Best bang for your buck, open or closed forums

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We all have different interests and passions about life and what interests we want to learn about. If we all fit in the same box it would be rather boring, not to mention crowded too. Therefore, why would anyone make forum posts boring, rigid and so concrete that no creative or critical thinking is required?

As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, I do not have much experience teaching or learning in an online environment. However, I have taken some classes that did require students to post on an online forum within the course.  In Stephanie’s blog this week she mentioned her experience about her first ever masters class requiring students to post in an online forum. I happen to also be in that class.  I recall students being asked one question and were required to answer and respond to 3 of our their peers. The question was rather simple and straight forward. I remembering going into the forum and seeing nothing was posted as of yet. I disliked that and contemplated waiting to see what else would be posted first. However, it was required that you post first before you could see others postings. I thought that was interesting but yet at the same time frustrating. After posting
Image result for frustration online learningmy response and viewing others posts it was apparent that everyone’s answers were generally he same. However, the requirements were for me to still respond to 3 others posts. This quickly become even more frustrating as I felt I was not learning anything from this experience and felt like I was doing this just because it was required of me. Being that we all were adult learners, this forum assignment lack critical thinking skill and many principles of adult learning.

I believe that forums through learner to learner discussions should engage students in active learning, critical thinking  and promote growth of collaborative learning communities. Moreover, adult learning principles should be applied to further facilitate a meaningful learning experience.

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This week in EC&I 834 class we did a breakout session where we discussed forum-based assignments. Within our group we discussed how we would encourage engagement within forum groups and the evaluation criteria. Kristen discussed how she thought it was not as important that each individual students be evaluated on their ‘own original’ post, rather the depth of meaning (context) one has added to the forum as a Image result for evaluationwhole. Our group further discussed this point and agreed that a “post” (despite where it is) could be meaningful if it added to the original perspective and/or stimulated further discussion and critical thinking within the tread or as a new perspective. Growing from each learner within the community (open or closed) was seen as most valuable. Source

As a learner, I have started to enjoy blogging and feel that I have gained so much knowledge from reading peers blogs, receiving meaningful feedback and personalized my own individual learning along the way. This is the first class in my master program that I have been able to learn so much from my peers within a forum community than can transfer directly into my own personalized teaching practice. Reflecting individually and as Image result for blog learninga group, I have gained new perspectives on what I think is important for forums discussions and how I would want them to look. Open forms like blogging for EC&I 834
has for sure been the best bang for my buck as a learner. However, I do so value within a closed forum as well if it is set up well.

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As a nursing instructor, along with Stephanie,  I have also given some thought to open forums, such as blogging and how this might look. It has left me with more questions than answers.
How would open forums look within nursing?
Where is the most appropriate and valuable place for it?
Can this be done within a clinical course related to student experiences and still maintain confidentiality?
How can we implement this and still maintain patient confidentiality?
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I would love to hear what others think about this and how this could work from a nursing perspective while still maintaining patient confidentiality.

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