Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning
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Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning
Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence involving knowledge creation and flow. Pooled brainpower emerges from the collaboration and learning actions of a community of connected individuals empowered by social media, participatory tools, and mobile platforms.
Curated by Huey O'Brien
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Get Satisfaction helps small businesses engage on social media

Get Satisfaction helps small businesses engage on social media | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

Community platform Get Satisfaction has launched a new service for small businesses that it hopes will enable them to build thriving customer communities. Starting today, for $49 per month, small businesses can receive the same set of core features and one community management seat that's similar to services at the enterprise level.


With Get Satisfaction for Small Businesses, those companies that fit the profile will be able to handle customer experiences through this tool chest, priced specifically for them. Calling 2013 the “year of the community manager”, CEO Wendy Lea, says Get Satisfaction wants to enable any company to understand the impact and potential of this “transformational role”. She adds that “by fostering customer-to-customer interactions, community managers bring tremendous business value to multiple departments across their company — lowering support costs, bringing better products to market, and acquiring new customers.”


Last November, the company revived its free product and added new features to make it appealing to small businesses. There are over 67,000 communities on the Get Satisfaction network that are free, not all of which are active. Each business receives one seat to utilize moderator tools, the service’s Engage Widgets, and partake in its Hootsuite integration. Get Satisfaction’s launch of its small business plan is surely an attempt to try and separate itself from its industry competitors, including UserVoice, Zendesk, SuggestionBox,, and others — many that have free plans as well

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Evernote Business Released as a Collaboration & Communication Tool

Evernote Business Released as a Collaboration & Communication Tool | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

A Fully Collaborative Tool


The company whose collection of products aim to "help the world remember everything" — otherwise known as Evernote — has announced the launch of Evernote Business, a collaboration and communication tool for small and medium sized businesses.  With the full version of Evernote Business, users sync and view work documents through a variety of platforms, such as Mac, iPhone and iPads, Web, Windows and Android Devices. Files that can be uploaded include spreadsheets, presentations, notes and design mock ups. In addition, administrators can monitor company progress and individual employees through the admin console.


The Features of Evernote Business


There are three key features of the Evernote Business product.


> Business Notebooks: A business notebook is a collection of documents or information that the entire company can see. They can be shared individually or published on the company’s Business Library.


> Personal Notebooks: As their title suggests, Personal Notebooks is a private version of the Business Notebooks. If a user has a pre-existing Evernote account or creates one, then they can use this feature.


> Business Library: This is where information is transported from the Business Notebooks feature. While all current employees have access to this feature and can publish information from their Business Notebook, Administrators manage the library's content.


It's About What You Know


With this in mind, there are two components that Evernote uses to improve collaboration and communication and make this product useful to small and medium sized business — Knowledge Collection and Knowledge Discovery. With Knowledge Discovery, Evernote wants to make sure that their customers have enough space to store files.


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Udemy Unveils A Teacher-Focused Redesign

Udemy Unveils A Teacher-Focused Redesign | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

One of the big names in online learning has just unveiled some new tools that teachers of all kinds should try out. Earlier today, Udemy introduced a new version of its platform that’s specifically tailored to teachers. It’s main goal is to empower teachers of all abilities to share their knowledge and expertise with the world.


Udemy has refocused on creating a more robust curriculum and toolset in order to start driving the best educators to their site and therefore a larger audience. The new curriculum editor on Udemy places less emphasis on starting a class and more instead on actually creating an outline for your course.


In other words, they don’t want to throw you in the deep end of a Massive Open Online Course and watch you drown. Thanks to a better curriculum and preparation, it’s easier for teachers to adapt their teaching style and lesson plans into an online format.


There are also improved support forums on Udemy’s new redesign. The ‘Udemy Faculty Lounge’ lets all instructors virtually congregate and share best practices, content, tools, and more.


Udemy has been growing quite steadily over the past 9 months. Bali says they’re seeing a steady 20% growth month-over-month and that instructors have published more than 5,000 courses on Udemy. 1,500 of those courses were paid courses. That’s about 7 times the number of paid courses from 2011.

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LinkedIn Allows You To Follow Key Influencers On The Network; Will Eventually Make Feature Universal

LinkedIn Allows You To Follow Key Influencers On The Network; Will Eventually Make Feature Universal | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |
Professional social network LinkedIn begun allowing its members to follow companies over two years ago, giving professionals a way to easily access company updates, such as job openings, new developments and more.


Professional social network LinkedIn begun allowing its members to follow companies over two years ago, giving professionals a way to easily access company updates, such as job openings, new developments and more. But the network has not allowed users to follow individuals. Today, that’s changing. LinkedIn is allowing you to follow certain key influencers from a variety of sectors, who can broadcast their news, blog posts and more across the network.


Now you can pick who you want to follow from 150 of what LinkedIn calls “the most influential thought leaders.” These include Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, Sallie Krawcheck, Craig Newmark, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and more. You can read what they are saying, like and comment directly on their posts, and share with your network. Posts from influencers will also include videos, photos, and slideshare presentations. On the backend, influencers can see which content is trending, where followers are based and more metrics.  Over the next few months, LinkedIn says it will be expanding the list of influencers you can follow. Members who are interested in becoming an influencer on LinkedIn can submit their request to the company as well. 


Recommendations are also part of the new product—LinkedIn is going to recommend similar people to follow based on who you follow and the content you are reading but will eventually do more as LinkedIn gathers more data on user behavior.



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GitHub finally raises funding: $100M from Andreessen Horowitz

GitHub finally raises funding: $100M from Andreessen Horowitz | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

Github, the successfully bootstrapped open source code repository, announced Monday that it has raised $100 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, marking a huge step forward for the popular platform that has become the industry standard for for managing and finding code on the web....


GitHub’s site holds more than 3 million software repositories (co-founder and former CEO Chris Wanstrath once described it as “the Wikipedia for programmers”) and counts more than 1.7 million developers as users. On an average day, 80,000 repositories are updated and 7,000 individuals push their first repository to GitHub’s site, according to the company. Its open-source platform allows developers to work collaboratively on projects without losing any overlapping work, and look at code others are writing that has been posted to the site.

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Online Optimism » American Scientist

Online Optimism » American Scientist | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |
Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman have written an excellent new book on the effect of the ubiquitous Internet on society, using information on the latest Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. In Networked: The New Social Operating System, the authors describe a “triple revolution” brought on by ICTs (information and communication technologies) and comprising social networking, the Internet and mobile information technology.

The technologies of the triple revolution, the authors write, allow us to connect with a larger, more diverse network, including close and distant friends and acquaintances. They make it possible to gather new and useful information in quantities and at speeds heretofore not experienced by humans. And they let people connect with others while on the go, meaning we are accessible in a way that only emergency personnel doing shift work used to be. The result of these frequently discussed changes, according to Rainie and Wellman, is a new framework—or “social operating system,” as they put it—which they call “networked individualism.” The new system has four central traits:

The social network operating system is "Personal"—the individual is at the autonomous center just as she is reaching out from her computer; "Multiuser"—people are interacting with numerous diverse others; "Multitasking"—people are doing several things; and "Multithreaded"—they are doing them more or less simultaneously. This system, they write, is encouraging the formation of new kinds of community that serve people well.

The conclusions the authors draw run counter to the pessimistic ruminations of much of the older intellectual world, who see people drawing apart from one another while glued to their computers and mobile phones. In contrast, Networked is dedicated to the proposition that the new social operating system empowers individuals by allowing them to reach out to close and distant friends, even strangers, in a way that small-group–oriented communities never allowed.
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Why Community Matters

Why Community Matters | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |
What makes enterprise social networks and communities relevant and valued today? It’s useful to look back slightly on a significant market dynamic that occurred in the last two decades of the 20th century.




At the start the 21st century the economy shifted towards a service-oriented and knowledge-based economy which predominantly rests with added value: returns beyond the costs of capital, through innovative work in strategic management, product and market development and by creating deeper and expanded relationships with customers, business partners, employees or ecosystems of contingent workers.


In this kind of economy, it’s the talent and knowledge of people, and the results of their productive interactions that create value - the ability to solve complex problems or invent new solutions, and engage with customers in more authentic and compelling ways.


In the ensuing first decade of the 21st century the proliferation of Web 2.0 technologies has fostered the emergence of a category of company that McKinsey called ‘the networked enterprise' reflecting the connectedness externally with customers as well as internally with employees.


A 2010 McKinsey report, The Rise of the Networked Enterprise: Web 2.0 Finds Its Payday, showed quantitatively that networked companies showed significant margin share gains, higher operating margins and advanced their market leadership position.The companies that are fully networked, on the inside and the outside are the real winners.




Communties possess a unique set of dynamics that in turn yield value. The quality of participation is catalyzed by a clear sense of purpose for the community, with the dynamics of transparency, persistence, the sense of both independence of contribution as well as collective engagement all reinforcing a positive flow of participation.


In this era of networked engagement, there are emerging models to assess and understand how value is achieved through community dynamics and participation mobilized to a purpose.


Depending on the nature of a community the value can be various forms such as the immediate value from the interactions and activities or the potential value of various forms of knowledge capital (i.e., sharing personal assets [human capital], developing relationships [social capital, gaining access to resources [tangible capital], collective intangible assets i.e., the prestige of the community or profession [reputational capital] or the transformed ability to learn [learning capital])


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New iPad App May Be The Future Of Collaborative Online Learning

New iPad App May Be The Future Of Collaborative Online Learning | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |
A startup wants to turn video lessons into something more interactive and immersive. It's like a Skype chat on steroids. Harvard Professor Michael Sandel is on board and his popular video lectures are now in a must-see iPad app.


One of the biggest problems many people have with Khan Academy and YouTube Edu is simply the format. It’s not the fault of Khan or YouTube … it’s just that the passive video format is just that. It’s passive. Khan and others are introducing more interactive technology that acts as an added level of learning to the lessons but no one has nailed it quite yet.


A San Francisco-based startup called Net Power & Light Inc. wants to change that. And they’re working with one of the most popular (in terms of YouTube views at least) Harvard professors to show off what they can do. Net and Professor Michael Sandel have partnered to offer a more interactive way to learn using the Apple iPad.


Net’s software is called ‘Spin‘ which essentially turns passive video watching into interactive group learning. It’s like project-based learning but with the entire planet instead of just your classroom. Right now, Spin lets you remix and interact with content from Harvard, Stanford, TED, and the National Geographic Channel. “Teachers felt web-based learning wasn’t giving them the full experience,” Tara Lemmey, Net Power & Light’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said in an interview. “Education shouldn’t live by itself. It’s a world of together.”


So How’s It Work?


The Spin software lets you, like any video player, fast-forward, rewind, skip chapters, and pause videos. But it’s more than that. The software overlays video conferences you’re having simultaneously with other people in your group. You can pause the video and discuss it. It’s like a collaborative Skype session with the background being an informative multimedia presentation.  Start the video, get your group to join in, watch a bit, then discuss. This could be a great tool for any distance learners or students doing PBL remotely.


The software also features a shared chalkboard so all the members of your group can draw right on the screen. It also lets you have individual audio controls since there will likely be more than one conversation happening simultaneously. In a fun twist, you can actually shrink or enlarge a person’s picture on the iPad screen to lower or raise their respective volume.


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The 2 Hottest Educational Social Networks You’re Not Yet Using

The 2 Hottest Educational Social Networks You’re Not Yet Using | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

Companies and startups alike are jumping feet-first into the edtech world, hoping to connect educators like never before. They’re doing this by creating their very own social networks with functionality that rivals Facebook and Twitter. But it all has an educational twist, making it clear that we’re going to keep seeing more and more organizations vying for the valuable attention of teachers, administrators, and students.



The Pinterest For Education: LEARNIST


Learnist facilitates sharing, tagging, liking, and learning by creating Learning Boards. Learnist is designed to be an educational social network that supports knowledge creation and sharing. They've also built a collection of learning curation apps to facilitate participation in the learning and knowledge creation process.


The Facebook For Education: LORE

Taking a page from the early stages of Facebook, Lore (formerly CourseKit) is looking to change how teachers and students communicate. Lore wants to be a mixture of Edmodo, Blackboard, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. The site was totally redesigned in July and has a new look and feel. Students can now freely sign up and start establishing their Lore profiles in order to connect outside the virtual classroom. It’s called ‘Lore For Students’ and is currently used at more than 600 different schools. There’s course management tools, social network tools, and a lot more coming soon.  Not bad for the price of free.


What It All Means To You

The overarching theme now of Learnist and Lore (aside from the first letter of the names) is that these sites are designed to function just like the most popular social networks in the world … except they were built specifically for teachers and students. 


No longer will teachers, students, and administrators hope to fit their square peg (education needs) into a round hole (whatever Facebook offers). We can all now look forward to more and more dedicated tools that are robust enough to perhaps completely replace Facebook or other major social networks.



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The role of the Enterprise Learning Community Manager

The role of the Enterprise Learning Community Manager | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

In my recent webinar presentation for the LSG online conference, Using a collaboration platform for brilliant learning, rather than giving a PowerPoint presentation, I took the participants on a web tour of the Social Learning Centre.  And, in doing so, I demonstrated how:


> Workplace learning is not  just about training – but about supporting learning across the Social Workplace Learning Continuum –  and involves both organising structured learning experiences as well as supporting informal learning.


>Workplace learning is not (just) about creating content (aka courses), dumping them into a LMS and then just monitoring usage – but is also about helping people to make the most of how they learn naturally and continuously as they do their jobs – in the flow of work – in  project or work teams.


> Workplace learning is not just about internal experts telling people what they should know or do – but is also about peers sharing their thoughts and experiences (and in doing so learning just as much from one another). And that even where more formal, structured approaches are desired, social (learning) experiences need to be designed that are lite on content and rich in interaction.


> Workplace learning in the truest, fullest sense is not something that can be managed, technologically, in a LMS or “learning platform” (even if it does include social features)  - but is something that needs to be underpinned, technologically, using the VERY SAME social collaboration platform that powers the work – as well as encouraged in external personal and professional (learning) networks. “Learning” is at the very heart of everything that happens in an organisation – not separate from it.


> The role of the workplace learning professional is therefore no longer about being a TRAINING Manager but being a LEARNING COMMUNITY Manager* – who encourages social connections and fosters a sense of belonging to an enterprise community of learners – for the purpose of supporting and improving performance in the workplace.

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