Today I could not get into my own blog :( and I really wanted to get my experiences out so I felt frustrated. Already addicted?
Yesterday we had a full day on e-collaboration for Dutch development organisations (organised by PSO/ICCO/IICD). In my 'round' we used an idea that I picked from my recent workshop facilitating online interaction http://www.fullcirc.com/ : to use post-its for simulating the experience of asynchronous online communication in a face-to-face group. It really worked well!! When the 'facilitator' started to ask questions, they also started to ask each other questions. Amazing how a really short experience can draw out so many of the aspects of online communication (eg. the speed of communication, importance of clarity, no interruptions in your communication, the excitement when you post leads to a thread (or the reverse), the insecurity when you don't get response, etiquette, role of moderator in asking good questions and modeling behaviour, difference in defining and monitoring participation, etc.). We used it as an introductory exercise, but if you make it longer, you could probably use it to go much deeper into some of the aspects of asynchronous communication. I can think of using it with different groups in the south to get people to talk about how it feels for discuss online (for instance this group did not mention the fact that it is difficult to express your thoughts in writing as they may be used to doing so).