July 8, 2007

When have you had online "aha" moments reacting to others?

For the first time in five years, my distance-learning course is asynchronous, without a live chat, and this poses an interesting challenge.

Oh, heck, let me be honest: at some level I'm terrified at the prospect of an asynchronous-only class, because my teaching style relies heavily on the timed revelation of material and ideas, commonly in one of the following ways:

  • Getting students to commit themselves to some perspective or a factual or policy position and then reveal information designed to shift their perspective radically; or
  • Intervening in a discussion to push students to rethink their ideas.

When I'm lucky, setting up a discussion allows peers to educate each other (why students who are over 25 are invaluable in my undergraduate classes!). But that still requires interaction in a live context. While students do tell me that my reading assignments often get them to think differently, the live interaction is still crucial to some of the ways I teach.

I won't have that in the fall, and I'm trying to think about the student "aha" experience and asynchronous interaction. So I'm asking my online readers for some personal story: can you remember a specific time when you were reacting to someone else or someone else was reacting to you online, not live, and your perspective on something shifted?  If so, please tell me what it was (hey, you can even link to it!) and what made that aha moment possible?

For those who comment, thank you!!!

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Posted in Teaching on July 8, 2007 5:27 PM |