“Why should I publish my photo and write about my interests? It’s childish.”
“The biggest disadvantage of e-learning is the lack of direct personal contact with participants.”
The first statement was expressed by one of the previous course participants. It is not a typical opinion. The second one is more typical. We have heard it many times when we asked for an opinion on e-learning. These two statements, seemingly unconnected, are in fact at the two extremes of the same spectrum. One expresses longing for a living person on the other end of a fibre-optic cable, the other objects to revealing any personal information.
What is our stand on this? We will reply by asking you to conduct a small experiment, a visualisation: try to imagine that you are teaching a class where all the participants are separated by screens. You know their names but you don’t know what they look like and their voices are partially muted. Do you feel comfortable?
An e-learning course is not a place where you start intimate relationships. Many topics are inappropriate. However, too much caution will lead to a situation in which the participants are nothing more than names to each other, as it often happens on open forums. They will not form any ties or feel that they belong to a group. This spells the end for activities which are based on discussion and exchange of opinion.
Don’t be afraid to say something about yourself that is beyond the obvious, attach your photo, refer to your personal experience during a discussion, give your post on the forum a more individual, even a bit informal touch, just as we are doing in this text.