Do you hear your own voice online?

Reflection on Module 3 – Part 1

Take into account the need to rely less on hearing your own voice in favor of supporting participants reflections and learning.
(Edtech BSU, 2012)

This was a direct quote from our instructor this week, Glori Hinck, on how to engage, review and reflect on how we interact in online learning discussions.  It is our voice and tone which can honestly make or break this critical learning junctions between the course content and the learning community.

In the first activity we participated in a role play disguised as a discussion which was a lot of fun and very engaging.  The basic brief is shown below.

Voice and Tone discussion instructions
Assignment overview

Of course my natural instinct (or voice) in a situation like this is to liven the interactions in the room “up a bit” by playing that lovely role called the “devil’s advocate”.  But just as I was about to assume the role of an irate parent with no social skills and who’s only form of discussion is to rip shreds of those against them I paused and reflected… perhaps I should look at the readings this week and what do you know?  According to Collison et al (2000):

Tones that you should refrain from using: Sarcastic, threatening, saccharine, angry, and devil’s advocate. The effects of these tones can be simulated with a combination of the voice and tone examples above, without the associated negative connotations. For example, using Personal Muse with a curious tone produces the same effect as devil’s advocate without the “edge” which may be taken as threatening.

I almost laughed out loud, that basically describes everything I was about to do in this forum to make it “fun”. Perhaps it is my personality type but I was also struck by this statement from our lesson notes which really hit home for me.

It is important to remember, that the goal of discussion board facilitation is NOT the expression of your personal vision but rather the clarification or deepening of learning. This can be a difficult concept to embrace. Your voice, in this context, is the tool that you use to move the learning forward.
(Edtech BSU, 2012)

So I took to the discussion with an earnest Personal Muse and curious tone but still with a slight “edge”… I guess I just couldn’t help myself.  Perhaps if this activity was not a “role” play I would have been more likely to adopt all the correct tones for facilitating learning.  Now whilst I enjoyed this activity that enjoyment mostly came from reading others posts and their take on how to argue for or against social networking in schools.  However, I did not feel that the activity helped resolve the issue nor was there any summary of the debate to at least indicate the best result.  I’m sure it is my Mathematical brain which longs for that resolution but I do think most students desire this as well, Big tickperhaps not an exact answer but at least one of task closure.  This leads me to reflect on a deeper issue I am just noticing with learning online from week-to-week, everything just seems to merge.  It is module after module, task after task and whilst reflections (like this one) are part of this process there rarely (almost never) is closure of an activity  Perhaps even just a summary of what was just completed as the kick-off for the next module would help us (as learners) feel we have accomplished something, it has been read, heard, reviewed and “ticked off”.

Does anyone else feel that this element, so often prevalent in F2F lessons, is just not there in the online learning environment?

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