Constructive Discussion Returns to the Forums

Hooray, the forums are back! Spurred by a controversy over student use of a “free speech” section of wall on campus, a number of students have succeeded in having a lengthy, mutually respectful conversation in our online forums. Okay, I exaggerate the dominance of silly chatter in our online conversation space, but it has been a pleasure to see the forums being used as they were originally intended. One takeaway lesson is how it only takes a few online leaders, those who have developed a reputation for “fair play” and thoughtful commentary on the forums, to set the tone for the rest of the participants. The same can be said for silly online chatter. When a few respected voices promote gratuitous online play, the rest happily participate. My goal is to maintain separate, safe spaces for students to engage in both kinds of online interaction.

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