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!