May 14, 2008

Living collaboration

I have just had an unexpected and inspiring experience in the online world regarding collaboration.

Together with my colleagues Carla Arena and Erika Cruvinel, I'm involved in the piloting of online courses for Casa Thomas Jefferson, the English Institute I work for in Brasília, Brazil. In a couple of weeks I will begin piloting our brand new online course, Practical Writing; thus, after designing the course and thinking about the tools to be used, I decided to have, among others, a class blog and a class wiki.

I could easily create my practicalwriting blog at blogger, but when I was going to create my practicalwriting wiki at pbwiki, I discovered someone had already created one. I visited the wiki and saw that there was very little content added and that the last changes had been made 3 moths ago. So I contacted the owner of the wiki, hopelessly asking her if she could delete that wiki for me to use the domain.

I know I could use other wiki hosts, like wikispaces or wepaint, but I really like pbwiki and feel comfortable with it, and, for my surprise, the next day I received a message from this American teacher living in Korea, Alissa Hartig, saying that she tried deleting the wiki but that pbwiki informed her that, if she deleted it, no one else would be able to ever use that domain again.

I obviously thanked her a lot and told her I would use another host, then, on the same day, she sent me an email thread she had with pbwiki support - through Rachel Penning, who was so helpful - asking them to transfer the ownership of that wiki to my pbwiki account, and they did it!

So now I have my practicalwriting wiki at pbwiki and, after exchanging some messages with Alissa, she (and her Korean students) will be special guests in the Practical Writing course, interacting with my students through the blog, wiki and, who knows, maybe some lifelong communities. I'm sure my Brazilian students will be eager to learn more about Korean culture.

I wrote this post to register this amazing collaborative Korea-Brazil experience, to thank Alissa Hartig once again, and to encourage everyone to believe that there are good-spirited, noble people willing to help us out there.

Let Alissa be an example of educator to us all!


Carla Arena said...

Dear Ronaldo,

I guess that it's proven in our interactions with the Webheads and even with what we'd call "total strangers" that good-willed, generous people are all around! Your story is really a nice one and it proves that we should email people, connect, ask. There are special souls out there to give us a hand.

By the way, just today I was struggling with adding a playlist to our Brazilian Music collaboration. I sent a query in the support area of Pbwiki and Rachel Penning was the one who immediately replied to me!

We shouldn't be shy. There's always a way out. It's just a matter of asking.

Ronaldo Lima, Jr. said...

Always good to have you visit my blog, Carla. And Rachel Penning showing hardwork once again - in less than 12 hours problem solved and playlist added and advertised.

Carla Arena said...

I'm around, Ronaldo! And I love to read your posts. This one was simply great and I'm eager to see how the interaction goes!

Ronaldo Lima, Jr. said...

That's great!
Alissa has just asked me if she could invite other educators and students in Korea to interact and, as you can imagine, I said a big YES. So we might have something interesting cooking here...

nagora said...

Dear Ronaldo,

One more face in your comments thread. ;-)

I am really impressed with your blog and postings. So much done and shared.
Thank you very much. You are the one I have to learn a lot from.
Carla, you are always around and very much helpful like the ones who manage wikis and other platforms.
We have to feel free to ask any questions about doubts and problems while exploring new web tools and whatever.

I will come back to your blog again soon. I am feeling really busy now with the end of the academic year.

The best,

Berta said...

Wonderful story, Ronaldo. What a great example.

I think I told you I visited the "Practical writing" site and looks very promising.

On a completely different topic, I was tagged my Mary Hillis and now I am turning the ball to 6 other people, and you are one of them.
See what I had to say here:

All the best, cariños,