Watching the video on design ideas, I was struck by Prof. Schweizer's remarks on back-channel conversations. I feel most instructors (including myself) tend to prefer students to maintain their attention to the content that is being transmitted or the activities provided. Often, when asked what side conversations are about, students are put on the spot.
The online space allows this unique opportunity to use side conversations as teachable moments, clarify misunderstandings and incorporate additional student insights and examples without disruption to the flow. As instructor, we can make regular space to direct attention to the chat box and address anything that came up.
I will continue to ponder how to bring this into the face-to-face classrooms.
Hi Jens, great points about the potential value of "backchannel" conversations. I am curious to know if you have found helpful ways of approaching this in online learning? As you mention, it may not work out well if a student feels like they have been put on the spot (e.g. getting "called on" and not being prepared or able to respond). It sounds like you are suggesting that if the facilitator notices comments in the chat box, that these can be a good indicator of what is coming up for participants and to address this by checking in.
Thank you, Elena
Hello Elena and Jens,
I value back conversations too! Would you say backchannel conversations appear when everyone in the learning community realizes how much learning they are receiving from others, and not just the instructor? Isn't this similar in smaller seminar discussions in F-2-F classes?
Hi All - excellent points re: backchannel conversations - which as a learner I tend to engage in when (i) somebody else is on the mic already responding to a question and I'd like to add my two cents, and (ii) I'm giving/receiving information/resources to/from other learners.
This thread raises the experimental question for me - is it possible to flip back-to-front - so that a learning activity is centred in the chat (which then becomes the main channel), with the whiteboard acting as a backdrop for reference/resources?