Forum Discussions

Alda Farlow and Dathalinn O'Dea led a session springing from Blackboard-based forum discussion and into a Harkness Table discussion. The subtleties of Harness Table teaching were the focus, but you and I are both here for hypertext and maybe educational technology, so on with that.

The use of the forum was a bit more than an augmentation of the "read and come to class with questions about what you read." The online forum is asynchronous and public, which means that the discussion could get going well before the class met, which made for a richer discussion. Also, everyone's posts are timestamped, which is a handy nuance. If they want, teachers can spot students who aren't participating, or always doing last-minute work, or even get a hint that they're working together (not a bad thing).

A sidenote of this presentation was the set of student-generated notes about the Harkness model. The reflections say a lot about the students' sense of agency in their own education, and I wonder whether their cool technology helped empower them, or whether it's the Harkness model, or whether it's just their really good teachers and school.