Archive for May, 2012

Getting someone in the hotseat

May 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Chair on FireHotseats where one of the great enagement tools that where introduced into the Communities of  Practice platform.  And they are now starting to make a welcome return in the Knowledge Hub.

I have roped one of my collegues who has facilitated a number of hotseats over the last two months to go in the hotseat next Thursday and share his experience.

I’ll also share the outcomes from the hotseat.

For me it’s always great when you can get a guest in to your group to show everyone what they have been upto rather than me suggesting things they can do.

But if your have never heard of a hotseat before and what to give it a go this is a quick overview of what they are and where I adapted it from.

What are hotseats?

Hotseats are a useful tool that can be used within an online group; it enables participants to ask the person or persons in the hotseat questions, which they can post over a set period of time.

Normally these questions and answer session are hosted within the forum to help capture the responses.

Who goes in the hotseat?

The person(s) in the hotseat range from experts in their field, practitioners wishing to share and practitioners looking for advice. The hotseat can last for as long as is needed but most range from 2 hours to a full day.  This is very much dependent on the depth of the issues and time commitments of the person(s) in the hotseat

Different types of hotseat

They are multiple ways that the Hotseat host(s) can present to the members.  They can be based on a discussions article, presentation, video clip or panel debate.

How is the hotseat supported?

The hotseat host will be supported by the group facilitator who will:

  • Alert the members of the hotseat session in advance, through the events calendar, in the monthly round up or newsletter if appropriate, and by contacting members who would benefit from taking part.
  • Assist the hotseat host to register, set up a profile and sign into the group, if they are not already a member.
  • Advise on how to gain the best response from the topic
  • Provide a contact email address and mobile phone number for technical support
  • Create the hotseat on the arranged date

The host should:

  • Aim to answer questions within the time period of the hotseat. If there is a need to check the facts or seek other information then normally a holding statement is entered to reassure the respondents that they have not been ignored.
  • Acknowledge when a respondent has introduced an idea or information which could influence the thoughts on policy – it is a powerful motivator.
  • Establishing the right tone is essential for success, valuing the participants will build long term goodwill and encourage them to return.
  • As the dialogue builds – check back for any responses to the responses – these may be higher up the page and will be flagged.

As the Hotseat ends

At the end of the hotseat period the facilitator will place a closed notice on the hotseat at the end of the forum and in the title text and ask the host to provide a concluding statement which normally includes a thank you to all the contributors and will reflect on the nature of the dialogue and any insight gained.

Any outstanding replies can be posted or sent directly to the facilitator and these will be sent on to the host.

The facilitator will arrange for a summary to be produced which will show clearly the questions asked and by whom and the responses made by the hotseat host  and send a summary of the dialogue to the hotseat host for approval.  This will then be published to the document library

Adapted from the National School of College Leadership Hotseat Guide


Content curation for your online group using Google alerts, Google reader, Scoop it and Blastacasta

May 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Have you been thinking about content curating for your online group or community?

So why should you currate content?  Well one of the roles that are mentioned in Dion Hinchcliffes jack of all trades is content management.











And content curation fits nicely into this area.

Having the facilitators flagging interesting content to the group is always a good thing, and there are a few simple things that you can use to make it easy for you.

After a while it could just be one or two clicks and a new piece of content could be available in your online group.

I’ll explain how you can do it.

Let’ start with the Google Alerts.  Go to Google Alerts and enter the keywords that are relevant to your group

Everyday you will now receive an email with a summary from across the web on your chosen topic.  You will start to see the same people talking about your subject or specific websites dedicated to the topic.





Next to Google Reader.  If you have started to see the same people and websites appearing in your Google Alerts why not subscribe to their RSS Feed.  Also Google will start to recommend blogs and websites to follow based on your feeds.

Really Google Alerts and Google Reader are the content collection stages.  Now you get onto the content curation.




I have been using a website called ScoopIt. Which is a content curation site which creates an online magazine of content that you believe is interesting.  But allows you to embed it into websites in a similar way as a YouTube video or to create a RSS feed which can be used with other sites to be embedded into a website.

But allows you to embed it into websites in a similar way as a YouTube video

Or to create a RSS feed which can be used with other sites to be embedded into a website.

And this is where Blastacasta comes in

You can add the RSS Feed into Blastacasta

And customise it in Blastacasta before taking the embed code to use in your group.

Please note to use the I frame version of the widget.

This is how it could look in your group

It sounds a lot more complicated to set up than it actually is.

Curating your content.

I also have a widget for Scoopit set up on my web browser toolbar, which is really helpful.  So I can see a piece of interesting content.  And within about 15 secs I can have it on my group.

This is how you I it.

Stage 1 – You find an interesting article, document or blog via Google alerts or Google reader.

Stage 2 – Select the Scoopit widget on your browser.

And this will open


90% of the time the title and content will be automatically filled in.

Stage 3 – Select Publish.

This will now appear in the group where you have added the widget from Scoopit or Blastacasta.

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