Boundless Collaboration: Breaking the Barriers of Communication Within Personal Learning Networks

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

It is difficult to innovate in a vacuum. Come discover the power of personal learning networks, how they work, and what they can do for you.

Archivist Notes

Extended Abstract

The objective of this panel presentation is to share the approaches, collaborative model structure, and digital tools of a long-term, highly successful personal learning network within higher education in general and within MERLOT, specifically. The MERLOT Teacher Education Editorial Board will weave together four current issues occurring on university campusesófaculty collaboration across institutions and disciplines, budget woes affecting faculty's abilities to connect and create, tools for connecting that work in multiple locations and time zones, and what makes collaboration work.

The MERLOT Teacher Education Editorial Board has been working through these issues the last 15 years and has remained a strong, steady, and consistent player in the workings of MERLOT. Beyond that, this editorial board has grown into a professional learning network (PLN) for its members. They have learned that "community building must always respond to the current concerns and issues of community members" (Buckley, p. 62). Therefore, they will speak to the distance between them, the timely professional development they receive from one another in meeting the ever-changing needs of their students, and the how this collaboration model could work for you and your PLN.

They will address the following questions:

How to we get faculty to collaborate across institutions and disciplines?
What happens when budgets get slashed? How do faculty members connect and build things together?
What are the best tools for working with multiple locations and time zones?
What makes collaboration work?

In 2010 Nielsen noted, "the natural progression of PLNs where people move from consumption to creation seems to be moving to the next level: Collaborative Creation (para. p.4). This proposal has been a collaborative creation through the MERLOT Teacher Editorial Board PLN and the thoughtful consideration for making the session both engaging and enlightening for participants is the direct result of many dedicated minds.

This is a panel presentation, 45 minutes in length. There will be a designated facilitator to moderate the comments, engage the attendees in a give-and-take discussion with the panel, and serve as timekeeper. Panel members will be mindful in posing questions and specific key points for the attendees to consider.

Buckley, P. (2010). Creating change and continuity in your learning community. In T. Peckskamp and C. McLaughlin (Eds.), Building community: stories and strategies for future learning community faculty and professionals. Retrieved from

Nielsen, L. (2010). The PLN matures. The progression of the 21st century personal learning network. Retrieved from