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Greg McVerry

Engaging in Discourse About Your Work

6 min read

I have searched high and low for the magic sauce. I haven't found it yet. I want the ingredient that makes community flourish in the online classes I teach.

I blamed the LMS. Studnets just worked through assignments and if you said post and respond twice. That is exactly what they did.

I realized it is in't the LMS that suck it was me.

I tried every configuration of tools to try and crowbar "social" in. No matter the format my class ended up looking like a pinterest board of student assignments. I could have just taught via email.

I realized what my students were missing was a model of federated and distributed discourse. In the class I give no minimums of how many posts and how many replies. It seems contrite. So this iteration I have told my students I expect interaction. They simply will not do well if they just post their completed assignments. Engagement is required...but I did not provide support.

That is the purpose of this post. Look at how social media engagement occurs in the wild

In the tweets below you will find the conversation threads surrounding this post.

Here are my tips to engage with others:

  • Be proud of what you write and make
  • Share it out across networks. It is okay to share posts beyond class
  • Invite discussion (But don't end posts with "What do you think? Just leave a comment." That's cheesy)
  • Share more than a link. Tell my why your post is important. Why should I care.
  • Pictures included with social media increase engagement.

Some people engaged in conversation while others just sent the link out into further discussion.


href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/clmooc?src=hash"> — Stephanie Loomis (@MrsLoomis) August 2, 2015

You want to not simply post your work but live it. Have an emotional attachment to your ideas and your words. Discuss what you write and watch it travel.

I then pinged people in my network I knew who would be either interested or willing to challenge my ideas. Hopefully both.

Some left comments on the blog.

Then some folks really wanted us to annotate the piece.

This brought in the interest of the Hypothesis Team

Some people then shared their own work to back up their claims or challenge my claims.

We discussed research and assessment methods

We debated the boundaries of action, thought, knowledge, and assessment.

We kicked people off the boat