The researchers that I am currently working with are looking at their early contributions to the online learning community. They are asked to evidence, categorise and explore their early community activity. Inspired by this I did a quick round of the community (nil points for rigour, this was quick and dirty) of charted the different types of posts that had been made within the first six weeks of this cohort’s online learning experience.
I can see that posts are appropriate to the defined purposes of each space, making clearly define places within the community. When we began I had no preconception of where Facebook may sit in the mix, if the community space called ‘The Panic Inn’ is the bar – perhaps Facebook is the nightclub upstairs!
There are many discussions about tasks, and systems and about learning processes, more so than about individual ‘themes’. Whether this reflects the early stage of the community, new learners getting oriented, or whether it represents the more permanent tendency of communities of inquiry (co-learners) to focus on the common ground of process remains to be seen.
There has been a good level traffic on early peer review. Unpacking these posts though bring to light the trepidation of both sharing and reviewing. Reviewing brings two key problems, fear of offence and a feeling that the student reviewer has the lack of an authoritative voice in providing review. For the fear, a culture of trust is being built, in time and through support. For the sense of not being qualified to review – modelled behaviour by LF’s, encouragement, explicit strategies for forming reviews (eg I heard, I wondered … ) and time (as you learners benefit from review, they can see clear purpose for giving).