Thursday, December 15, 2005

LearningTimes - online community of education and training professionals

(my personal profile shown above) is just one of over 75 online community sites that make up The LearningTimes Network. The LearningTimes Network has about 130,000 active members.

Summary: Overall – not the personalized approach that leaves me with a feeling of having a "presence". Why not a greeter to welcome me into the community? And how do I set up my community and personalize it? How do I know where the like minded interested members are? Beyond the forums and seminars (Elluminate sessions) there isn’t much here that is for free, nor much that makes it an “open community”..

  • Members have free? access to a wide range of opportunities to interact and network with peers from across the globe. Member activities include live webcasts and interviews with industry leaders, online debates and discussions, live coverage of industry conferences, and international working groups. Also features free group collaboration tools, such as virtual meeting rooms, a site-wide instant messenger, and virtual office suites. ( they say free, but I think there are some restrictions)

    The LearningTimes Meeting Room is a virtual place to meet online with colleagues – using Elluminate - live two-way audio, text chat, and a whiteboard on which you can draw, show images and snapshots of your own computer screen. Open 24 hours. (fees apply)
    Web moderator has skype – why not the members?
    Push technology - Activity updates sent to email
    Can create your own community and conduct own conference (but can’t set it up yourself)
    Member Office Suite. personal spaces for individual members to use at their discretion for meeting and collaborating with colleagues. (fees apply)
    The LOLA Awards (Live on line awards) recognize outstanding achievement in the design, delivery and production of live online learning events from across the globe. (this is nice)

    Commercial service:
    designs and produces online conferences and events
    provides the platforms, applications and promotional expertise
    Advertises featured communities (sister sites)
    producer of online educational conferences.
    Offers education courses –Certification program - $80 per hr avge 6 hrs length – ed provider is one private vendor (featured partner)
    audio blogs
    voice-based "Online Gallery Talks" (audio slide shows)
    phone-to-web audio messages and greetings
    voice email
    whiteboards, and image import tools.

    The LT Feed Room contains the most recent entries from a variety of web logs ( only 4 that I saw); what criteria for them to be there?
    advisory board and editorial Board all US – mix industry/academic/educational services
    members don’t seem to want to make their identity known - anonymous faked user names
    sampling of 500 names indicate last visit was 200 days ago
    Only 27 files for sharing
    Image gallery –nice touch but impersonal
    No active polls
    5 active list serves with avge 80 messgaes
    Discussion forum - only 300 participants in 20 topical threads
    No blogs!
    Too centralized; not localized or personalized – prefer the personal linkages member profile is very limited
    Groups to join are preset (see member profile screenshot)
    Supposed to have Instant Messenger within the community to see other members online and initiate conversations with colleagues. Where?
    No open source toolsets – all are fee based and commercial offerings

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