Talking always feels so natural to me. I have an opinion, a question, then I speak and get responses. It is a game of table tennis, ball bouncing back and forth, until it is dropped. Talking in a virtual environment, however, is not the same when I need to press a button to talk.
First of all, the system is designed that I will not be able to see others’ threads until I post my own. So I was in a world of dumbness until I wrote something. The first assignment is easy, a self-introduction. But how long shall I write, which style I shall use? Would I write too little? Would I write too much? Would people find me interesting (based on what I write?) I had a butterfly in my stomach.
Secondly, I have to talk to each one individually and most times I don’t get instant feedback or any feedback. In a classroom, some one speaks and we all hear him/her. However in this virtual classroom, I have to click into each thread of self-introduction to read about each person. After reading ten of them, I was defeated. I really cannot remember who has two kids and who likes diving with his wife. Some of us are really nice and respond to each thread. But all of us have a daytime job and personal life to take care of (plus Facebook takes our time too), it is hard to continue to log in, click into each thread, respond and wait to see response of the response?
Thirdly, when I talk, I use short sentences. When I write, it feels more formal and inevitably, my threads are long. (but believe me, others beat me on length of threads). So after dedicate my afternoon browsing people’s threads and commenting back, I was exhausted.
This is not a blog to complain a conversation in online environment. Rather I am putting out challenges I face in trying to forge online relationship with fellow students. Difficulties I have when I would like to learn and interact with my online peers. Those I won’t be able to meet in person in near future. It is difficult but is it impossible?
Oh, the discussion board shall have ‘Like’ button, definitely!