[Air-l] Participation vs. speaking

Ted M Coopman coopman at u.washington.edu
Wed Jun 14 10:47:52 PDT 2006

> "I would like to reinforce the notion of mailing list "listening" as a form
> of active participation."

I agree.

Speaking does not equal participation on a list any more than in a physical classroom. For an instructor, the issue is how to assess participation.

In physical space, some sort of artifact production based on the topic/issue at hand is useful to measure engagement. While online courses often have discussion boards where students are required to post and reference other posts (perhaps a better interactive exercise?), having students dive onto an active list and try to interact without any contextual grounding in the norms of that environment is (IMO) problematic.

As an exercise design problem, I think an analysis of the discussion and the apparent norms would be a better use of the list. Moreover, I think that a little more sensitivity toward the ongoing dynamic of a list and its purpose would be in order when dragooning it into one's lesson plan. I would relate this to having a half dozen students show up at a regular f2f meeting unannounced and trying to dive into the ongoing discussion. Educational, yes, but also disruptive.

Where is our obligation as researchers, educators, and members of an open academic association? The list as a mode of interaction has changed over time, for sure, and continues to change.

It may be useful for AoIR to come up with an educators guide for using the list (or any list) as a learning tool. This might help to ensure that both students and regular users in our community both have satisfactory experiences.


Ted M. Coopman
Department of Communication
University of Washington

On Wed, 14 Jun 2006, Rosanna wrote:

> Hello Joanne,
> You said:
> "I would like to reinforce the notion of mailing list "listening" as a form
> of active participation."
> It also has some epistemological "side-effects"... Lave and Wenger (1991)
> also defines it "legitimate peripheral participation".
> Rosanna Tarsiero
> Online Facilitator , Gionnethics
> rosanna at gionnethics.com
> M: +393356759481
> http://www.gionnethics.com
> Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/e/fps/1127530/
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