Al Filreis has asked people in ModPo to post comments about why and how it works to create and enable a community in a massive learning space. See here (joining is free). There's a wealth of comments and ideas to look through.

This is my current view of the matter ...

  • Close readings, and close talking. That's what does it for me. As an old fashioned semiotician, I just love the richness of conversation - live, audio, with if's and but's. And with the written texts, like this one, only as add-ons - supplements to to the core, which is live conversation. And even the poems, although they are accessible, are not 'in your face' - no power points, no texts on screen - in the material room or in the virtual room of the weekly sessions.

  • ModPo is - and is not - about the texts of the poems. It is, because that's (one of) the (textual) subjects we talk about. It's not, because there's another whole world of 'subjects' of the conversations, i.e. the (human) subjects (us, participants), and the way we are exploring, trying to make sense of the poems. And there is a third set of 'subjects', i.e. the subjects (people) we are, and are becoming, as we interact with the way the poets - and all of us on the course - try to make sense of how and who we 'are' in the world - in general, as well as 'in' the conversational world that that poets and you / ModPO open up for us.

  • In technical terms, it's the richness of 'parole' - live, slippery, funny, inexact speech - as opposed to the fixed cut-outs of the written text (like this one) which conversations, like ModPo, can open out, again, and re-invigorate in conversations. One of my favourite semioticians said that written texts are just the residue (at the bottom of the glass, as it were) that's left over after you have drunk, shared and explored the wine (of conversation) - in all its richness. (I take a bit of poetic licence here, but what the hell).

See also previous posts on the matter, here ...