Tonight our class session was with Brian Lamb and D’Arcy Norman. I arrived late, so I’m just following up on one point until I have a chance to listen to what I missed.

On my drive today, I was thinking about the difference between a discussion in an LMS (aka Bb or D2L) and the dialogue created from a blog posting. Last term my courses were about “here is the discussion topic, or topics, create one original post and at least 2 responses to others”. On the surface, it seems appropriate to establish an expectation and an associated rubric for a course activity. The activity is designed to promote learning, n’est-ce pas? But often I found myself (a) wanting to discuss something either quite tangential or not apparently linked or (b) not stimulated by others’ postings sufficiently to want to respond.

Fast forward to this current class, where we are each expected to maintain a blog of reflective discourse about our personal learning journey. Now I get to write about what is important and interesting to me, and further I get to respond as I choose to the writings of others. If a posting causes me to think differently about an issue, or I wish to challenge what is written, I can respond directly or I can create a post myself. I can respond to comments in my own blog, and we can link one to the other. These original posts and comments are dialogue – you can visibly observe learning happening. Discussion threads felt more, as D’Arcy described them, like chaotic disjointed conversations.

My personal preference is clearly a blog or blog-like environment, and I had posed the question more as an instructor than a student. Does one modality create a better quality learning outcome than the other? Or is it the expectations of the instructor within the environment that makes the difference?

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