I set up a Google group (as everyone here is doubtless aware- I’m totally into Google and its many uses) in an attempt to improve informal communication between faculty that I know, dispersed between different sites but belonging essentially to the same core group. I just hate finding out two months later, and from my neighbor, when we meet by chance dropping off our kids at school simultaneously- that there is some essential and cool new piece of equipment on a distant corner of campus. Only to find out that my colleague in the neighboring office knew about this before the thing was purchased. I’m totally making this up as a hypothetical example- but you see what I’m getting at. We have conversations in silos all the time- and the information rarely gets disseminated to a wider group. … and we have trouble doing this from one office to the next… never mind if you have multiple campuses to contend with! Email is great for what it is- but an online message board it is not. I’m wondering how many other faculty groups (Departments, colleges etc)- are working with these kinds of things, have they hit the mainstream elsewhere?.
Anyway- I’ve only been experimenting with this for a couple of days now- and I kinda sorta thought that if I built it…. they would come. I’ve got some joiners… which is great… but when I look at the list on the discussion board … I’m doing 95% of the posting. They are not keeping up with me yet…. now I know what Bora must feel like…
I have faith that this will pick up speed sometime soon, and then we’ll move on to other new technology… ….. gasp… Twitter… Facebook…. Friendfeed… (it is a joke people)!!
For one of my physics classes the professor set up a similar kind of thing- he set up a wiki for homeworks/practice exams so students could post questions and other students could answer etc. It was helpful for those students who didn’t know anyone in the class and/or too shy to go and shake out a study group
Eugenie- That’s a great idea, I hadn’t thought of all the potential applications-that’s a really good one!
We use an internal wiki for my lab. My university runs an internally-secured wiki for which we can control access. I’ve looked into a groups including something like a blog (where anyone in the group can post an idea and people can comment on it) and centralized file severs but haven’t settled on something like that yet. The problem is that my colleagues insist (probably correctly) that it be truly private and secure so that no one can read it. I haven’t looked at google groups yet, but that might work.