Thursday, January 06, 2005

Post Composition

I'm back with some observations about my learning this week in CTL 1608: Constructive Learning and Design of Online Environments, but first a little background.

The interface we use for the course is called Knowledge Forum. It's been developed at OISE/UT for use in courses and is primarily as a space for participants to add to threaded discussions with new posts or build-ons. Because the interface is web-based, it's been suggested that we compose posts in a word processor and then "copy/paste/post" to contribute to the discussion.

What I've learned this week is that my posts are "different" if I use this method. I struggle to describe just how, but the lack of spontaneity hurts the post. The more considering and editing of the post I did, the less I liked it. Normally editing/revising is a good thing, but in this instance, I don't think it improved things.

My sense is that the more I worked on my "Bio" post for our class, the more clinical, convoluted and impersonal it became. In other words, pretty much the opposite of what I'd intended.

I think I'm left with two choices when it comes to my posts to KF-based "knowledge communities" @ OISE/UT:
  1. Revert to browser-based posts (and accept the fact that compositions will "go away" if the connection to the server is lost)
  2. Force myself to be more spontaneous, and "web-like" (i.e., warts and all) with my posts...even if they've been prepared in advance

While there's no question that posts need be informative and well-considered, I think it's just as true that online knowledge building needs spirit and personality to work. I'll suggest that the more "human" (those warts again ;-) the composition--be it a KF post or a picture, or a chat post or a video--the better.

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