One of the features that we are trying to create in our school’s LMS site is that of a true Commons area. A place where students can “hang out” and either work, play, chill, or socialize. A safe place where they can interact freely and talk about who’s dating whom. A place where a couple of them can take a quick jaunt over to a gaming area. A place to pull three or four together who are taking the same class to do an impromptu or pre-arranged study group, complete with Google+ conferencing.
It is no wonder that my ears perked up at Brian Croxall’s (2012) article on “Build Your Own Academic Community with Commons in a Box (http://commonsinabox.org/).” With the exception of teleconferencing, most of the other items were there… students could conduct a joint project using wiki, they could present ideas on blogs and comment back and forth about them, file sharing capability, and responsive emails.
After many attempts to create communities online, however, with Ning, Classroom 2.0, and Google+, the old adage, “if you build it they will come” is not necessarily true on the Internet. At the same time, I attempted to create these to adults and around common interests/profession (i.e., education). This would be designed for high school students, who are social animals already.
Another concern with this direction is that the Commons in a Box is still being beta tested. The only thing worse than not having the right tools to make the learning environment enjoyable is rolling something out that is riddled with bugs.
If this one doesn’t work, does anyone have ideas about another social-community designed plugin that perhaps could work in relation to Moodle?
Croxall, B. (Dec. 4, 2012). Build your own academic community with commons in a box. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved on 1/19/2015 from http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/build-your-own-academic-community-with-commons-in-a-bo/44749.