Wednesday, January 04, 2006

What induces participation?

1. What, if any, experience do you have with blogs and wikis as a consumer?

Urbana Post 71 Jr. Legion Baseball

2. What, if any, experience do you have with blogs and wikis as a teacher or technical support staff?

iLab for FSL outreach project

My experiences with these tools is exemplified by this very site. Although ~40 people signed up to participate in this focus group, very few actually participate. It is not possible to gauge how many folks have looked without comment, or to assess how often the primary contributors check for new input, so there may well be more activity than there appears to be. Clearly, students may be encouraged to participate by awarding points, but my question is this: What does it take to stimulate an active debate or conversation among interested parties who have nothing immediately real to gain by participating?

Lori - I just stumbled across this. It seems very good.

I could see having conversation on that one long post and on the follow up --- ok I'm now trying this; do you think it fits? and will it work?

The passionate learner crash course is an excellent piece. It includes points that I have learned and experienced from both sides of the podium over the many years I have been a student and teacher. I tried very hard to teach according to such a model when I was in Biochemistry. Now I'm off to add illustrations to the all-text tutorials on NMPDR ...

Another point that may be worth mentioning - people chose the forums they are comfortable with and it might not be the ones we try to provide.

5 years ago kids may have used a newsgroup or a discussion board for getting help on a class assignment. Now they may be more apt to IM their friends in the class.

So on the one hand, we might very well be promoting the dialog, but on the other hand it may be invisible to us so we don't know we're doing it.
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