I found the most thought provoking article to be the research done by Garrison, Anderson, and Archer, in which they discuss the 3 main factors for success in delivering educational programs: social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence (2000). Garrison et al (2000) showed that social presence, or the ability of the learner to identify with others as real people, is critical to not only the development of critical thinking and therefore learning, but also the creation and maintenance of cognitive presence, one of the 3 main factors for success of the educational program itself. Garrison et al (2000) further stated that when using computer conference mediums, the lack of visual cues may contribute to challenges in developing a social presence.
I found this extremely interesting as we continue to increase physical barriers between people. Even in-person interactions have been altered with the development of Covid-19 precautions becoming the norm, we are further reducing our visual cues of each other through facemasks and plexiglass barriers. An online or screen based communication system might prove to be in fact a way we can increase visual cues between learners instead of decrease it. Can you tell if I’m smiling? Would an emoji be easier to understand?
I find the importance we place on human interaction highly interesting in relation to learning. Emotion, attention, reaction, and physical closeness tend to be common themes when we look at motivation and learning, even critical thought.
I also found interesting the discussions on how we participate in the web and being conscious of how we are contributing. Dave Cormier spoke of moving towards a more pro-social web, increasing the quality of our participation on the web (Stewart, Phipps & Cormier, 2019). In his discussion about open government in the UK, Lawrie Phipps talks about how open is not the same as inclusion, how the poorest people often have the least access to devices and internet and are being disenfranchised by the increased transparency of their government. He states “…at the same time as putting things online, also putting things in place, but structurally take things away from the most vulnerable in our society” (Stewart, Phipps, & Cormier, 2019, 15:11). I found this to be increasingly relevant today where it’s almost impossible to keep up with the world if you don’t have access to internet.
Garrison, R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in text based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2–3), 87–105.
Stewart, B., Phipps, L., & Cormier, D. (2019, April 10). The Participatory open: Can we build a Pro-Social, Pro-Societal web? [Video]. You Tube. https://oer19.oerconf.org/sessions/the-participatory-open-can-we-build-a-pro-social-pro-societal-web-o-127/