FORUM – THE HEART OF MOODLE iMoot presentation by Tomaz Lasic, 5, 6 & 7 February 2010 Summary of open slides – Sessions 1,2 & 3 Slide

1 How is an online conversation different to live conversation? Positives • More time to think, reflect, compose, edit, support and enrich (eg. references, links, media) More permanent, recorded Asynchronous, don’t have to be online, same place & time with others Learn with and from others Great for people less confident and shy in person Very easily gather a range of views Many can participate • Negatives Lack of non-verbal language (expressions, tone, gestures) – can lead to misinterpretation Can get messy if unstructured Potential for spam and flaming (abuse, swearing, hostility) If not formulated carefully quickly degenerate Not good for those who prefer speaking than writing Disjointed conversations May be hard for non-native speakers ‘Umm, interesting… not quite sure” • Online cliques can be just as strong as face-to-face

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Lurking only Early or late posters may get small audience Recording could be good or bad ‘What if no one responds to my post?’ Lots of email vs turning off & missing posts Just like in class – how do you control people who talk too much? Potential problem for people with poor typing skills Needs to be part of ‘digital citizenship’

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Equality of participation No or less power imbalance

Intimidating to post publicly Inappropriate written content lingers on, oral responses don’t

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Anonymity (if allowed) Can review, edit mistakes, build on Great for teaching social skills, negotiation, respect for others Great for peer teaching & peer evaluation

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Slide 2 Good practices in using Forum activity? • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Have good, purposeful guiding questions Clear etiquette, guidelines, instructions & expectations Be present (teacher) – participate meaningfully Keep on subject but moderate softly Model responsible behaviour Don’t replace face-to-face conversations Build trust and interest, patiently Monitor and value lurking – it’s OK. Don’t always be first to respond – pull back and wait for conversations to develop Be mindful and respectful of people’s feelings Consider assigning student/group moderators (if appropriate) Include visuals, links to other resources, use multimedia plugins Encourage peer review Explore the four basic types of forums – moodle a little Show good examples

Slide 3 Is introducing Moodle to others [teachers] by using a Forum a good idea? Why (not)? YES, because it… • • demonstrates the • interactivity of Moodle begins with active • participation rather than static document uploads activates & supports • ongoing interaction encourages active learning, engagement, contributions has easy entry level • NO, because… not everyone likes the internet/Moodle thing posts can get hostile (flaming) quickly it looks ‘old’, ‘boring’, ‘old fashioned’ compared to newer multimedia tools it is easy to avoid Not sure, because … • • it is so different to traditional teaching – pros and cons depends on what they have used before depends on the cohort and subject depends on assignment & teacher if teacher has initial bad experience they may not revisit Moodle if blended with other activities & use just for feedback/ interaction

spam could be an issue

participants learn how to use the most important tool starts to build a community straight away doesn’t have to be serious – bring in humour is great for giving engaging tasks – “find a lie..”, “guess what..”, “which is best..” is in a nonthreatening conversation-type approach

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Slide 4 Problems using Forum activity? (things to look out for, avoid) • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Spam, flaming & bullying (intentional or not), Not giving enough time – the power is in replying and building, not posting Too controlling, heavy (over)moderation by teacher Becomes too impersonal Poor questions lead to mess Threads can easily go off-topic Dominant people Over-posting [Answer: Can limit posts in Settings] Not monitoring often Can be overwhelming in a class of 30 Inadequate preparation by teachers Missing posts if not RSS setup or email notification [Answer: Turn tracking on in Settings] Teachers [users?] using ‘Reply’ email without seeing posts in context Teachers not understanding how ‘separate groups’ work

Slide 5 Cool activities using Forum • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Role play Picture stories – chain stories Interviews Using as FAQ for support & access to help “Getting to know each other” activities Bingo, “2 truths one lie” “Who gets it first” Argue the opposite, debate Co-writing workshops Collaborative space while building content in wiki Peer mentoring Faculty input & record of ideas perhaps missed Number hunts – find unique new facts about a number Weekly logic puzzle competition Spelling improvement activities & competitions Class sharing resources Build a list of useful websites as a class/ group Keeping minutes, main points of a lesson Rapid fire responses Word association games Book reviews Pictograms – tell with a picture, explain “Show & tell”

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Homework help club Story game – each students adds a line Continuous narrative writing – each person adds 5 words Brainstorming Quiet(er) class conversations Feedback & Solution generator

+ see more suggestions in the presentation slides at For more information on the presentation, visit http://tomazlasic.net/2010/02/forum-the-heart-of-moodle-imoot-reflection-1

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