advancing conversation

August 20, 2009

I was talking tonight with Joni Dunlap about live, synchronous discussions in online classes.  I tend to go pretty structured so none of us (especially me) is second guessing whether to talk or listen.  I like to prompt  conversation with leads like- check out this video clip then talk about it, respond to this image, etc. When I think of the discussions that have been the most effective, I think the student led discussions last semester were probably the best of all. In reflecting on it I think that had to do mostly with the nature and the number of conversations with the leaders about what they need to think about to facilitate a good discussion… then that builds on itself as the leaders become participants in the next conversation and the quality of discussions grows exponentially throughout the semester.  I am excited to try breakout groups this semester… where teams go off and discuss or problem solve elements of an issue… then return for a new conversation to share and build on thinking from their small groups. It is a strategy that works amazingly face to face… I think synchronous conversations this way in Adobe Connect could be a really great way to bring multi-level conversations like this alive in the online classroom.

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