One of the great things about being involved in e-learning is that timezones cease to exist. From my home in South Australia where the local time is UTC + 9.5 hours, I know that at all hours of the day and night there will always be interesting people tweeting, lessons scheduled on WiZiQ, and people to chat with on Skype.
But I have noticed lately that even some of the most ‘connected’ people have not caught up with this in their language. A site where I have attended several excellent online courses advertises their session times in New York time, because that is where the server is. But there is nothing on their website that indicates that it is New York time. You have to work it out for yourself, and then make the conversion.
Participants in the excellent #edchat discussion group which takes place each Tuesday at 23.00 UTC wish each other ‘goodnight’ at the end, because most of the participants are in the eastern states of the USA where the conversation finishes at 7.00 pm. For me here in Adelaide #edchat takes place betwen 8.30-9.30 in the morning on Wednesday, which is conveniently before my first lesson of the day which begins at 9.40.
I suggest that all online events should be advertised in UTC, and that bloggers, tweeters and everyone involved in e-learning should begin to think in terms of the Coordinated Universal Time (which is the same as Grenwich Mean Time, but the Grenwich observatory just outside London is not the centre of the universe either). If we all start using UTC for our online events then we will be consciously part of a bigger and a more inclusive world.
There are several good sites with online clocks. One of the coolest is http://24timezones.com/map.htm which has an illustrated map of the world.