbworks.com I find no hits (yet). There are hits in the “community library” for evomlit, from our use of that tag in past years, http://www.diigo.com/search?adSScope=community&what=evomlit.
However, nothing as yet for:
For this search the Delicious link is currently more productive: https://delicious.com/tag/mmooc13
But let’s wait and see what happens :-).
Implications for coping with complex and chaotic learning
This is the catch in running a course that purports to examine “Multiliteracies for Social Networking and Collaborative Learning Environments”. It is difficult to pin down one day to the next what Web 2.0 sites will be working in the way expected. In Dave Snowden’s terms as presented to us by Dave Cormier <http://learning2gether.posterous.com/dave-cormier-discusses-cmooc-and-multimooc-co> the situation with these sites is complex, and even chaotic, two conditions that lend themselves well to exploration through MOOCs.
It would be possible to construct a course such as this one on the assumption that the Web is a stable platform, as many courses do, and people who give and take such courses would doubtlessly prefer to see it that way. But in fact, the Web is an unstable place,and in order to approach an understanding of it, constant experimentation and subsequent retooling are necessary. Participants in the parallel BaW EVO session were taken aback recently when one of their Web 2.0 sites, Photopeach, not only went down but took their data with it. Whereas that session focuses on the tools for teaching and connecting on the Internet (most of which are working fine) this one addresses how cMOOCs scale connectivity when the number of participants is large to infinite, and explores tools which help aggregate content for such a large number of participants.
The ETMOOC approach
For comparison, let’s look at ETMOOC, which many of us are participating in as it is running concurrently with MultiMOOC. The Orientation Week message posted there on Jan 20, 2013 mentions the chaotic nature of the beast being grappled with, and couches the learning to be expected from that MOOC in much the same terms as I do for this EVO session:
Here we can see that ETMOOC are using a similar tool set to ours, comprising Twitter, Diigo, Delicious, Google+, and another tool Reddit. The latter seems to be the least successful for them: http://www.reddit.com/r/etmooc/. Reddit works by people nominating links and other people in the community voting on these links so that, in theory, the best links rise to the top.
There are at this writing only two links at the Reddit site, whereas the Diigo and Delicious searches are working well. This is because ETMOOC is actually a cMOOC whereas MultiMOOC is not (the former has almost 2000 participants whereas we have 35 who filled in our Google form, and of these only a handful have been active). However, from ETMOOC you can see how Delicious and Diigo can work to aggregate content when many people pool together to populate a tag:
Weeks 2 and 3 at MultiMOOC
The Week 2 activities were proposed only a couple of days ago:
It would be interesting to see if we can populate our aggregation links ourselves, and the results of our endeavors will be examined more closely in Week 3. But as the theme for that week is Networking, the third step in Cormier’s progression toward success in a MOOC, we will expand our network to include an examination of how these tools are working for our in vivo network soul-mates in ETMOOC, as well as any results we are able to muster from our small scale in vitro experimentations.