01.10.2012, 13:09 ::
Hi Nicky,Thanks for the recap here and showcasing these ealepxms. I’d just like to add a few points about this challenging skill. I’m not sure that all forums need to be summarized, I think you need to strike a happy medium – you can also overkill with summaries and then course members wait for the tutor’s summary rather than read each other as the conversation is unfolding. I guess it depends on how many forums there and how often a forum task is offered. Balance is key!It’s great to read your list of “whys” Nicky and I agree totally that there are many reasons that make summarizing a really “good thing” as you say it indicates that a discussion can be wrapped up which to a helps focus and move forward. However, I would also argue that sometimes it is important to summarize to help the discussion along, not to to close it all but simply to tidy it up, make it more manageable for any new contributors who haven’t posted yet or to continue the “debate”. This type of summary actually draws peripheral participants in work wonders . Personally, I’ve found the best way to do that is to summarize the salient points and then actually address the non-participants directly to ask them to confirm their views. I’m not just talking about teacher trainees here, also speaking from my experience of wiki forums for university students.Timing is important with summaries. At the beginning of courses I’m quite “strict” and share a summary within 24 hours of a task deadline . This helps sets the pace and show late contributors that they’ve missed out without any finger pointing being necessary! The message is quite clear. As a course moves on though, I have to say that I find flexibility becomes essential. Online learning or training is often chosen because it fits in with a busy life style so being too rigid with the deadlines and drawing conversations to a close might limit the depth of exchanges. It’s a tricky one and rules, I’d say, need to be group-specific.On this topic of timing and non-participation, an idea I’ve been experimenting with is to share the summary in private with any individuals that haven’t yet contributed.So far students and trainee feedback confirm that this:•allows for win-win rescheduling of a missed deadline•reduces the reading for the non- or late participant which in itself helps them get back on track•shows the tutor cares and appreciates the “missing” contribution•adds group cohesion to the dialogue (this is what your course colleagues are saying, can you add your views?)•shares the concept of summarising as a team and merges the participant/tutor roles and ideas further•sets the scene for peer-created summaries.Have any of you tried this? Do you think it helps?Oh and by the way, given all the colour and formats available for weaving, I’d say quite into summary tapestry! I think the enjoyment comes at seeing such diversity of forum contributions represented in as varied a way as the views the final collation represents. Making sure there’s something for everyone while making sure everyone has been part of the flow of exchanges is what makes it a great part of a great job ?Ooops sorry if this is a bit too long for a comment on a post on summaries but I spend a lot of my time doing and thinking about this skill!Valentina