We have been making substantial changes to Cloudworks recently and there is more to come! Juliette Culver is on a roll! We have just commissioned a graphics designer so the site is to get a totally new look and feel very soon! Below are some draft guidelines on the site and tips and hints on using it. Would welcome comments.
An introduction to Cloudworks
· What is it? Cloudworks is a social networking site for finding, sharing and discussing learning and teaching ideas and designs.
· Core concepts. There are two key concepts associated with Cloudworks - the notion of ‘Clouds’ and ‘Cloudscapes’.
· Clouds. A Cloud can be anything to do with learning and teaching. Each Cloud is ‘social’ in that it is possible to have a conversation around the Cloud. A Cloud could be: a short description of a learning and teaching idea, information about resources or tools for learning and teaching, detailed learning designs or case studies of practice or a question as a starting point for a discussion.
· Cloudscapes. Clouds can be aggregated into ‘Cloudscapes’ associated with a particular event, purpose or interest. For example you can have Cloudscapes associated with a conference aggregating Clouds about conference presentations or tools and resources referenced. A Cloudscape can be set up for a workshop where Clouds might include workshop resources, tools or activities. Cloudscapes can also be more general for example to stimulate debate about a particular teaching approach. Clouds can be associated with more than one Cloudscape.
· Creating a user account. You can view everything available on the site, but if you want to create Clouds or Cloudscapes or if you want to add comments, then you need to create an account.
· Navigating the site. The front page shows a rolling list of new Clouds added to the site on the right hand side, features Cloudscapes are presented in the middle panel and a list of Clouds that have recently had comments added to them appear on the left hand side. You can get a list of all the Clouds in the site by clicking on ‘All Clouds’. A title and brief summary for each Cloud is provided. Click on the link to get further details. Clicking on the ‘All Cloudscapes’ link lists all the Cloudscapes in the site, as with individual Clouds a brief description of each Cloudscape is provided. Clicking on a particular Cloudscape will take you into it and will show all the Clouds associated with that Cloudscape.
· Setting up a profile. You can set up a profile and include some information about yourself. Your profile page automatically lists any Clouds you have created. You can follow both people and Cloudscapes. Your profile page indicates the Cloudscapes you are following, who you are following and who is following you.
· Creating a Cloud. To create a Cloud clicks on the ‘create a Cloud’ link. Enter a short title and a summary - these will appear on the ‘All Clouds’ page and give an indication of what your Cloud is about. Then enter a description - you can include url links, images, etc. You can also provide a URL for more information. You can tag the Cloud in terms of ‘tool’, ‘pedagogy’, ‘discipline’ and ‘other’. Clicking on the tag list at the top will list Clouds according to how they have been tagged using these categories. You can preview to see what your Cloud will look like and then submit. A Cloudscape is produced in much the same way. Once your Cloud has been created you can add it to one or more Cloudscapes. You can also go back and edit the Cloud or delete it. Other people registered on Cloudworks are able to add comments to any Clouds or Cloudscapes you produce.
· Finding content. Clouds and Cloudscapes can be tagged by pedagogy, discipline, tool and other and can be searched using these tags or via a search facility. You can also find relevant content by browsing All Clouds, All Cloudscapes or looking at the Clouds associated with individuals under their profile.
· Your Cloudstream. All the Clouds created by the people and Cloudscapes you are following are aggregated under your ‘My Cloudstream’.
Tips and hints for effective use of Cloudworks
1. Supporting conferences
· Set up a Cloudscape for a conference.
· Include a short clear description of the conference in the Cloudscape with a link to the conference website.
· Agree and promote a hash (#) tag to be used for the conference, which can be used for Twitter, Blogs, Flckr etc.
· Incorporate a dynamic twitter stream, blog aggregator, flckr stream using the agreed conference tag.
· Promote the conference Cloudscape to delegates, via Twitter etc and invite them to follow the Cloudscape.
· Live blog sessions and include as Clouds in the conference Cloudscape, keep entries short with succinct summarising, provide links to further information
· Comment on relate Clouds in the Cloudscape that others have created.
2. Supporting workshops
· Cloudscapes can also be used to support workshops and all the tips and hints suggested for supporting conferences are also valid for supporting workshops.
· Set up discussion Clouds that can be used as a basis for group activities during the workshop. Include a brief outline of the activity you want delegates to take part in and any associated questions you want them to address. Get them working in groups and entering their discussions as comments on the discussion Cloud. Encourage them to scan what other groups are entering.
· Live blog workshop sessions such as plenary discussions and feedback sessions.
3. Aggregating resources
· Set up a Cloudscape to support a special interest group and input Clouds of relevant resources. For example Cloudscapes can be set up for particular cohorts of students, enabling them to share good learning resources, and discuss learning strategies.
4. Sharing innovative learning and teaching ideas
· Create Clouds on good learning and teaching ideas you have created or that you have seen or experienced. Keep your Clouds short and succinct; include relevant links to further information. Consider depositing further information in an Open Educational Resource repository such as Connections. Tag appropriately in terms of subject, pedagogy and tools.
· Set up a Cloudscape to aggregate related innovative Clouds – for example those relating to mobile learning, problem-based learning, learning a language.
· Enrich Clouds using the html functionality available in the editor. Hyperlink to relevant information. Include illustrative images. Embed slideshare presentations, YouTube videos or Flckr images. Aggregate related tweets or blogs.
· Search the site by browsing the tag Cloud, ‘All Clouds’ list, ‘All Cloudscapes’ list or via individual profiles or search using key words.
5. Connect with others
· Complete your profile details – include a summary of your interests and link to relevant websites. Provide details of your twitter name will enable any tweets with your twitter name on to be aggregated under your profile and will provide a means for other users of Cloudworks to contact you via twitter.
· Follow Cloudscapes and people you are interested in, these will be listed on your profile and give others an idea of your interests.
· Get creating Clouds! These will also be listed on your profile.
· Engage in a conversation, comment on other people’s entries and Clouds.
· Find others by name or institution.
6. Keep abreast of new developments
· Set up RSS feeds for Cloudscapes or people you are interested in keeping up to date with.
· Browse the front page to get an idea of new Clouds and any new discussions around Clouds.