TRC Online Community Ning: 2

    The TRC Online Community will be using the Ning infrastructure to create an Online Learning Community for  STEM educators in Texas. What is a Ning social network?  A Ning community (they call it a network)  supports large groups of people sharing photos and videos, threaded discussions, personal blogs, calendaring of events, formation of special interest sub groups, group chat, membership search, and access sharing of web resources.   Our education goal is to support the sharing of effective practice, mentoring,  and to leverage our content experts across larger audiences.    Additionally, we will use this system to provide pre and post sharing opportunities that are tied to our TRC face to face professional development programs.  

    How do I participate?
    Participation is by email invitation and any member is empowered to invite his or her educational colleagues. We would request that you limit your invitations to STEM educators or those who support them.  Initially, we will focus on the two states where the 
    TRC funds professional development; Texas and Louisiana.  While this community has been created and will be supported by the Texas Regional Collaboratives it is open to any STEM educator in the areas the TRC serves.  This will make it easy for educators to remain a part of the TRC community even if they are not currently in a funded professional development program at one of our collaboratives.  If you are reading this, you probably have already received an invitation, but if not, send the TRC staff an email and request membership invitation. Specify your location and educational affiliation. Members are encouraged to invite others.

    How to I Learn More about Using the Ning Technology
    For the most part the interface will make it easy for you to navigate to information and to share your thoughts with others. A few tips that will make your participation more fruitful include:

    Use the Nav bar links at the top to explore the many different ways you can communicate with others
    Main  -   Invite  -  My Journal  -  Members - Events - Groups - Journals - Photos - Shared Links - Forum - Chat

    Be sure you fill out the Profile page out complete. It can be found from the Settings link

    Control the amount of email you receive from the Settings link.

    Use the My Journal link to reach your personal journal. This is where you can publish a personal educational journal, sharing with others lessons learned, effective practice, and successes in the classroom.  Your journal post can include photos, web links, and formatted text. Other members can post comments to your post for an interactive publishing experience. If you post a photo album on the photo page, you can embed it in a journal post to share with others.

    If you are not familiar with thread discussions, note that if your post is to further the discussion that another has started, use the Reply link to post, not the New Topic link.  

    Use the Events page to post calendar dates for professional development opportunities.

    Any member can create a special interest group, making it open to any TOLC member or restricting it to "by invitation" only.  Please keep your group open, unless there is a reason to restrict access.  Don't create a new group if one already exist just like it.  Group creators can add others as co-administrators to help moderate the discussion.  

    While each group can have a threaded discussion, the Community Forum is the primary place to begin discussion threads.  Use group page for discussion threads, only if the topic would be of little interest to those outside of your group.  I.e a planning discussion by a committee.