Navigation in the long, ramified discussion threads is a big challenge. Traditional web pages usually offer a left navigation pane for this task where it is hardly possible to visualize the hierarchically nested connections, let alone the more sophistcated cross links that are typical for connectivist activities. In short, they are nodes-oriented rather than connection-oriented.
(Image credit for left pane: Stian Håklev)
Here, the connections have more room than the single node (or in graph theory terms: the edges are more prominent than the vertices). This should fit better for connectivism, which emphasises connections over nodes and reminds us that traversing the links helps with learning, right?
I have previously complained about the nightmare of moodle forum nested threads. Also I had the opportunity to play with a tool that offered the wide left navigation pane: the previous version of an open source project mentioned here which also served as an illustration for experiments with a visual file explorer window (Folder Canvas). Probably such spatial visualization is not important for everyone’s taste. But I think it could be a consequent, radical turn to connections’ emphasis.
OK, this may be a future dream. A more modest wish for gRSShopper is here: Whereas I hated the switching between Moodle’s nested, flat, and threaded views, I missed one of its features: The thread list, indicating the number of replies, and sorting by last post date.
Update: Stian wrote a post about his presentation.
Update: gRSShopper has now a Graph API. Thank you, Stephen!