Thursday, 11 November 2004

More on "Discussion Forum"

Triggered by Nancy White's comment to my response to her comment on my comment on E-Learning Queen's post, I was looking for the source of a piece of brilliant idea I came across years ago this whole morning - but still cannot find it.

[Side notes]If the referencing of referencing of referencing in the above sentence is too much for you, then this is result of attribution required by the CC-license. So, I am going to change the CC license of this web-site, and remove the attribution requirement![end side notes]

Any way, if the idea I am writing below belongs to you, please let me know and my apology for not properly acknowledge the origination.

Nancy asked a very good question in her comment:

But what is permanent any way? Certainly not my short term memory?

Human history/culture was passed between generations orally through stories and songs until writing was invented. Writing gave a "permanent record" of the stories although the interpretation of the stories do changed through the generation because some of the language use might have lost their original contextual meanings. Writing is also a cognitive tool for us to extend our cognitive ability - by referencing written text and hence can process more information/data. The invention of printing is another historical significant moment.
As Elizabeth Eisenstein, Marshall McLuhan, William M. Ivins, J. David Bolter, and other students of the history of the cultural effects of print technology have shown, Gutenberg's invention produced what we today understand as scholarship and criticism in the humanities
- from

At the same time, speech, or oral communication remains to play a significant role in our daily activities. Because once a statement is spoken, the subsequent interpretation (or the exact wording of that statement) is subject to negotiation. (How many times we have engaged in argument about whether the other party has said this or that?) This "time" factor plays an important role for our daily interaction.

Computer-based communication broke this "fuzziness" and provide a permanent record of the discussion, to the exact spelling of how each word was spelt. Again, this can be both good and bad, pedagogically. A record of our previous conversation enables us to get back to the previous statement and ponder more deeply than would be possible in an oral environment. However, as I have noted in my comment to comment... that this may also back flip to attack us. Political leaders are frequently quoted during interview from what they have said long times ago. This is a typical "attack" which is unseen before all these recording abilities. Discussion forum has this characteristics and some learners may be reluctant to response because of this. (this is what I referred to as "intimidation" by the media).

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