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What if the World goes “Meh?” November 3, 2014

Posted by IaninSheffield in Musings.
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creative commons licensed (BY-NC-ND) flickr photo by Singing With Light: http://flickr.com/photos/tattoodjay/4129779298

Was catching up a few podcasts over the weekend and dropped on one from the DS106 series on Radio Edutalk. Until now I’d not picked up any episodes in the series, since I’ve not been involved in DS106. The episode I caught was the Good Spell Episode 16 with Mariana Funes and John Johnston who were discussing the effects of audience, or lack thereof, when you’re producing online artefacts. The hosts were talking about how it sometimes feels to post creations online for review, and then get no feedback. As Mariana put it:

Sometimes you might invest a huge amount of time on something and the World goes “Meh.”

As a blogger this is certainly an issue you have to come to terms with; if a tree falls in the forest and no-one is there to hear it yada yada. Perhaps it’s simply an aspect of our web literacy we need to develop; how to cope with criticism, praise, constructive feedback … or even nothing at all.

It prompted me to think about the work our students produce and what the effects might be on less mature learners if we don’t respond adequately to the effort they’ve invested. It’s clearly got the potential to do far more harm than simply fail to help them make progress with that particular task. Their whole outlook on learning could be affected. I wonder if we take that into account when we’re  worrying about the ‘marking’ load?

After this I’ll certainly be picking up a few more DS106 episodes.



1. mdvfunes - November 4, 2014

Hi, Ian.

Thank you for taking the time to listen. John and I do try to focus on the wider issues of learning online through DS106 examples. It is a bit cliquey but we try to explain stuff for others not involved in the course.

The questions you ask in your post do keep me wondering about open education where often there is no formal educator to offer a clear duty of care to students. I have had letters of congratulations for courses I never attended. I attended courses that warned me on day one that if I had a breakdown during it I should go to my doctor not to the organisers…Online self-directed mature learners can develop skills to manage the lack of organised feedback.

You raise the point of what happens when our students invest a lot of effort in their work and the world say ‘meh’. Yes, I think it has the potential to affect students deeply. The psychological contract is a lot clearer with students in our care? This may be help us avoid some of the potential dangers of our words not finding an audience?

So lovely of you to listen.

ianinsheffield - November 10, 2014

You’re right of course Mariana; the students for whom we have responsibility occupy a very different space to that of the bloggers whose posts we may read. We are contractually obliged and morally driven in some sense to provide our students with quality feedback that helps them further their learning. Yet despite the absence of that obligation when I visit interesting blog posts, I still feel a sense of guilt if (as I inevitably often do) I leave without commenting. I feel a sense of community with other bloggers, so if I don’t have the time to give sufficient thought to providing feedback, then I do feel guilty.

Interesting! Didn’t expect to find my thinking here. Thanks Mariana.

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