Tonight we had the opportunity to hear Dr. Rick Schwier speak on the topics of ET and how it has evolved over the years as well as the value of interaction within online learning and developing PLE’s. There was a lot to chew on and think about as the conversation happened.
One of the discussion topics focused on having both formal and informal learning environments when using online educational opportunities. Rick really pointed out the importance of creating relationships within the learning group regardless of the structure. If a student feels they are a part of the group they will more often than not be engaged in the content. I loved how the conversation rolled to talk about the various ways a person can be “engaged”. Such as listening to a conversation and then digesting the information in a “lurker” format (aka… watch but don’t necessarily speak up) vs the “extreme” participator who is dominating a chat room or conversation. This really got me thinking about my learning style when it comes to participating in on-line classes. Was I the “lurker”, “extreme” participant or did I fall somewhere in the middle??
After some deliberation on this I went back into the comment/discussion area of our Elluminate class and for my own interest took a peek at the number of times I participated in the discussion. Unfortunately it wasn’t very many. I seem to recall that there were a few occasions where I wanted to say something but by the time I read the other posts, listened to our wonderful presenter and typed my thoughts…. it was already lost in the feed. It was interesting as I tried to find my way back into the conversation that I noticed someone had made a comment which tweaked my interest. I’m not sure if the user was part of the registered students or the open class opportunity but they posted “who is more vocal here tonight, registered students vs open ones?”.
Hmmm… an important question in my books. I wonder if my participation level and engagement was at all affected by the large group of participants present? Typically my only exposure to on-line classes where interaction is encouraged was through my graduate classes which had no more than 20 some students at a time (usually less!). Tonight, there were almost 50 participants and many more discussions happening than I was typically used to! It also seemed that some of our open participants already had built a relationship with one another prior to the class and were able to piggyback on discussions they had earlier with one another. I guess all of this piqued my curiosity (as with the previous poster) just how many of my course classmates felt they were in a safe environment where they could comment and chat through out the session? Was it mostly our registered classmates (who were all just getting to know one another) actively participating in the posts or our open classmates whom may have already built relationships prior to the session? Could this in any way affect my level of engagement as the relationships and comfort level has potentially not yet been achieved for me personally???
It was great being thrown a couple of open-ended questions from Rick to actively engage all of the participants. Perhaps part of my learning needs to involve two-way communication… ask and I shall answer. 🙂
Looking forward to our next class and continuing to develop those connections and relationships with a variety of new colleagues! Twitter certainly is helping with that and hoping to get some feedback from my mentors on twitternation as to how “newbees” like myself can begin to be part of the conversations and feel more comfortable jumping into the discussions!
Thanks for the anticipated tips!