#Change11 Conflict Resolution in Online Classroom

This video provides tips and strategies from Anastasia Pryanikova that help prevent and effectively manage online conflicts in the distance learning environment.

4 thoughts on “#Change11 Conflict Resolution in Online Classroom

  1. I found this video very useful though as a student my biggest frustration has been lack of instructor presence and classroom community online. Half way through a certificate program in emerging technologies for learning (won’t say where) I dropped out.

    One class was clearly not designed for student input outside submitting assignments. Questions posted on the “chat” utility were never answered by the instructor and though a few students started a discussion thread it always felt disembodied from the course.

    Second course started out reasonably well and then the instructor simply quit leaving the students stranded. It took the institution a full 8 weeks (75%) of the course to intervene with a substitute in the last 2 weeks who was unable to determine grading on our 8 already submitted assignments for lack of the previous instructor’s notes.

    My experience with “regular” school was of the same character, dealing with institutions that wouldn’t acknowledge you as a person. The difference with online is the experience of total isolation that accompanies the “silence” from the other end. Oddly, the social contract to acknowledge each others presence seems even more powerful in “distance” learning presented on the net. I’d guess this silent conflict, as it might be called, explains a good portion of the high drop-out rate in online learning.

    Thank you for the thought provoking video.

    Scott

  2. Hi Scott,
    Thanks for your precious sharing of experience🙂. Feelings of isolation could lead to high drop-out in online learning – I shared your views. What would you suggest to resolve those issues like the lack of instructor presence and classroom community? What are some ways to reduce isolation for online learners?

    John

  3. Hi John,
    Reduce isolation by having posted help line hours that are consistent and fully staffed. Waiting long times on hold or receiving replies at the convenience of the institution makes it pretty clear to the learner who’s got the power. People don’t like to be diminished, disregarded or have their lack of control rubbed in their face.

    There’s a fine line in discussion forums as to where the instructor fits. This is tough because the instructor / facilitator may mistake a conversation that is between students as public comment to be responded to. When I make contact with fellow students I expect a bit of privacy but also understand how difficult in an asynchronous environment it is to identify which is public comment and which is private.

    The more online courses and activities I participate in the more back channels I notice students creating. Some instructors seem to think this is an act of defiance or disruption and poke their nose in at their peril. This can push people away. Not sure how to fix this because back channels can also be cliquish, uncomfortable and just as alienating.

    Maybe the MOOC model is best? Give everyone a quarter so they can call in occasionally and then let them scatter. As we become better at this, we as students can monitor each other for outliers and those who need friends. This is what it all comes back to anyway, looking out for each other?

    So how do we combine independent learning with a sense of social obligation? And when will we find time for the instructor to visit?

    Scott

  4. Hi Scott, great points – may be the MOOC model is best? You got me thinking deeper in this – How do we combine independent learning with a sense of social obligation? Easier said than done, as social obligation could be difficult to define in online learning, and as one’s behavior and attitude towards our colleagues or classmates is idiosyncratic, it’s not easy for everyone to achieve that obligation. We share here to learn from each others, and to reflect on the meaning behind our shared experiences and perspectives through conversation. I think the power element would more easily “dissolve” upon interaction, though at times, due to differences in opinions, there could be conflicts, as you mentioned about back channels. As discourse relates to our real life experience, I reckon that’s the authentic learning that could combine independent and social learning, outside the “classroom”. This to me is where rich learning lies.

    When will we find time for the instructor to visit? I don’t think I have the answer. In this MOOC, sure that could only be answered by our professors – George, Stephen and Dave🙂 I reckon we (you and I) could invite them to join the “party” when we feel comfortable. Would asking interesting questions help?

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you. John

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