What are Malartu Conversations? Well, they are one part Connected Course aimed at faculty (and any administrators interested) and one part social media dialog. The idea is to replace the traditional face-to-face workshop or conference model of faculty professional development with a connected learning model. Harold Rheingold describes:
Connected courses are about connecting learners with each other and with networks in the world outside the classroom. They don’t have to be massive, but they can be. They do include videos and texts, but they are more about fostering cooperative communities of discourse than about passing quizzes about content. They connect classrooms and course cohorts within location-based institutions to learners and networks elsewhere in the world.
These conversations are open – anyone can read or follow the discussion. The conversation organizers have the choice to open contributions or limit contributions to particular faculty.
The difference between a Conversation and a Course is in timing and scheduling. Courses have defined starts and ends – often with an established agenda of topics. A Conversation just keeps going as long as people find it interesting and helpful. It stops when people stop contributing. A Conversation starts on certain topics but can go in different directions depending on what comes up. Think of a Malartu Conversation as a discussion that starts in the lunchroom or food court between a handful of faculty about a topic of interest. Other faculty see the discussion happening or overhear something, so they pull up a chair, listen, and join in. At times, some people need to leave. But what makes a Malartu Conversation different is that it is virtual – it happens on the Web. It can go on for days and even months (years?). And there’s a record for others to be able to join and catch up.
In effect, we’re bringing connected learning to ongoing faculty discussions and learning:
Conversations should involve faculty speaking on their own blogs, websites, and domains. Some schools may want to host their own conversations. Malartu is happy to help consult and advise on how to set up and do a conversation, and of course, we’re also available to help faculty and schools connect to a conversation. Malartu is also willing and able to host Conversations and, of course, to host the blogs faculty might need to connect their voices to the conversation. Costs depend on timing and number of participants/blogs needed. Contact us for more information.