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Cloudworks

Grainne Conole from the Open University visited Exeter last week to give the OER team members an introduction to the new Cloudworks website which we are thinking of using as a ‘pedagogical wrapper’ (credit to Tom Browne for this description!). Here’s the presentation:

http://www.slideshare.net/grainne/conole-exeter-cloudworks

Developed by the Open University, Cloudworks (http://cloudworks.open.ac.uk/) describes itself as ‘a place to share, find and discuss learning and teaching ideas and experiences.’ Essentially, Cloudworks is a bit like a online discussion forum. It allows users to create ‘clouds’ which are essentially discussion posts that other users can reply to. Different ‘Clouds’ are grouped into ‘Cloudscapes’ to keep similar discussions together.

The really clever part form my point of view is the integration with twitter (http://twitter.com/), the online ‘tell the world what you are up to’ tool. On Cloudworks, a user starting a cloud can tag it with a keyword that, if entered into a post on twitter (a ‘tweet’), will show up on the Cloudworks site under the relevant cloud. It’s a bit difficult to explain but allows other users to comment on a cloud via Twitter. Clever stuff!

So, that’s enough about what Cloudworks is, the big question is how might we use it. I mentioned ‘pedagogical wrapper’ earlier. This bascially means that when we release our material to the world we’d like someway of gaining feedback from users who download it. This is where Cloudworks could come in. It would provide an environment for users to comment.

It’s early days yet but we were very impressed with Cloudworks.

Ian Wellaway

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