Re: Participation (number of posts)
- Hi Anne,
Thanks, I agree with you. I don't think that a purpose of a list such of ours should be to expect or even encourage participation from all. I have no trouble at all with silence. I've been involved with online communities for several years and I've had enough emails of appreciation from boundary members that frequent confirmation that we're reaching people is not necessary. Someone on this list wrote me the other day and said she was a quiet participant but a LOUD reader. Hey, I hear you.
put some perspective on this, how many lists do you participate in? For myself, I would think dozens if not a hundred. I'm very active in a couple, like this one, a frequent but low-ratio contributor to a couple more, and infrequent poster to a couple others, and I read the rest.
I'm in one on self-rescue in wilderness areas for example, where I get a lot of information, but I would never post there. The posters know the ropes (literally; very well) and one of these days something I learn on the list might save my life or that of someone else (I've at least learned where I almost screwed up big time coupla times in the past) but it's just an example of a list I follow assiduously, like I would read a magazine, without ever bothering to write the editor.
To me, it's more important what we accomplish in a group such as this, and it's also important that people know they can get involved when and if they are ready. Just reading along is getting someone ready right now, I am sure. So if you feel like writing, do, and if not, enjoy.
Incidentally, we got our PCI proposal in (we think). Proposal writing is one of those projects that sucks up all the available time, so we should be thankful for deadlines (that's also why I almost always put off doing things till the last possible moment - reduces the available time that can be sucked up).
p.s. Tom, put me down for one more, willya?
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 08:30:54 -0000
From: "Anne Fox" <af@...>
Subject: Re: Participation (number of posts)
I don't think you should be comparing class participation and
participation in this group. In a class exercise there would be fewer
in the group (I assume in most cases) plus the whole object,
especially in a language class, would be participation. By contrast a
group like this attracts people for a huge host of reasons and lack
of participation is not necessarily a bad sign. If everybody in this
group started participating to the same extent as the top 8 I would
seriously have to consider leaving. I can barely cope with the stream
of postings as it is.
In a group like this you can gain a lot simply by reading the posts.
I would say that this group together with two or three others has
been a major source of learning for me over the past couple of years.
>I'm in one on self-rescue in wilderness areas for example,...Did you happen to read the recent news of the climber in Colorado who,
after having been pinned for days under a huge boulder, amputated his own
arm with a pocket knife to escape? He just cut off his arm (below the
elbow) applied a tourniquet and rescuers found him as he was hiking out!!!
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Hi everyone,
I�ve fallen behind on one discussion and hope it�s not
to late to put this in. I�m responding both to
Nigel�s posting (#3954) regarding literature on CMC
turn taking, and Anne�s (#3976) regarding access, time
constraints, number of posts. Nigel notes that some
literature found equality (am I reading this right?)
among several speakers, even those some �spoke� quite
a bit more frequently than others. I think I
understand why this conclusion was drawn; the
researcher must have examined the quality of the
communication, as well as the quantity.
In light of Tom Robb�s documentation regarding number
of posts per person (msg. #3896), and coming on the
heels of our own self-examination as a CoP (WiA's
TESOL '03 Colloquium - Baltimore), I think it�s easy
to be swayed by numbers. Numbers give us a sense of
certainty, and allow us to say with assurance that
�thus and thus is thus�. However, this is the
scientific view, and those of us in the classroom well
know that a holistic approach is often more accurate
(unless you�re launching a 10-year in-depth study) for
quickly accessing a situation.
What occurred to me, while watching all the latest
news on SARS (my students are obsessed with it), was
how the SARS epidemic was a terrific example of global
problem-solving. (Excuse me if I take liberties here,
to save space I�m going to make broad statements).
China had a problem and they tried to solve it alone.
They battled at the problem for several months, and no
one else in the world was aware that China even had a
problem, because they kept it to themselves. However,
when the problem became known internationally-- and
experts, worldwide were allowed to intercede-- the
problem was handled in a matter of weeks instead of
months (note: I arrived at this analogy when the WHO
thought they had contained the virus� this metaphor
may not hold so strongly today�).
WiA can work (and has, at times) in much the same way.
We have, through great luck and happenstance, a
terrific number of talented people in the group.
Though we often hear from the same voices frequently,
we do occasionally hear from others. Though they may
not post frequently, these individuals bring a lot to
the table. For example, Anne�s posting made several
extremely valid points � all in one message. I won�t
address every one of Anne�s points (there were at
least 4) but I do think we, as a group, must recognize
(as she noted) that many of our members do not have
the luxuries available at US/UK universities. This
means slow computers and 28k-56k modem speeds, which
really requires one to pick and choose which URLs to
follow, and which tools can be explored in depth.
The main point: I really would like to hear more from
the silent majority of WiA members. As Anne�s posting
proves, a lot of quality can be packed into a small
quantity � so frequency of posts isn�t really relative
here. WiA is a bit like the WHO, with �experts� all
over the world (yes, you are an �expert�; there is
certainly something you know that I do not, and to me
your wisdom would be appreciated as �expert�). I�m
here to learn; the more voices that are heard from,
the more teachers I will have. As a group, the more
voices we all hear from, the more likely it is WiA
will solve problems (and invent new ones:)) in a
matter of weeks instead of months.
Thanks for listening to my (not so silent) voice,
"What's past is prologue."
-- W. Shakespeare, The Tempest
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