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12 years ago @ ClintLalonde.net - Facilitating a distrib... · 2 replies · +1 points

Sam, Joe, Amir, and Chi are in a room and a conversation is in progress. Sam, Joe, and Amir are actively talking about on-line learning and the isolation factor for learners that sitting in front of a computer screen might foster. Chi is listening to the conversation and nods occasionally but does not vocalize. Upon some revelation Sam, Joe, and Amir look at Chi anticipating a comment, and Chi does vocalize. The conversation continues with an occasional comment from Chi primarily induced by the other three using social nuances to retrieve input.

Deb, Jo, Bao, and Riya are each at home on-line reading a forum that discusses learning styles. Deb, Jo, and Bao all post some comments. All four reflect on the postings and some more dialogue ensues. However Riya does not post. Deb, noticing Riya is on-line, opens a chat session and the two of them discuss the forum. At some point Riya may post to the forum or she may be satisfied to have read the forum and chatted with Deb.

My point: the on-line environment does not embody the face-to-face interactions, social expectations, visual cues, group dynamics, or belongingness. Am I really a part of this forum’s conversation? I am not receiving any tactile feedback, or encouraging glances. As a self-confessed lurker I am not compelled to jump into a forum and express my thoughts while in-person I am more compelled, primarily by social awareness, to respond and participate.