This post is one in a series for a MOOC. You can find similar posts searching under the Category MOOC or searching for hashtag #eteacherTOOL for more about this particular MOOC.

MOOC Series #eTeacherTOOLThe Ideal Digital Learning Community quest discusses the concept of an exemplary digital learning community and the general requirements for participating in such an environment.


Characteristics of Successful Digital Learning Communities:

  • Participation seems to be the lynch pin for the success of any digital learning community.  If digital traffic funnels through  a digital location (or associated software/APIs) where the community is located.
  • The higher the participation in the community, the fewer structures in the community may need to be predetermined.  The membership can norm the structures.
  • Participants should opt in to the community.  The content of the community should be so appealing that participants want to be included and not only want to consume, but contribute to the community.  The opt in process needs to be self-initiated, easy, an instantaneous.

If the above ideal characteristics are met, the community will thrive in membership, participation, and production of new content. Often the membership or number of entries is the only measure by which communities are judged.  It is important to be reminded of the underlying factors which produce those numbers.

My Ideal Digital Learning Community:

  •  If Participation is the lynch pin for the success for a digital learning community, then regularly occurring traffic is required.  In a school/district, as a way to sign into a required school/district, I would ask teachers to select either the time of day or where the portal appears as a prerequisite screen.
    Either the teacher could select a time of day (the beginning of planning period, before school, etc.) or the screen where the DLC appears as a pre-requiste (before logging into email, right after submitting attendance, etc.)
  • If this DLC is within a closed community, such a a school or a district, there needs to be a facility by which teachers can opt to connect Twitter/Google+ hashtags/timelines.  Closed communities need a way to offer outside participants access by their DLC offering cloning their Twitter/Google+ accounts – no action on their part, but the existing participant “opts in” the content they are producing through Twitter/Google+.
  • Quality Starter Content needs to be present before the participants show up.  The participants need to be compelled to come to the DLC because the content is so good.  For teachers, Professional Learning opportunities should be available on demand in various formats.  I am thinking: ASCD, PBS Teacherline, PD 360

My Ideal Digital Participants:

  • Opt in for ease of use and useful pre-populated content.
  • Willing/encouraged to contribute professional content.