BY CONNIE BELANGER
In recent years the Internet has introduced millions of users to their counterparts, and written correspondence has taken off in many directions, including computer conferencing and online education. As reported in the last issue of CONNECT, several adult literacy classes across Canada recently completed a project which included online conferencing. Many educators would like to use conferencing and email to provide a broader field of study for learners, but need a few guidelines to help get started.
The following pointers may help to make this method of communication clearer, and easier to use, for both educators and learners alike.
Writing a Message
Many individuals who have spent the better part of their lives avoiding writing tasks are reluctant to participate online. Preparation is the key to reducing online writing stress for many users, student and instructor alike.
(Turn page sideways for faces.)
Moderating a Conference (Each conference has a moderator- someone to facilitate, to manage the conference, add or remove participants, or add comments and messages.)
=> Netiquette is 'etiquette' for the Net (see p. 5). Decide on which practices are good 'Netiquette' at the beginning, so that everyone has guidelines to follow. (Example: No comments about politics or religion are allowed during this conference.)
=> Use short comments that invite response. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't create long messages which may discourage a response.
=> It isn't necessary to overload the conference with your input. Try to limit your comments to no more than one message per day.
=> Be adaptable and patient. It takes time to get everyone moving in the right direction at the right time. Try to provide assistance or guidance, but don't try to control the input
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