I liked some of the postings on Social Media Presence. What I believe is as follows:
Most of the online learners prefer to have social presence in online learning experience. Social presence develops strength and relationships among learners and between the facilitator and learners. Online learning experience acquires depth, richness and stability through social presence and so it becomes more interactive and collaborative. It helps develop online communities and other supportive social structures. This, in turn, enhances learning productivity and makes it more meaningful because it also adds value to learners’ experiences by linking individuals to one another and improving access to supportive resources. The resources might be academic, for instance, content expertise or analytical tools. They also might be affective, in a sense, getting help from mentors and more experienced e-mates. Or, they might be technical like using technology as a productive tool.
I always prefer to connect with learners through social media via Facebook, Twitter or even Linked-in; or create online learning groups to make my online learning and teaching more interactive and productive.
I also liked one comment on discussion forum on Discussion whether discussion participation is to be marked or not.
It is a significant question being asked in the field of online education worldwide whether students should be graded for their participation in online discussion forums or not. As such, it depends on the intake of the learners in that particular course, the learning outcomes of the course and also on the online facilitator’s teaching philosophy.
If the learners are ‘surface learners’ rather than being deep absorbents and only do the minimum work necessary to get a pass grade, then some form of grading of their online participation might may be essential.
If the main motto of the course is to teach participants online participation or collaborative learning skills, then again there may be a justification for grading participation.
However, as a general practice, it is good not to grade students directly on their online discussion contributions. Grading might divert the nature of the discussion, that is to say, participants will begin posting long comments to gain marks rather than engaging in discussion. Students learn in different ways: some by playing hide and seek, some other by reading some or all of the comments, rather than actively posting their own comments, few others by posting.
The discussion forums are a means to an end than an end in them, the end being better learning in interactive and collaborative way.