What encourages or inhibits you from participating in online discusion forums?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Leanne, Jun 3, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Leanne

    Leanne Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 3, 2012

    I am completing my Masters in Education and I am researching the motivators and inhibitors for teacher participation in online discussion forums such as A to Z Teacher Stuff. I would really appreciate any feedback on what encourages/enables you to post to the forum and what inhibits or provides a barrier to online participation?

    Thanks!
     
  2.  
  3. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Messages:
    3,245
    Likes Received:
    100

    Jun 3, 2012

  4. Leanne

    Leanne Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 4, 2012

    Thoughts so far...

    A study completed by Hew and Hara (2007) sums up much of what I have read on the topic:

    MOTIVATORS

    Collectivism (belief in spreading ideas to help others)
    Reciprocity (teachers had received help in the past therefore wanted to offer help in return)
    Personal Gain (gain a better understanding of the subject, gain a better professional reputation, or gain emotional support)
    Altruism (empathy with the struggles of other teachers)
    Technology (contributes to greater sense of anonymity, therefore more open in sharing their knowledge)
    Respectful Environment (to reduce the chance of being attacked for their views)
    Interest of the Seeker to Learn (can encourage people to respond and share their knowledge)

    BARRIERS
    Lack of knowledge (feeling that they have nothing more to contribute or being unfamiliar with the subject being discussed)
    Lack of time
    Technology (fear that their ideas/opinions may be misconstrued because of a lack cues (e.g. verbal and visual))
    Not wanting to cause a fight (fear that their opinion may annoy or anger some people)
    Negative attitude of the seeker (not wanting to respond to people who are being very negative - more likely to respond to someone who seemed like they really wanted to seek knowledge).

    Source: Hew, K.F. & Hara, N. (2007). Empirical study of motivators and barriers of teacher online knowledge sharing. Educational Technology Research and Development, 55(6), 573-595.

    Time is the big barrier which comes up time and time again in the research and I have to agree that it would be a major problem for me normally (when I'm teaching - I am on leave at the moment so focusing on my research). This study, however, focused on mailing lists rather than discussion forums and only interviewed literacy teachers, so the findings may be different among different groups of teachers.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jun 4, 2012

    Hi and welcome. I'm curious as to why you're asking.

    I'm also kind of active in the Disboards, particularly when I have a Disney trip coming up. In between trips, there's not really a reason to participate there-- I don't have the types of relationships I have with the people here.

    Beyond that, life's too busy. I'm here in the mornings and evenings. The rest of my life I spend either as a mom, a wife, or a teacher.

    This site is actually great as far as keeping abreast in my profession. Aside from the social aspects, I've learned so much about what goes on in other classrooms and other places. When an education topic comes up in the facultry room or with a chat with the principal or president, I actually know what I'm talking about on topics I've never personally experienced.

    But even I have my limits as far as the amount of time I spend online. There's a whole world of flesh and blood people out there. (Gratned, at 5:40 am, most of the ones I know are still asleep, hence my presence here now.)
     
  6. Leanne

    Leanne Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 4, 2012

    Thanks for your feedback. As I mentioned, I am asking because I have decided to look into this for my final research task as part of my masters. I have been interested in teacher collaboration for some time and decided to look at teacher professional practice, especially in the online context. I have received help from teachers both in person and online throughout my teaching career.

    I've noted that there are quite a few options for online collaboration in America and in the UK, but not in Australia (where I am from) so I became interested in whether there might be certain factors inhibiting Australians from participating. There have been some sites in Australia, but they all eventually close down.

    I think online collaboration has a lot of potential (if the time factor can be overcome), so I guess this is why I want to know why it seems not to work in Australia. I'll admit I don't spend a lot of time using discussion boards, but it's nice to know they're there if you need it.
     
  7. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    1,625
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 4, 2012

    I think time would be the only factor for my limited posts.

    I think for your research if you are asking people that are already subscribed it may be bias? Or are you questioning others in "real life"
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,717
    Likes Received:
    1,758

    Jun 4, 2012

    Sometimes I do hold back from complaining about any problems at my school (which are blessedly minimal) because my anonymity has been compromised. People know where I teach. This was my own choice because I wanted to let job seekers know about career openings.
     
  9. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,943
    Likes Received:
    175

    Jun 4, 2012

    I like this teacher community. We have fun, tweak each other on perhaps long established ideas about teaching and dealing with kids.
    We share here. Nothing inhibits me from online discussions.

    I imagine that some are inhibited because they are 1. scared to look
    foolish 2. afraid of confrontation (even in cyberspace) 3. so good at teaching they need no extra info 4. busy living in the real world (unlike some of us;) )
     
  10. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    9,154
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 4, 2012

    There is a fitness forum I'm participating in but I hold back quite often because while I can be an open book with friends, I am aware that my private life is online and my professional life can be affected--at least by perception if nothing else. So some topics I won't even post something mild in it due to the overall nature of the thread.
     
  11. Ranchwife

    Ranchwife Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Messages:
    225
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 4, 2012

    I often don't post/reply because most of the time I'm ignored. It seems that there is the "in crowd" who answers everything and it seems are the experts in everything. Second, many of the posts are from new, elementary teachers and I have no knowledge in that area. Third, so many of the posts are repeats and it is boring posting the same reply all the time.
     
  12. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,943
    Likes Received:
    175

    Jun 4, 2012

    That must be in the middle school forum cause I see none of that exclusionary stuff in the general forum. Here is an idea ranch lady, post something off the wall or provocative and you will get some hits.
    Works for me.:dizzy:
     
  13. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,163
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jun 4, 2012

    You started a real winner with that "punch them" thread :lol:
     
  14. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2010
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 4, 2012

    i come here mostly to learn. i have picked up so much information that I have used myself and passed on to colleagues. Although I read almost daily, I don't post often because I usually see my perspective represented in another post. When I have posted a new thread, the members have always given me thoughtful insight which I have found helpful.
     
  15. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,841
    Likes Received:
    52

    Jun 4, 2012

    I post on a good amount of forums- AtoZ, travel forums, relationship forums, expat forums, dog forums, broken leg forum, etc. The forums I frequent are forums where I'm not immediately attacked for making a newbie mistake. For example, in a travel forum I was criticized for not specifying what "backpacker" meant. And then instead of answering my question everyone who posted posted about how my original question was bad. Sheesh!

    I like a forum with a good amount of activity, but not an overwhelming amount. The dog forum I go to has so many members and so many new threads it's impossible to keep up.

    I don't mind there being an "in crowd" like ranchwife states, but I don't like when older members are snappy and harsh with answers. My expat forum, for example, is full of a whole bunch of curmudgeons, who happen to know a lot about what I need to know. So I only visit when I need a question answered.

    The type of forum I go on a lot is where I "know" the members, there's a good amount of honesty but without the snarkiness (is that a word?), and a general "welcome-ness" to new members. Even those who ask stupid questions that have been asked 1000 times.

    Oh and usability is really important too. I tried to join a hula hoop forum and couldn't figure out how to make a post! That was the last time I ever visited that website!
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,601
    Likes Received:
    2,711

    Jun 4, 2012

    I post fairly frequently. There are a few times when I won't post though...

    1. Sometimes there is a poster that I don't want to deal with. There are a few times when a discussion seems interesting but I avoid it because I don't want to be attacked in the thread for my opposing viewpoint. Sometimes there are posters who have in the past bombarded me with rude PMs, and I'd just prefer to avoid interacting with those people.

    2. Sometimes I don't feel qualified to offer advice. This is especially true in posts that are very specific to elementary and preschool situations.

    3. Sometimes I haven't quite formed my own opinion, so I avoid or delay posting until I have a better sense about what I want to say. I have experienced a change/evolution of opinion more than once on topics here at A to Z, which is probably evident if you go back and read my old posts. At times I was very adamant about a particular thing, but eventually my opinion changed for one reason or another.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,601
    Likes Received:
    2,711

    Jun 4, 2012

    Oh, and it has recently come to my attention via PM that many people here consider me to be "demeaning, harsh, and unhelpful". Those sorts of comments have definitely caused me to back off from posting things I've wanted to post. If I'm not valued here, I won't share my opinions as much as I would like.
     
  18. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 4, 2012

    One reason I won't post is because I agree with what has already been posted and I don't have more to add. Another reason is often, I feel I don't have enough experience to contribute with the more experienced members.
     
  19. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,943
    Likes Received:
    175

    Jun 4, 2012

    I think they are just put off by the name Caesar. Like in Hail Caesar.
    I wouldnt let anything someone told someone bother me if i was you.
    Everyone knows teachers can be really.............sometimes.
    btw I value your opinions and Im sure the majority(if silent) do, too.
     
  20. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Messages:
    1,161
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 4, 2012

    I am on AtoZ pretty much everyday, a couple of times a day, but I don't post very often anymore.

    When I do its usually because I am very interested in the topic, or feel strongly about it. I joined the forum to collaborate, and learn for other teachers. I have used so many things from this community of educators in my classroom, and I cannot imagine not having being part of it.

    Times when I choose not to post is usually because someone else already made the point I would've made, I feel too strongly on the topic and want to avoid fighting, or I don't have enough knowledge in that particular area. There are a few members here who many times say exactly what I was thinking and they say better than I would. :D In the past, I have found myself arguing with a complete stranger on my computer, and I couldn't believe I was actually doing that. I'm not afraid of confrontation, but I think online people will rarely ever admit they were wrong.
     
  21. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Messages:
    1,161
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 4, 2012

    Caesar, I've never found you to be any of those things. :)
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,601
    Likes Received:
    2,711

    Jun 4, 2012

    Thanks, yo. I didn't post that to get lots of love (although I appreciate it). I was just giving another reason that I might avoid posting on here. :)
     
  23. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,231
    Likes Received:
    66

    Jun 4, 2012

    I've never found you to be that way either Caesar.

    Personally, what inhibits my sharing on a forum is self-righteous know-it-all types.
     
  24. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,943
    Likes Received:
    175

    Jun 4, 2012

    Those are the most fun to mess with. But to be fair there are some teachers here that seem to know it all. At least they have seen it all.
    Here is an axiom I try to live by. Don't take anything personal here.
    They do not know you and many times words get lost in translation without hearing them or seeing them spoken.:2cents:
     
  25. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Messages:
    899
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 4, 2012

    As a pre-service teacher, I post because this is a great place to learn about teaching. I can learn from experienced teachers without feeling weird about asking a million questions or feeling "dumb" for not knowing something. I can discuss education news with people who care about that kind of thing. I can meet people from around the world who are experiencing different versions of the same profession/system.
     
  26. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 4, 2012

    I agree with this. I always find your perspective thought out and very helpful :)
     
  27. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,489
    Likes Received:
    2

    Jun 4, 2012

    I'll agree with...
    1. Someone's already shared the same opinion/thoughts that I have, and my contribution will not add to the conversation (I'm looking at you, mopar... I swear you're just reading my mind most of the time!)
    2. I'm not qualified to answer or contribute to the discussion.
    3. It does feel like there is an "in-crowd" sometimes, and that my posts are ignored.
    4. Threads get heated. Even if I feel like I have something to contribute, I don't feel like being attacked for it, so I keep my mouth (fingers?) shut.
    5. I've found lots of good advice, interesting lesson ideas, and compassionate people to talk to about work and life in general on here.

    Others:
    1. Sometimes threads take off in a weird direction, and bringing it round to the original point is often ignored.
    2. I try to employ a certain amount of anonymity, and posting too much information about my school/an incident at school would "expose" me, so to speak.
     
  28. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    Messages:
    2,030
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jun 4, 2012

    I post on discussions if I feel the topic is either:
    1. interesting
    2. entertaining
    3. I have a strong opinion in regards to it

    I don't usually post if it...., well if it doesn't qualify as one of those. And that basically goes for any discussion site.
     
  29. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 4, 2012

    Caesar-I wish I could say it surprises me someone would be that mean, but unfortunately it doesn't. I think you are one of the most helpful people on this board, I hope it doesn't make you stop posting. :)

    I haven't felt the in-crowd thing either, but there have been times I've posted something and not gotten a response. It does feel a little like when you say something at the dinner table and someone just changes the conversation, but I certainly wouldn't take it personally. Sometimes people don't have experiences with the same issues.

    I like the comraderie here. Many people have had similar experiences and even if they can't give advice they can still tell you to hang in there.
     
  30. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Comrade

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    Messages:
    251
    Likes Received:
    77

    Jun 4, 2012

    I don't post very often because I feel that my comments would not be beneficial to the conversation because I don't have much experience yet in this field. I sit back and read.... tons of reading. But I've learned a lot from just reading, and eventually I'll gain the experience to start jumping in more often.
     
  31. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    11

    Jun 4, 2012

    I don't post often either. Sometimes I feel that I have nothing additional to add to a conversation/discussion outside of what has been said. I do like learning from others and learning about what education is like in other places.
     
  32. Math

    Math Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Messages:
    594
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jun 4, 2012

    I don't post often since I am just a high school student. When I first joined I created threads more frequently (Questions about the profession). I just read different threads every chance I get. I even favorite some that I believe will be beneficial to me in the future. :)
     
  33. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,487
    Likes Received:
    66

    Jun 4, 2012

    I agree.
    I am one of the most disliked members here. My comments are always well thought-out, yet I'm often met with derision. And it hasn't stopped me from commenting. I will say, as far as A to Z goes, I come here more to express opinions than to learn anything. Which is not to say that I have nothing to learn. Nor is it to say that no one here has anything worth listening to. But I feel that this place has a level of... political correctness (for lack of a better word) that inhibits real discussion, particularly when it comes to macro aspects in education. In other words... you want to know how to set up a bulletin board, or teach the Daily 5? This is your place. If you want to discuss current issues in education, I would not suggest A to Z... and I believe that is because people (especially some of the most senior members) refuse critical discourse.

    So to answer the question: I participate here because I want to inform. I seem to take a contrarian PoV because I think it's important to do so (it might not otherwise be stated) for argument's sake. I think the biggest factor that might inhibit my participation is lifting the veil of anonymity. I stand by anything I've ever said... I'm just not interested in commiting those comments to me (my name) for the world to see.
     
  34. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    9,154
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 4, 2012

    Some forums (I'm being general because the OP was general), I don't post as often because of whatever vibe is given off. I don't care to hide behind the anonymity of the Internet as an excuse to be openly and blatantly rude. Thus there are forums I gravitate more towards than others. I will sometimes read some of those because they do offer information I'm looking for but I don't care to be a member of the community and post my thoughts. Some forums I can just pick and choose because there is at least some balance but on some forums it really seems like the boxing gloves purposely come out for every little thing.

    Having a discussion is one thing. Name calling and just losing trying to find the pithiest come back without regard to the person it attacks, is not for me.
     
  35. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jun 4, 2012

    These are adults?? Not teenagers masquerading as adults?

    Calling you names privately, so no one will see how badly they're behaving??

    "Demeaning, harsh and unhelpful"??? YOU????

    I can understand why it was said via PM-- it's so very much easier to be a brave little bully when your comments don't have to stand the light of day.

    As to the rest, I seldom take note of whose posts I'm responding to. It's what's in the post I respond to-- it's not as though I'll ignore a post if the poster isn't one of my good friends here. If it has ever appearted otherwise, my apologies.
     
  36. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,956
    Likes Received:
    2,116

    Jun 4, 2012

    :(

    A few have said they feel ignored...I sometimes don't read through entire several page threads...I'll just respond to a post that inspires an idea or strikes a chord...it's not a matter of ignoring, especially in looong threads.
     
  37. Leanne

    Leanne Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 4, 2012

    I think for your research if you are asking people that are already subscribed it may be bias? Or are you questioning others in "real life"[/QUOTE]

    I plan to interview both people who are members of educational discussion forums and those who are not members. Issue of bias is a big issue.
     
  38. Leanne

    Leanne Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 4, 2012

    Wow! Thanks everyone for your help. I was intrigued by many of the responses. It seems that many of your answers were in support of Hew and Hara's findings (although their research focused on mailing lists rather than discussion forums). Barriers which people have raised include lack of time, lack of knowledge (or having nothing new to add) and technology (especially fear that ideas/opinions may be misconstrued). Motivators mentioned included personal gain, collectivism, and altruism (empathy with struggles of others).

    I was worried that people had used A to Z Teacher Stuff as an example in their responses (I didn't want to cause trouble), but when stephenpe mentioned that this particular forum is 'fun', I was reminded about another paper I read which commented on effective forums. I don't know who the author was but they basically argued that building a sense of community and using humour was essential, which it seems that this forum does.

    Other interesting points raised by people included lurking which has been mentioned in the research as a crucial stage of joining and eventually contributing to a forum. The other issue that seemed to be raised in many of the posts which I hadn't considered too much was the controversy and heat that may arise in a discussion forum. It certainly gives me something to think about further.

    I really appreciate everyone's feedback. It has helped give all the research a human element and confirmed some of the findings I have already read about. Thank you!
     
  39. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    3,321
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jun 5, 2012

    I like this forum very much, but I feel that most of you are elementary teachers and I'm not. I taught middle school for many years - loved the kids, hated the administrative nonsense - and now teach college writing and hands-on science. I used to post a lot but have backed off in the past couple of years because my methods and philosophies seem almost alien compared to many of you. There's a huge difference between elementary and secondary education, and the differences are most noticeable when there's a meeting of the minds but not of the methods. I admire everyone here, and especially love those of you who aren't afraid to debate. However, I have to admit that if you are seeking a diverse, tech-minded, snarky batch of educators ranging from K to university, the place to go is Twitter, and the Tuesday hashtagged #edchat. I see some of you over there, and holy cow, isn't it fierce? I love that. Many times, the same topics are being discussed here that are being discussed on the #edchat, and this forum is full of people who agree a lot, which is lovely but not as much fun. :) I admire elementary teachers more than you will ever understand, as the thought of being pooed on by a child who isn't my own is so repellent to me that I am shivering just typing it out. I also believe that teaching a child to read and love reading is the most important thing a teacher can do. Once that's accomplished, we should step back and let the kid soar. And now I shall shut up.
    P.S. Thank you all for putting up with me all these years. I know some of you think I'm a curmudgeon, but I'm not. I just believe in actions and consequences, and the sooner we learn about them, the better.
     
  40. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Messages:
    3,245
    Likes Received:
    100

    Jun 5, 2012

    Nice to see you, Jane!! I think we have more upper grade teachers than we did a few years ago.

    It is interesting to see how the dynamic has changed over the years as we have new people coming in and others going out.
     
  41. KateL

    KateL Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    810
    Likes Received:
    2

    Jun 5, 2012

    I wish there were more science teachers on this forum. It seems like there are only 2-3 of us, while there are a zillion math teachers.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 333 (members: 1, guests: 257, robots: 75)
test