We have _already_ received such an offer from an established
organization concerned with global networking. I think this
underlines the fact that we _are_ an organization already, not
just with a name but an organization of educators. As Mihkel
said, we do not know each other well enough to get married ; - ).
However, maybe it is because I receive personal messages, too,
but I see many educators affirming this organization. When
someone with online educational skills just sends a humble
"Me, too," I for one hear that they are ready to get started
working in this organization. Discussion can be endless and
inconsequential, but an organization basically of educators
can develop in stages, provided a measure of trust at first.
Educators have their institutional and regional organizations
on the one hand, while many have ventured out into cyberspace.
But they find themselves drifting from list to list, link page
to link page, like a huge number of nomadic masterless samurai.
This is because Websites, listservs and newsgroups are _not_
organizations. The new media afford a new kind of organization,
and it is a real organization because it organizes educators
concerned with all dimensions of online education for good.
I apologize for the scattered puzzle pieces from the keynote through
our ensuing discussions, but a viable organization is rapidly forming.
Starting from the most universal principles and allowing for the
formation of committees in every conceivable area, there can be a
structure for a large organization to bring together all those online
educators who have been drifting in cyberspace. The committee
system can work regardless of members' ideological differences.
Fundamental differences would have to be resolved by votes and
elections, so we need those procedures also regardless of ideologies.
So Joe's points about program and impact are well taken. Can people
whose messages are focused on a certain area like that help to form
committees and develop their suggestions for WAOE? Or if their
concerns span many dimensions of online education, would they like
to be elected officers?
In summation, I think that the organization already exists as named,
but it has not been formalized. If we worked everything out before
inviting others to join, then the organization's development would
be unfairly in the hands of those who could register for TCC98. So
I have suggested that we invite others we know, especially those
with expertise in online education. For the same reason we can
prepare a mission statement for WAOE with the Steering Committee
members as signatories. Please check the forthcoming list of those
who have stated or implied that they volunteer for the WAOE Steering
Committee. To this rather long list we should welcome others, so
please let me know of those who should be added or deleted.
Professor, Kagawa Junior College, Japan