Monday, September 9, 2013

Hi, I'm Mark, and I'm an introvert.

How does “Quiet” help you prepare for/anticipate the coming semester and your goals as a teacher?

As an introvert (at least moreso than an extravert considering it as a spectrum) quiet is important to me in terms of reflection on the past semester and moving forward with course augmentation for the following term.  Determining what worked, what didn’t, how to improve, or if something needs revamped entirely comes from this process.  I have never had a course stay the same, from the syllabi to the assignments, as I’m on a constant search for improvement, as well as trying to democratize the classroom where possible allowing flexibility in learning and student ownership over their education.

When you reflect on students’ participation/engagement with the connecting activity you did or your own participation in Community 2.0 during this semester what seeds/tips can you plant for the fall? 

To be straightforward, in terms of the Community 2.0, while I feel what is bring put together for us is very beneficial, I always feel ‘rushed’.  Thoughtfulness and time limitations aren’t close companions.  I realize, of course, we are bound by a set period of hours for our meetings, but as I tell my students, your first idea is almost never your best idea, and time and patience is the commodity that is what develops the best of what we can offer.

In terms of the student assignment, the connecting activity worked on some level and needs improvement this semester.  It will be written into the syllabi to reinforce the importance and requirement.  

Consider how you evaluate “quiet” people and how you address privacy.  How have your assumptions about collaboration/participation shifted or changed?  How can we use/take advantage of Web 2.0 platforms to “include” and enhance everyone’s presence?

I feel that collaboration via the web allows for both types of people.  It creates a social sphere but also allows for time to give significant thought which may not be accomplished within a live environment.  As Cain put it in her TED Talk, we aren’t looking to isolate, but strike a better balance between the two types.

Evaluating quiet individuals is an interesting challenge within the public speaking realm.  To be open, I'm more about taking students as they come and pursuing improvement, but in the era of rubrics and equating everything as a number, it's complex.  To address privacy, I don't ever use what I consider true social networks and use a system that is in terms of privacy locked down.  To me, asking a student to use Facebook has ethical implications.  For instance, without entering this too heavily, if a student stopped using Facebook due to being stalked, harassed  etc. for what purpose would be put them in a situation where they need to use it again.  Most importantly, there are plenty of other options out there that can perform the same in terms of features.  

What are other categories of students who might find voice in these Comm 2.0 activities?

Other students, regardless of their impairments or otherwise, may find online environments more comfortable.  I think that's what we're pursuing, using the technology for its benefits, to allow students to be communicative in a variety of environments, and letting everyone work in both their arenas of strength and weakness.  The world won't make accommodations necessarily, so while we pursue them in education, the idea of discomfort and internal strife in some educational settings is appropriate and can even be transformative.

How does thinking about “quiet” students (or faculty members) shape your understanding of the trivium pedagogy, community, and Web 2.0?

I feel it’s imperitive to think about the personality types within the classroom.  How we structure a class, whether online, hybrid, or physically based in the classroom, is our responsibility.  Certainly, we could go with the traditional model, read the book, listen to lectures, take the exams and leave.  But this is a very one dimensional way to challenge students to go further, to develop, to change.


  1. When I read your responses to the first couple of questions in your post, I got the sense that you are trying to find new ways to make time for reflection and improvement to your teaching practice. In some recent instructional meetings, we have had the conversation about isolating a few topics to focus on for development, and working on those, deeply, for a semester at a time. Even in choosing the digital tools we incorporate into class, options and new innovations can easily overwhelm focused work with one medium/tool. With the work we are being asked to do in C 2.0, I decided to stick with a basic blog platform, and see what I can do to push the boundaries of what it has to offer as an instructional tool. That way, I can spend more time developing the quality of the materials we use on the blog.

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful post, Mark. I have heard about many issues that faculty have with Facebook, but I never considered that of students who are completely trying to rid themselves of an online presence due to being stalked or harassed. Perhaps these students could create a persona on Facebook which they will only share with the class, in order to be able to participate using this medium while ensuring their own privacy?

    Another element of your post I found interesting was your discussion of feeling "rushed" in our seminar meetings. I completely agree. I completely understand the reasons behind why we are set to such time limits, but it does get me a bit frazzled because although I know it is completely my responsibility to finish up the work I start here, or really take time to think it out on my own, there is nothing better than getting to delve into something in the moment, while the juices are flowing, and follow through. And I know I ask this of my students all of the time!

  3. You're right about the Facebook issue, maybe I'm being oversensitive on this however I feel even asking for an online persona may have the student experience trauma by having to use the interface they opted out from.

    It just has an odd feel to me, if I saw a student out in a social environment I wouldn't run up and start a lecture. We're invading social spaces that I feel like many aren't questioning the appropriateness of such a move that might seem harmless.