[Air-l] Listserv research

Dr. Steve Eskow drseskow at cox.net
Fri Sep 22 16:58:12 PDT 2006


You asked Alexander:

<<So to get back to the issue, what specifically do you think is the problem
in applying Tuckman to groups of online learners?>>

How would you apply the Tuckman model to this group:Air-l? Are "we" at one
of the Tuckman stages?

Or is it your notion that the model applies only/largely/manily to
"classes," or "teams," or other kinds of "groups" that are more or less
formally organized?

Does the fact that you aimed your question at one member and another chose
to answer speak at all to the point?

Steve Eskow

-----Original Message-----
From: air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org
[mailto:air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org] On Behalf Of Rosanna Tarsiero
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2006 2:44 PM
To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
Subject: Re: [Air-l] Listserv research


It reminds me of the controversy around Hall's and Hofstede's work on
culture. Elusive concept, maybe poorly conceptualized, done on managers
only, done 60 years ago, everybody applied acritically, mere common sense,
etc etc. Can we trash the concept that at least some behaviours that people
(managers or not) have, even now (not just 60 yrs ago), are influenced by
their culture? Hardly. But some do, engaging in a destructive practice
rather than in something that criticizes and improves the model.

Yet, the reasons for it would be inappropriate to apply Tuckman to a group
of online learners are as much as an assumption as it is to say Tuckman
would be appropriate. Are the differences between therapy groups and groups
of online learners proved? And in which ways? Furthermore, if differences do
exists, are they relevant to the aspect(s) that is/are being studied?

I won't even begin to comment on the CMC/group aspect. Most studies (except
from Walther's) are deterministic, either sociologically, psychologically or
technologically. Again, supposing every person to be sensitive to some kind
of influences, usually without addressing whether culture impacts or not in
his/her (the researcher's) perceptions, generalizing rat-lab group findings
not just to spontaneous settings, but often to the whole mankind. 

It's an epistemological issue that dates back to the induction/deduction
diatribe. There is none that is better than the other, it all depends on the
context in which they are applied.

So to get back to the issue, what specifically do you think is the problem
in applying Tuckman to groups of online learners? Does it have something to
do with the unconventional models they adopt at Fielding? What specifically
do you think is the problem in framing group life in terms of cycles/stages?
Have you ever thought that the discomfort with models of groups lies into
the cultural bias we Westerners have against group and in favor of

Rosanna Tarsiero

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