interpersonal CMC

I’ve been thinking about David’s involvement in my class’s weblog….he asked, “How do I get [these students he’s never met] to participate in a discussion about human interaction with me?”
I have a wild proposal. 😉


The students have a two-part assignment relating to “active listening.” We had a “cocktail party” on Wednesday (to celebrate the official end of Add/Drop and who we are as a class). It was semi-structured, they had roughly 5 minutes to talk 1:1 with someone, then they had to move on. Each person should have spoken with 7 other people over the course of the session. At the end of the period, I gave them this assignment: to post in the blog what they remember about their conversations with each person and then, to follow up by reading what all seven of their interlocutors wrote about them, and comment on it.
So, there’s some serious communication going on this weekend!
What I’m thinking is….David….!….you could go in there, read the exchanges, and add your own comments about what you “see” and “read into” what’s going on, interpersonally. If you’re game? This will give you a chance to experiment with your own style of entry….and maybe later in the semester, or even near the end, you could to class in person? 🙂 It’ll also give the class a concrete comparative experience between F2F and CMC….

3 thoughts on “interpersonal CMC”

  1. Whoa… Pretttttty crazy. Virtually stalking your students…? I suspect that this might elicit some reactions like “who is this weirdo listening in on our converations?”.
    I hesitate on the doorstep of becoming a true cyberstalker. Would it add anything substantive to the course if my comments kept popping up in random places across the blog? I am not sure if engaging students individually is the way to go at this point – it just might freak them out. It would certainly freak me out if a person I don’t even know fired sniper comments at me throughout an entire semester.
    Here’s what I’m suggesting. What if I would serve as a virtual outside perspective on the community you are building here, Steph? When I say community I mean the community AS A WHOLE. Say, I could have my own thread (the virtual ‘space’ my voice would be confined to) in which I would post comments about what I see going on in the class. Students could enter my thread at will, comment, and of course I would respond. The benefit of such a thing would be twofold: students could see the reflections on their community (which is already assuming a form) by a virtual presence, and they could have a choice whether they want to engage me in an exchange or not.
    And showing up in your class in person towards the end of the semester would definitely be a blast!!!
    How does that sound? Do you think you could get enough pedagogical mileage out of such an arrangement?
    The Presence 🙂

  2. Dear CyberStalker,
    If you frame yourself as a menace of course you will be perceived as one! 🙂 I like your proposal; even prefer it. I will open a thread for you this week, perhaps you can make your debut while I am out of town this Friday and we can invent a homework assignment that introduces you and facilitates a start to your scheme?
    Curricularly, we will wrap up “active listening” this Monday (for now -we still have more reading on the subject). Wednesday, I’m thinking of using the period to have them start selecting presentation topics. The homework blog for the weekend could include their decisions about what and with whom they want to work. And/or, be something totally of your design?
    We’re going to moving into the social construction of knowledge next, I have a bit on different ways of knowing that I’ve found elevates their critical thinking immensely and broadens the range of “differences” beyond the obvious ones – most of which fall under the term they generated as “social demographics.”

  3. Sounds good. I think for the time being I’d like to assume the role of non-menacing stalker, reflecting on what’s going on in the class. Let me know when you want me to start stalking. Oh, and could you send me a syllabus? That would be a good way for me to track where your class is going… officially.

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