Redefining on-line discussions: a taxononomy to encourage on-line discussion

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Professors Ford, Tancock and Putnam collaborated to analyze student responses to on-line discussion and came up with a taxonomy to describe those responses. The seven categories are familiar to instructors, recognizable; they also suggested prompts for nudging participants/students to a higher level of performance. For example, the most negative type was the "pessimist" who essentially said "that will never work" to most things; this style could be pointed out privately and encouraged to perform in a more constructive manner. Another style was the "information provider" who cited resources, policies, but did not engage further; on the other hand the "reinforcer: and "supporter" were there to say "great job, keep it up, I feel for you" but not go much further. the "counselor" meanwhile suggests a way to proceed. At the top of their hierarchy was the "reflective practitioner" who self-reflects about his or her own thinking and practice. I found this useful and it sheds some light on previous experiences. However, I found that those who performed as reflective practitioners, while gaining my approval, did not seem to be particularly popular or influential in the class. That is, it seems that that self reflective behavior my predict future doctoral or further graduate education but not be aspired to by most students. Still a useful presentation.

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