When I read Dean’s comment on one of my my last posts I knew it would take me a long time to make a sensible answer. So here is my answer if I can get it out right. Here is what Dean said
Great reflection. You make a valid point about the face to face part. It really is the best. What I wonder is do you feel the same about your other classes? In other words, was there something that occurred online or outside of class that made Wednesday’s class as good as you say?
Let me start at the beginning. How do I feel about my other classes? I would have to say that it depends on the class. I relly enjoy my math and EPS class. I like my Indigenous class but it isn’t on the same level as these other three. I detested my English class and am so happy that it is over.
What is the difference between all of these classes? Each class has its own unique ups and downs. The one thing that is common to all three of my favorite classes is Sara and Nicole. If you haven’t caught on by the amount we all refer to each other we are starting to be pretty good friends. Having someone to laugh with and rely on for help can be a huge factor to success in a class. Another common part to EPS and ECMP is the class size. ECMP there is only 18 of us (I think) and in EPS on Thursdays we split into small groups of 5-6. The smallness of these allows you to get to know the people in your class better and develop a relationship with everyone. I think it also allows for a better flow of ideas as there is not enough people to cause feelings of shyness.
What makes me dislike my other classes? For one my Indigenous class is rather large (not like EPS lectures of 130 but large enough for this country girl). English though a small class consists of a lot of being talked at in a monotone voice and very uninteresting texts. I’ve nearly fallen asleep more times than I can count.
Now what made the face to face class different? It’s not really something I can put my finger on. I think there are a number of things that contributed and of course that unidentifiable something that everyone keeps trying to understand but no one seems to be able to. For one, having food was great. It’s a fact that people learn better when they are not hungry (I mean who can concentrate on an empty stomach). Having time to visit also helped, to find out what is happening in peoples lives besides what they put on the internet. I remember one of us saying in their pecha kucha that she always found it difficult to decide what to write. I think that is a big part of what makes f2f so different. I remember a teacher who talked once about the different faces we wear in life. The face someone “wears” on their blog is very different from the person that you meet f2f.
Another important aspect is the ability to read a persons body clues. When you write on the interent you have to be careful that you do not get taken the wrong way. Like when you are texting an emotional friend you have to be careful the words you use so as not to further upset them. Body language is so important to communication. I know people who can understand a lot of what I s”ay” (I’m really shy sometimes so the people who know me well adpated) just by the I hold myself or look at them. Not having these verbal clues can make communication touchy.
Finally, that intangible something. For me, I really think that it is something that cannot be understood. Let me use a personal example to explain what I am talking about. I hardly ever see anyone from the town I lived in from grade 10- the beginning of grade 12. I talk to the girls regularly over facebook, msn and texting. Yet I still have a need to see them in person. Each meeting between all of us is ful of hugs and chatter. We know what is hapening in each others life and talk constantly yet these f2f meetings are so much better. Each one is looked forward to for ages and highly exciting. That something that makes these meetings so important is what makes f2f so great.
Now, did anyhting happen online that made this f2f particluarily good. I’d have to say all the back chat is what made it good. I feel that is wear I learned the most from my classmates not from their blogs but from the back and forth chat that we had during classes. The blogs helped me to get to know them but the chat I feel is where the real us came out. Coming into that classroom knowing the peoples personlaties (though not their faces) really helped. I felt like I knew that no matter what I would be welcomed because I already knew everyone so well and had many conversations with them.
On top of this I think the activity was interesting. It allowed us to show our own learning and display our talents. It wasn’t a lot of being talked to and ahving everyone do the same project created a sense of comradery. I also think it was important that none of us had done this kind of project before. It made it new and exciting to see how everyone else learned to work with it.
I still feel like there is a lot I don’t know about what made this class stand out for me, other than that is was new and fresh and that I knew all the people there. Maybe someday I’ll be able to put my finger on that unidentifiable nothing.