I was looking at the blog usage on an online course I am doing and it will be interesting to see how the final blogs are but there seems to be an 80:20 law.
This is not a bad thing. It just means that some participants are prolific posters. (This might be because they are either highly reflective or because they love the sound of their own typing ;-) ). Then there are others who are much rarer contributors. The ratio is that 80% of the posts will be contributed by 20% of the participants. These sorts of ratio are common in social networks and appear in many studies of social sciences.
The problem is if these indicate a pathology of the learning group. Do they mean that some participants feel left out? As was discussed in the second Skype chat, does this mean that some feel that they are imposters? Whatever the reasons for variation in engagement, it is important that these are not allowed to have an impact on learning.
What is the right way to address these issues?
- Should some participants be excluded?
- How can the tutor manage the interactions more successfully?
- How can we best get a feel of inclusion?
- Does watching matter?
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