Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Beauty of Online Discussion

Interview #1--Leah Richards, English
Leah plans to use both Facebook and Twitter for the time being, though she would like to incorporate Blogger once she is more comfortable with it.  Facebook and Twitter are both platforms with which students are familiar, so incorporating them into class discussions and activities requires little explanation or instruction.  Leah finds that in-class discussions often uncover additional questions or ideas that cannot be truly explored in the limited time allotted to the class session itself, so continuing the discussions on Facebook or Twitter allow for interesting and enlightening conversations that would otherwise be stifled because of the need to stay on schedule in the classroom itself.  Lea envisions using the online platforms specifically for her assignment that explores how visual images revisit iconic texts because the intersection between written and visual messages lends itself to a diversity of interpretations, analyses, and approaches.  The course for which this activity is most appropriate is English 245 and she would like to link her course with Lisa Barry who explores contemporary media images and representations of women.  The courses for which the connection is most logical are either HUC101--Fundamentals of Speech Communication or HUC130--Media and Society.

Interview #2--Porsha Esterene, Communication Skills
Porsha uses both Blogger and Facebook because both allow interaction and the ability for students to see and evaluate others' contributions.  Because CSE99 is a basic skills course, Porsha's students complete a great deal of summary writing, which is easily posted online and for which students can interact, critique, and/or see alternative summaries than their own, which enables students to see that there isn't always "one right answer."  Porsha already collaborates with Melissa Greenaway's CSZ99 course, a course for students who did not entirely complete the required basic reading or writing skills courses (including Porsha's own CSE99) to move into ENG101.

Interview #3--Wynne Ferdinand, PCAP
Wynne uses Wikis and Neeng (sp?) because they enable a type of interactivity that is less linear than traditional blogs and that allow students to create sub-pages on the actual wiki page rather than creating their own blog pages.  Her courses are interdisciplinary (adult and continuing education and GED bridge courses), so wikis allow for the posting of texts or resources students can then use and respond to, a sort of "guided research and discussion" for students who aren't academically prepared to conduct their own research.  Wynne hopes to connect her GED Bridge to Health course with the standard Community Health course.

The three interviews all revealed the desire by many of us to enable students who otherwise might feel silenced in a classroom to discover and utilize their voice in a forum that is more comfortable for them.

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