Saturday, April 3, 2010

Week 12 R685 Synchronous vs Asynchronous

Yesterday I had a very interesting, rewarding email exchange with Dr. Bonk. It started after I explained my question about tidbit project delivery date. This led to a series of emails, almost conversational in delivery over the next hour. You can see the email string above.

What I realized afterwards was the quality of the conversation was equal to if not better than if we'd been on the phone or together in an office. We've talked about asynchronous communcations allowing time to reflect before responding and that was the case here. We had a few minutes between "posting" to think about what each had said previous and to build on those ideas. It was pretty neat and the pauses let me frame my ideas and questions in ways that allowed Dr. Bonk to help.

For example, I mentioned an amazement at how Dr. Bonk could keep all the Web 2.0 pathways organized. He seemed to be able to pull up specific examples almost at will whenever a classmate had an interest. (He'd done that for me a number of times this semester.) Within a few minutes, Dr. Bonk sent me comprehensive list of web-based links to my area of interest. This list will be very useful but at that instant I realized we'd had a learning moment. I hadn't planned on learning something like this when I first emailed Dr. Bonk but the outcome of our emails was just that. I learned. I thought then that this was a bit of "constructivism" at work.

1 comment:

  1. Steve,
    You hit on what I think is the most important advantage of asynchronous learning - the time to pause and reflect a little before responding (even if it's instant messaging in "real time"). I noticed how much I appreciate this aspect when I took a f2f class last semester. I find that we tend to not only listen better in asynchronous exchanges, but we tend to do as you mentioned about building on each other's ideas. Sometimes verbal discussions become more about getting our ideas heard than collaboration and building.