Moodle Community hubs – what, how, why

Very early this morning (3am! :-O) I had the pleasure of co-presenting a session at the Global Education Conference (wonderful event, more Moodle sessions there too!) with Tabitha and John Roder, talking about Moodle community and ways in which Community hubs, new feature in Moodle 2.0, will support and encourage Communities of Practice across the moodling world and beyond.

I thought I’d share a part of the session along with a few insights.

What are Community hubs?

Community hubs are a brand new feature in Moodle 2.0 and one of the most important ones (at least to me!). My good friend and colleague Jerome Mouneyrac has worked on them for a long time and we can now enjoy the fruits of his excellent work. Here is a quick overview:

How do Community hubs work?

Why explain it with a precise technical diagram if you can tell a story (for a precise technical diagram and specs click here)

Why have Community hubs?

The most important question. Look at this picture:

Samba leader

John Roder used this image during his part of the presentation on communities of practice. The samba drum leader is there to initially give the basic rhythm, demonstrate the basic skill then supports the community of drummers (some experienced, some newbies, some frightened, some confident …) to create, nurture and carry  the rhythm. He starts as (excuse the truistic edu-slogans…) a ‘sage on the stage’, gradually becomes a ‘guide on the side’, but surely enjoys himself (together with others) the most when he becomes the ‘meddler in the middle’ (I borrow the term from an excellent paper by Erica McWilliamhighly recommended read!), playing, creating, while leading and being led by the group’s ebbs and flows.

Outwardly, Community hubs  in Moodle are aggregators of content (courses to enrol in and download) and one could easily stop seeing beyond that. But they are the room in the picture, with drums as courses.  You can bring your drum (publish), join the group in playing a rhythm (enrol in course) or take a drum with you to your own room (download) and play it with your own group of people. But it’s the people that make it go!

And that is what we are hoping Community hubs will blossom to – people connecting around a similar rhythm, interest, field of study through either MOOCH or the hubs they set up and look after. Content and courses in hubs will be a mere starting point in the process, not the end. Because whatever the course your download or enrol in, chances are you will understand it and change it to your own context, your own people, your own samba group.

After all, that is how Moodle itself has been built and used by millions all these years. And to me, THAT is the beauty of it.

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