Unit 3 – Reflections and Musings

Do I have a responsibility to give as much as I take online?

This is a question I have been asking myself since listening to the Participatory open Panel discussion with Dave Cormier, Lawrie Phipps, and Bonnie Stewart. In discussions with a cohort member this week, we shared our feelings of contribution inadequacy, and the looming fear of having ‘nothing to offer’ to the web. This puts me specifically in a position of taking lots, and giving very little. In reflecting on the question posed about ‘pulling back from participating in the web’ (Phipps, L.  2019), I’ve come to realize that I have pulled back from ‘leaving a trace’ in open digital spaces because of this fear. Overcoming these feelings of apprehension are a goal I have for this year. I want to help build a web that I am proud to be a part of (Cormier, D. 2019).

An additional reading that was of particular interest to me, was Critical Inquiry in a Text-Based Environment: Computer Conferencing in Higher Education by D. Randy Garrison, Terry Anderson, and Walter Archer. Specifically, the trifecta for success in computer conferencing for learning, which is establishing a cognitive presence, social presence, and teaching presence. Of particular interest was reading that humor and vulnerability are a key tool in developing social presence, and can be akin to “an invitation to start a conversation” (Gorham and Christophel 1990).The teacher or facilitator’s responsibility to nurture this social presence while providing direct instruction or instructional feedback, while still encouraging cognitive presence, presents a delicate challenge for educators in a time where opportunities for ‘in-class’ control appears to be decreasing with the rise of technological interventions.


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/

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.

One thought on “Unit 3 – Reflections and Musings”

  1. Hi Paula
    I can relate to that feeling of not contributing as much as I am receiving from my networks. Here is one thing I have been considering about this. That idea we need to be giving as much as we get. It’s a construct, and it’s one that is based on economics and economic exchange. The way we think about economics is, as Su-Ming Khoo (2019) says in her keynote, at odds with learning. In that keynote she talks about how learning should be aligned with a gift economy. Gifts are not commodities. We don’t give them to get something we give them to deepen relationship and connection and belonging.

    When I think about contributing in the open in that way I feel more free to share. I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to exchange good gifts with me or feel like I am obligated to return equal gifts because it stops me from contributing. Is having relationships and connection the fundamental thing that makes learning in the open meaningful rather than the quantity or quality of our contributions? I think it might be so let’s experiment with this idea. Post the worst gifts Paula! I will post bad gifts too. Not unthoughtful just bad because I don’t even know how to judge my contributions yet. Like I am giving you a stone off the beach I found and think is interesting but it’s value is zero. We will keep the community of learning alive through exchanging the pebbles we find, because I think really it’s about connection to the community of learners. Posting and exchanging and including one another and building from each others’ contributions. We will be nurturing our community connections and the relationships we are building and forget about that construct of equal value exchange. It will feel good to be free from that in at least one area of our lives. What do you think? Is that freeing for you to frame it that way?

    Khoo, S. (2019, April 11). Openings: bounded (in) equities: entangled lives. [Video]. YouTube https://oer19.oerconf.org/sessions/welcome-from-the-co-chairs-and-keynote-by-su-ming-khoo/

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