[Air-l] email lists was Re: Another Tip Re: Korean students

Joanne Jacobs joanne at joannejacobs.net
Tue Jun 13 21:17:15 PDT 2006

At the risk of entering this argument a little late and without meaning to
offend anyone involved, I would like to reinforce the notion of mailing list
"listening" as a form of active participation.  

As Nonnecke & Preece (2001) in "Why Lurkers Lurk" have noted, there is a
productive dimension to mailing list engagement at a purely lurking level.
It's a shame more pedagogues feel the need to measure output as a means of
user engagement, particularly when the nature of an assignment is to seek
out responses to an idea or (in the case of this list particularly) a
technological development which can only produce a shallow reflection on the
proposed topic.  

In order to avoid this practice in the past, I preferred to use a
subject-specific bulletin board, blog or wiki as a means of encouraging
student-student interaction, but made that student-oriented discussion open
to the world, and instead sent messages to my lists inviting colleagues and
other students to engage in the debates begun on my class lists, by giving
them links to the online presence and allowing them to comment in response
to student initiated posts.  This avoided the usual "spam" oriented
responses, and allowed my colleagues who had the time and interest to engage
in the debate to access the questions and considerations of students as they
saw fit.  

The worst possible impression that students could glean from the exercise we
have seen displayed here is that mailing lists are not a valuable source of
collective knowledge.  Yet if they receive no responses to their queries,
then that is precisely the response they are likely to foster.  

I may be speaking selfishly (given the nature of my own research), but my
sense is that this episode in AoIR mailing list history is further evidence
that interaction design systems should be considered as a priority in
curriculum development, or indeed any intra-organisational knowledge base
implementation strategy.  

Regards to you all,
Joanne Jacobs

Joanne Jacobs
Project Manager
Australasian CRC for Interaction Design
Seconded from the Brisbane Graduate School of Business, QUT.
Ph: +61 7 3337 7832  Fax: +61 7 3337 7834
Email: j2.jacobs at qut.edu.au, joanne at acid.net.au, joanne at joannejacobs.net

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