I read Sarah’s post with interest.
Here she posted three questions:
What motivates you to join in with online discussions?
I join in with online discussions when I found some interesting ideas to share, or to comment on some posts that I found interesting, or to gain insights into a topic that I wish to know more, either a new one or one that I need to keep updated. So, most of these engagement was based on my intrinsic motivation, to learn and contribute to the community. I don’t associate my desire to connect are based on extrinsic motivation, after some years of networking. I would however thank everyone who has shared and contributed in one way or other in sharing their learning with me. So, I am not expecting any rewards, or would need any such rewards in return, in online discussion. For me, the greatest reward is to give, not to receive.
What tips would you pass on either as a teacher or student?
Just be yourself when sharing online. Keep an open mind. Appreciate others’ views, and acknowledge them even if you don’t agree with them, especially if they are different from your perspective. Look for different ideas, perspectives, insights posted by others and see how you could learn from them. If you disagree with the authors’ views, ask yourself why? Think and reflect critically during a conversation with others. Ask questions if you don’t understand. Always thank others for responding to your questions.
What do you think is the secret to a successful online discussion for students?
Put yourself into their shoes (i.e. be empathetic). Think about what interests them, and how you could add value to the conversation or discussion. Keep the conversation simple, focussed, though, stimulating and interesting. Imagine if you were the audience, how would you feel during the conversation? Be honest with your responses, and be professional at all times.
Here is a useful list of causes of conflicts in online community that could be used as guidelines, and one should be aware of.