Reach to Share

Sharing is Caring

Sharing our thoughts online whether by text, audio, or video takes courage. Sharing our ideas online is not as easy for many. Some of us have to go beyond our comfort zones in order to share. 

Value of Online Discussions

Most fully online and blended learning courses focus heavily on online discussions. Online discussions allow the learners and teachers to learn from each other as they reflect on the content. The benefits of online discussions are huge. They promote critical thinking (Debela and Fang, 2007), lifelong learning, and sustain the content for longer periods of time.   

Practice Makes Perfect

I have been collaborating and responding to discussions forums posts since 1987. I still remember the first time I wrote my thoughts online publicly. I was scared and very unsure of myself. I thought my ideas would be of no interest. My confidence grew as I continued blogging and adding my input in online platforms. 

Reach to Learn

I created Reach to Share community of learners to encourage people to connect for learning.  The platform will hopefully provide its members with a safe environment to teach as a way to learn. Members can keep the information private or share it with their friends in the community, or with the public. 

Join the Community

‚ÄčYou're invited to start blogging, add pages, create groups, make friends, and start sharing your ideas and thoughts on information you encounter online or face-to-face, so we can learn from one another. 

Remember, you can always edit and delete your input. 

You can join the community using Twitter or by filling in this google form

Debela, N., & Fang, B. (2007). Using Discussions to Promote Critical Thinking in an Online Environment. Retrieve from$/sci/pdfs/e183sl.pdf

    • Olga Morokhova
      Olga Morokhova

      Dear Dr. Nellie, thank you for starting this intriguing topic. This feeling is quite familiar) And what is the difference of using online communication between teachers and our students? Maybe generation Z do not have this barrier of using online communication? For adults it is more of an emotional barrier. And for generation Z the difficulty is in using written communication and formulating their thoughts.

      • Dr. Nellie Deutsch
        Dr. Nellie Deutsch

        I call it selective laziness. I'm finding that my colleagues and students are only comfortable with what What's Up has to offer and that is images, videos, and short text. They get uncomfortable when they have to create and share docs using Google docs (drive), dropbox, or any other on the cloud technologies. 

        Personally, I think it's an excuse not to get the job done. My grade 5 teacher said no one was lazy. They just preferred to do something else. I think my colleagues and students feel overloaded by work. Don't expect them to do anything that requires "work". By work, I mean producing content. 

        • John Davey
          John Davey

          I think activities that help individuals establish relevance can be useful. Activity that helps with motivation can work too. I imagine the considerations that arise could be, Well what's relevant, or what's going to motivate me? Maybe I don't see that in the lesson or lessons. Conversations are an important part of that discovery. 

          Also awareness, and desire should come before knowledge. Where does the aha! moment come in learning? Hertzberg and Maslow's concepts can give rise to understanding why someone may not be engaged or motivated to take action, or do what needs to be done. I like the analogy that compares Hertzberg to getting a person and space vehicle into space.

          First you need to get everything prepared and ready before you put the vehicle on the launch pad. With that done then the space trip can be launched. Both aspects are important. If things aren't right before the getting on the launch pad then the rest may be unsuccessful. In Hertzberg's theory those aspects that will get in the way of motivation need to be minimised (or eliminated).  What is it that is getting in the way of the learners learning or action. If those aspects are significant in their opposition to motivation then the best course, lesson or learning program is not likely to overcome that.

          I'll assume that's why those activities that Dr. Nellie has us undertaking at the front end of the course, or at the front of lesson, or activity are so important. They can help us to identify what we don't know, what we do know, and what we're good at. In learning it might be going from the known to the unknown, something in the flipped side before the learning environment (room or session) is engaged fully. 

          The four step competency model is also good to reflect on.

          • Don't know you don't know
          • Know you don't know
          • Know you know
          • Don't know you know. (autopilot or cruise mode). 

          People may need to move from don't know you know (autopilot) to know you don't know.

          I regularly use my "Red Line Model" as an up front activities that helps people discover aspects of this.I ask people to stand up and imagine a red line across the room, or space. Then I ask them to imagine at one end of the line are the qualified or those with experience. At the other end of the line, and in between, are people new or revisiting knowledge, experience and qualification. This activity can relate to a course, lesson, or activity.This can be done on line or face to face.  The Red Line model is surely adaptive! 

          Now I ask people to put put themselves on the line where they think they are. I add that multiple people on the same spot is ok too. Then I randomly ask people why they put themselves at that point on the line. I always start with someone at the experienced/qualified end then move around a bit. I don't ask everyone although in a small group I might

          So right at the front end people are out of their chair, comfort zone, maybe not next to the person they paired up if they did that. It's an opportunity for a conversation, for people to listen, to reflect, and to talk after reflecting. Importantly people can be learning.

          In this there can be learning for participants/students and the facilitator. or teacher Facilitators can learn from reflecting on the above models. It is not written that facilitators and teachers should be on autopilot, or have the answers as to what will motivate students. 

          The late George Rowbottom would often say, "People are more likely to implement that which they helped to create!"



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