[Oz-teachers] Fwd: The weaknesses of email discussion lists
mm.lloyd at qut.edu.au
Sun Nov 29 06:47:40 EST 2009
Oops - incomplete message sent due to the intervention of my new
boisterous dog! The failure of email lists is proven - contributions
from the iPhone while walking the dog are bound to lack academic
rigour and profound thought! Hmmm.
I was about to say - I think such academic lists don't work because
people join them to learn rather than give. They are in there to gain
rather than share expertise. This is genuine enough but means that
little of what is initiated can be sustained. I am on all sorts of
such lists through my academic work - they start with a flurry of
introductions, often following a conference or other meeting. And then
they just go quiet. Very quiet.
Anyway, we have to walk home now!!!
Learning and Teaching Developer, TALSS
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education
Phone +61 7 3138 0586 or 3326
On 29/11/2009, at 6:29, "Margaret Lloyd" <mm.lloyd at qut.edu.au> wrote:
> Hello all
> I think the archives of this list would make an interesting Data
> source for such a study.
> Whenever I think this list is winding down in some kind of curious
> life cycle, it kicks off again.
> Perhaps people are somewhat guarded in their remarks - the supposed
> weakness of such lists - but I think this is where the descriptor of
> "professional" becomes important. In such conversations, you rarely
> are able to speak every thought you have and to do so is not
> particularly helpful. We have had some pretty lively and forceful
> expressions over the years despite the veneer of professional
> I will contact the researchers from Indiana directly and politely and
> professionally tell them that they are wrong. The instances cited
> though are discipline specific academic lists which really don't work
> - probably
> Marg Lloyd
> Margaret Lloyd
> Learning and Teaching Developer, TALSS
> Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education
> Phone +61 7 3138 0586 or 3326
> Mobile 0432758661
> On 29/11/2009, at 3:55, "stephen at melbpc.org.au"
> <stephen at melbpc.org.au> wrote:
>> Hi Richard and all,
>> Interesting research regarding mailing lists. Thanks Richard. Might
>> one note that numbers of significant and successful mail lists exist
>> here in Australia. Some 'provide tools to allow contributors to share
>> partially completed resources, and enable others to improve upon
>> In several instances these Au lists are *essential* professional
>> Am sure that I or others would be happy to assist you in list
>>> Date: Fri, 27 Nov 2009 10:49:23 -0800
>>> From: Richard Hake <rrhake at EARTHLINK.NET> (snip)
>>> Subject: Re: The weaknesses of email discussion lists
>> Some might be interested in a recent post "Re: The weaknesses of
>> discussion lists" [Hake (2009)].. To access the complete post, (below
>> please click on <http://tinyurl.com/yz4ao3x>
>> Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
>> Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands.
>> <rrhake at earthlink.net>
>> ABSTRACT: In response to my previous post "Re: The value of
>> discussion lists" a subscriber wrote to me privately, complaining
>> that his discussion list was "dead as a doornail . . . having
>> everything to do with its being 'open' -- in effect anyone who posts
>> to the list doesn't really know who is being addressed or who gets
>> copies of the postings. . .[so that] . . . the issues discussed are
>> unlikely to be settled on their own merits. . . [but are]. . .
>> instead subject to unpredictable interventions and manipulations of
>> every imaginable sort." Here I (a) point to two high-traffic lists,
>> POD and Phys-L, as counter examples where at least a few of the
>> issues discussed appear to be settled on their own merits, and (b)
>> enumerate what I consider to be some weaknesses of email discussion
>> lists as given in my listing of "Over Two-Hundred Education &
>> Science Blogs."
>> In response to my post "Re: The value of email discussion lists"
>> [Hake (2009a), a subscriber "S" wrote to me privately, making points
>> S1 & S2 below, to which I respond at H1 & H2.
>> S1. "In some tension with your posting, it seems clear to me and has
>> for some time that this list is as dead as a doornail. The basic
>> reason for this is that the xxx-L scholars don't use it."
>> H1. According to the xxx-L archives there were less than 5 posts on
>> that list during the month of October 2009. Similar listlessness is
>> the rule in most of the AERA discussion lists. For example only 4
>> posts appear on the October 2009 archives of AERA-C (Learning &
>> Instruction) at <http://tinyurl.com/yklys7e>. For a discussion of
>> the inactivity on AERA lists see "Why Aren't AERA Discussion Lists
>> More Active?" [Hake (2005a)].
>> S2. "Why has it been left in this way? I think this has everything to
>> do with its being 'open'--in effect anyone who posts to the list
>> doesn't really know who is being addressed or who gets copies of the
>> postings. In consequence, I tend to think, the issues discussed are
>> unlikely to be settled on their own merits. They are instead subject
>> to unpredictable interventions and manipulations of every imaginable
>> H2. But there *are* "open" discussion lists which are *lively* as
>> judged by the number of posts per month, and on which at least a few
>> issues appear to be settled on their own merits. For example, among
>> the Academic Discussion Lists given in "Over Sixty Academic
>> Discussion Lists: List Addresses and URL's for Archives & Search
>> Engines" [Hake (2007)] consider:
>> a. Phys-L (Physics Education) where over 190 posts appear on the
>> OPEN! October 2009 archives at <http://tinyurl.com/yc9jv3h>;
>> b. POD (Professional & Organization Development Network in Higher
>> Education) where over 360 posts appear on the OPEN! October 2009
>> archives at <http://tinyurl.com/yzud3rx>.
>> Nevertheless, in my opinion, discussion lists, despite their value
>> [Hake (2009a)], generally fall far short of their potential to assist
>> and enlighten their subscribers. In "Over Two-Hundred Education &
>> Science Blogs" [Hake (2009b)], I listed some weaknesses of Academic
>> Discussion Lists (ADL's) as follows [bracketed by lines "HHHHH. . . .
>> "; see that post for references other than Hake (2005a,b,c; 2007),
>> MacIsaac (2000), and Roschelle and Pea (1999) ]
>> 1. LITTLE COLLABORATIVE DEVELOPMENT OF IDEAS
>> In the ADDENDUM to "Over Sixty Academic Discussion Lists. . ." [Hake
>> (2007)], I wrote (slightly edited): "In my opinion, many Academic
>> Discussion Lists fail [paraphrasing Roschelle and Pea (1999)] 'to
>> move beyond forums for exchanging insular tidbits and opinions, to
>> structures which rapidly capture knowledge-value and foster rapid
>> accumulation and growth of the community's capability . . . providing
>> tools to allow contributors to share partially completed resources,
>> and enable others to improve upon them.' "
>> 2. SOME LIST OWNERS:
>> (a) Utilize antediluvian software that does not provide useful
>> archives and/or search engines.
>> (b) Regard cross-posting as sinful rather than synergistic, evidently
>> wishing their lists to remain inbred and isolated [see, e.g.:
>> "Cross-Posting - Synergistic or Sinful?" [Hake (2005b)].
>> (c) Do not recognize the "fair use" provision of U.S. copyright law
>> as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law, Title 17,
>> according to which copyrighted material (including discussion-list
>> posts) can be distributed, if it's done so without profit, to those
>> who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included
>> information for research and educational purposes. For more
>> information see at <http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml>.
>> (d) Close the archives of their lists to non-subscribers, thus
>> impeding the flow of information from their lists to the web and
>> hence to the outer world - see the lower part of Fig. 1. . . . .[[on
>> page 32 of Hake (2009b)]]. . . . Such blockage is sometimes justified
>> on grounds that it prevents harvesting of email addresses by SPAMers,
>> but for lists running on LISTSERV software, SPAM'ers can be prevented
>> from harvesting email addresses by the simple strategy of requiring
>> log-in by list subscribers before addresses are made visible.
>> 3. SOME SUBSCRIBERS:
>> (a) ignore common-sense posting suggestions [Hake (2005c)] that would
>> facilitate efficient communication;
>> (b) are unfamiliar with the technical and social aspects of ADL's as
>> addressed by Dan MacIsaac (2000) in his valuable article "Communities
>> of on-line physics educators." A cursory Google search failed to
>> uncover counterparts of MacIsaac's article for other disciplines;
>> (c) fail to utilize academic references or to even notice such
>> references in posts (except to inveigh against them as "busywork"
>> [Eckel (2003)];
>> (d) do not take advantage of hot linking - a prime but drastically
>> under-used capability of the internet;
>> (e) appear reticent to engage in discussions of educational research,
>> development, or assessment - the outstanding example being most of
>> AERA's <http://www.aera.net/> over 25,000 members, even despite the
>> excellent AERA ADL's set up by Gene Glass for each AERA division -
>> see e.g., "Why Aren't AERA Discussion Lists More Active?" [Hake
>> (f) fail to take responsibility for their postings by hiding behind
>> 4. MOST SUBSCRIBERS: fail to search the archives before posting -
>> therefore the same material is often discussed over and over de novo
>> with little increase in understanding from year to year.
>> Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
>> 24245 Hatteras Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367
>> Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands.
>> <[log in to unmask]>
>> The culture of science includes the continual interaction, exchange,
>> evaluation, and criticism we make of each other's views. This
>> produces a kind of emergent phenomenon I refer to as a *community
>> consensus knowledge base* or more briefly, a *community map.*
>> Joe Redish (1999)
>> REFERENCES [Tiny URL's courtesy <http://tinyurl.com/create.php>.]
>> Hake, R.R. 2005a. "Why Aren't AERA Discussion Lists More Active?"
>> online at <http://tinyurl.com/2s3b9k>. Post of 11 Jun 2005
>> 11:44:58-0700 to AERA-C, AERA-D, AERA-G, AERA-GSL, AERA-H, AERA-I,
>> AERA-J, AERA-K, AERA-TchEdPsych, and PhysLrnR.
>> Hake, R.R. 2005b. "Cross-Posting - Synergistic or Sinful?" Post of 1
>> Nov 2005 08:37:12-0800 to
>> ITFORUM and AERA-L; online at <http://tinyurl.com/2m59v4>.
>> Hake, R.R. 2005c. "Fourteen Posting Suggestions," online at
>> Post of 23 Jul 2005
>> 11:38:29-0400 to AERA-C, AERA-G, AERA-GSL, AERA-H, AERA-I, AERA-J,
>> AERA-L, ASSESS, EvalTalk, Math-Learn, PhysLrnR, POD, STLHE-L,
>> TeachingEdPsych, and
>> Hake, R.R. 2007. "Over Sixty Academic Discussion Lists: List
>> Addresses and URL's for Archives & Search Engines," online at
>> <http://www.physics.indiana.edu/~hake/ADL-L.pdf> (640 kB), or as ref.
>> 49 at <http://www.physics.indiana.edu/~hake>. This will soon be
>> updated so as to include JOURNET, LearningSciences, MathEdu-L,
>> TeamLearning-L, TrDev-L, the new address for TeachEdPsych, and a
>> pointer to lists on H-Net. See the ADDENDUM for a critique of
>> academic discussion lists.
>> Hake, R.R. 2009a. "Re: The value of email discussion lists," online
>> on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at <http://tinyurl.com/yawxua9>. Post
>> of 23 Nov 2009 12:07:47-0800 to AERA-L, JOURNET, & Net-Gold. The
>> abstract only was distributed to various discussion lists.
>> Hake, R.R. 2009b. "Over Two-Hundred Education & Science Blogs," 30
>> March; online at
>> <http://www.physics.indiana.edu/~hake/Over200EdSciBlogsU.pdf> (2.6
>> MB). The abstract is online with a provision for comments at
>> MacIsaac, D.L. 2000. "Communities of on-line physics educators,"
>> Phys. Teach. 38(4): 210-
>> 213; online at
>> <http://physicsed.buffalostate.edu/PHYS-L/TPTApr00art.pdf> (196 kB).
>> Discusses technical and social aspects of discussion lists and gives
>> reference information on four
>> major physics education lists: Phys-L, Physhare-L, PhysLrnR, and TAP-
>> Pea, R. 1999. "New Media Communications Forums for Improving
>> Education Research and
>> Practice," in E. C. Lagemann and L.S. Shulman, eds., "Issues In
>> Education Research" (Jossey-
>> Bass, 1999); online as a 3.2 MB pdf at <http://tinyurl.com/5nmdcg>.
>> For other publications and
>> colloquia see <http://www.stanford.edu/~roypea/HTML1%
>> Redish, E.F.. 1999. "Millikan lecture 1998: building a science of
>> teaching physics. Am. J. Phys. 67(7): 562-573; online at
>> Roschelle, J & R. Pea. 1999. "Trajectories from Today's WWW to a
>> Powerful Educational
>> Infrastructure," Educational Researcher 8(5): 22-25, 43; online as a
>> 28 kB pdf at
>> <http://ctl.sri.com/publications/displayPublication.jsp?ID=120>; see
>> also Pea (1999).
>> AERA Division L: Politics and Policy in Education
>> AERA Home Page on the World Wide Web: http://www.aera.net
>> List Service Info http://listserv.aera.net/scripts/wa.exe
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>> Cheers Richard
>> Stephen Loosley
>> Member, Victorian
>> Institute of Teaching
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