Monday, October 27, 2008

How do we deal with emotions in a network?

Ed Webb, Sara Stewart and Francis’s comments in my post “Design. Following my hearth, prompted me to write this post. The tone of my previous post has also influenced my decision, my emotions are somewhat obstructing the way.

Edd comments: “But I was most struck by your personal note at the end, about your 'core network' and the emotional impact of the course. This, too, is learning, and I think we should be open to sharing and discussing our emotional insights and reactions as well as our more cerebral ones. Those are also important elements of connection and something we need to consider as educators as we design connectivity into our teaching and learning. Does your core have hard boundaries, do you think, or is it more a question of degrees of connectedness, of a more fuzzy notion?”

As usual I see an example of the importance of Context. One member of my core network passed away recently, I am still in mourning. He was 85 years old and left me as legacy the custody of his Templars books to share them with others; he left me clear indications about how to do it.

My core network does not have hard boundaries, as Ed mentions is more a question of degrees of connectedness, it’s also emergent. Sometimes I am connected with part of the network depending of the issue at hand and the rest becomes kind of dormant. Sometimes it shifts in a day to day basis and sometimes it takes weeks to shift. There are even times when it shifts several times the same day. I feel I have been blessed with the core network I have, that feeling and my resent loss brought about the tears.

Sara mentions “Thanks you Ed and Maru for starting a thread on the emotional aspects of connectivism. How would you do that with your students, in a way that keeps both you and your student’s safe?”

I believe that if you communicate frequently with your students, deliver prompt feedback and keep a netiquette code in your course, you and your students would be safer than if you leave them wandering around on their own. To do that you will need a bunch of trained moderators. Sometimes it’s not possible because there is no money to pay them but you can have willing connections within your network that will do the job on voluntary basis. It’s easier said than done, you need to have a strong tie with your moderators and be sure that if they need to abandon they will place at least someone to cover their position.

While Sia Vogel writes about her feelings in Being there and suddenly very lonely. I think that if CCK08 course had spared a week for introductions, as again my dear Webheads usually do in their EVO workshops (sorry for being so redundant), we could have acquired a sense of belonging and then move to the content itself with more ease and a sense of recognition. I see clearly that my views regarding online learning and teaching may be biased, I believe that if you set a friendly and warm tone with participants it’s easier to get them focused on the content.emotions

Regarding emotions, as a private email points out and Frances comments: The emotional aspects are important but can be difficult to discuss 'in public'. I noticed that Stephen D had praised someone sharing their grade as 'living the spirit of connectivism'. What is the place of private discussion in networks? Important to me.”

While I a agree with Ed, on that “we should be open to sharing and discussing our emotional insights”

I am finding that it’s complicated to do it in public as Frances comments, it may also be risky. I would like to find out more about this issue because it may have deep implications, I think that if by sharing your feelings you are bringing something valuable to the network it will be appropriate to do so.

In the case of my last post the valuable thing for me was to bring emotions to the table but… Will others consider it valuable?, Are we willing to discuss our emotions openly?, Does dealing openly with participant’s emotions really promotes learning? The netiquette suggest to deal with flame messages by private email, is this the only way?, If we do it in private how will the rest learn about it? Emotions are important for connections but how and where do we deal with them in a network?. I bet some research been done on this, could any of you share links on the subject?