Thursday, January 20, 2005

More School

I've found this week challenging as a co-moderator for our class.

For me, the biggest problem I have is "shutting up" and letting others have a chance to advance the conversation. I know I have a tendancy to post too much and sometimes I intimidate colleagues.

Of course the danger in any correction is overdoing it, and I still struggle to find balance between too much and not enough moderation. The good thing for me in my current instance is that I've been a co-moderator with Peter and he's doing an excellent job. He put up the framework for our discussion and continues to skillfully advance discussions with his posts.

I think I've done reasonably well; however, I've fallen a bit into my bad habit of spending too long on posts. When I make up my mind to make a post, it seems, I've got to go ahead and post it, without getting too critical over analytical. The problem is that these posts don't see the light of day because I end up deleting rather than posting them. This week I think I had three such posts--ones that ended up in the trash bin.

Of course, this is most likely not a bad thing when it comes to my experience. I know I have a tendancy to over post, and while this may be no big deal in a "normal" week when I'm only a participant, over-posting is an issue when one is in a moderation capacity. A balance really needs to be struck.

Another balance I continue to search for is the one between prompting and promoting technology adoption without alienating one's target group. Going back to my days at SMART, this is something that I've wrestled with.

I've seen again this week, that synchronous "conferencing" in online environments(while I know it holds promise) is an extremely challenging enterprise. This can be especially true in groups that are already familiar/comfortable with "asynchronous" (i.e., discussion groups with threaded posts) forms of online learning where they can participate whenever they'd like.

Of course "timing" is just one of the many issues associated with "synchronous learning in online environments" and I look forward to learning more. As with any communication technology, the challenge is going to be to get enough people using it to see if synchronous web-based conferencing actually works as a tool for learning.

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