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RETURNS REVISITED

This fifth survey was given in week 7, the "meta-week" after the third unit in the course, on The Red Badge of Courage.   In week 6 on Red Badge the students were likewise divided into groups of 5 or 6.  They were asked to serve each of the three class days and to respond to each of the 4 or 5 other members of their group each of those three days as well.  Thus, a student in a group of 6 was responsible for 6 posts per class = 18 for the week.  This is the second survey touching on their returns and follows quite a bit of discussion about the nature of returning. 

The Prompt:

In unit 2 on Uncle Tom's Cabin you were asked to serve and return.  In unit 3 on Red Badge of Courage that we just finished you were also asked to serve and return but to do so in light of the suggestions for returns in the "Discussion Board Responding" and "Response Options" documents.  The idea in this unit was to make you more conscious of your pattern of returns, to increase your sense of the variety of possible returns, and to encourage higher level returns.  So, in preparation for this survey, please review the above two documents in our Course Documents folder.  And concentrate on your discussion board activity for 9/29, 10/1, and 10/3 (not 10/6, that was a different kind of activity).  You might want to open two screens so that you can refer back and forth between the survey and the documents.  The purpose of this exercise is to make you conscious of changes, if any, in your return pattern and to encourage you to think more deeply about what makes a good return -- aiming, as always in our course, at the goal of improving contributions to group knowledge.

The Questions:

(click here for a summary of all student responses as well as my commentary, or click on the numbers below for the summary and commentary on the specific questions )

1)  First, please supply some basic factual information as a base for what follows.  Did you serve each of the 3 days?  If not, why not?

2)  How many other people were in your group?  List their names.

3)  On each day that you served, how many returns did you get and from whom?  Be specific.  For instance, “On 9/29 three of my four group members returned my serve: Tom, Sally, and Lance.”  If someone did not return, did they give you a reason why?

4)  On each of the three days, how many returns did you make to your group members?  If you did not return to everybody, explain why.  Be specific: “On 9/29 I made returns to 2 of my 4 group members.  I didn’t reply to Tom because I couldn’t think of a good response.  I didn’t reply to Sally because she didn’t serve.”

5)  Now, please supply some information about the “Discussion Board Responding” and “Response Options” documents.  Did you refer to these documents when thinking about your returns?  If so, how much and in what way?  If not, why not?

6)  In general, did you sense that you were doing anything different in regard to your returns as a result of encouragement in this unit to vary your returns and to strive for higher level returns?

7)  Now, please look carefully at your returns in light of the 11 kinds of posts in the “Response Options” document.   If you posted each of the three days to each of 4-5 group members, you did 12-15 returns.  Go one day at a time.  How many returns did you do on 9/29?  Classify each return as one of the 11 kinds if you can (“3 returns: 1 agreeing, 1 enhancing, 1 disagreeing”).  A return might have more than one element in it; if so, make a judgment about what the main one is.  If you cannot classify a post by one of the 11 labels, give it a name of your own that describes what kind of response it is.

8)   How many returns did you do on 10/1?  Classify each return as one of the 11 kinds if you can (“3 returns: 1 agreeing, 1 enhancing, 1 disagreeing”).  A return might have more than one element in it; if so, make a judgment about what the main one is.  If you cannot classify a post by one of the 11 labels, give it a name of your own that describes what kind of response it is.

9)  How many returns did you do on 10/3?  Classify each return as one of the 11 kinds if you can (“3 returns: 1 agreeing, 1 enhancing, 1 disagreeing”).  A return might have more than one element in it; if so, make a judgment about what the main one is.  If you cannot classify a post by one of the 11 labels, give it a name of your own that describes what kind of response it is.

10)  What would you consider your best return?  Why?  Which of the 11 kinds is it?  Or if you can’t classify it that way, how would you describe your method?  Please specify the date, the name of the post, and the person to whom you responded.

11)  Reflect on the examination of your returns that you’ve been doing.  What is your pattern of returns?  Think about such things as whether you have a “standard” return, whether you have a variety of returns, whether you have a mix of lower and higher level returns.  So, what do you see when you look back over your returns?  Are you satisfied?  Will you try to do anything different with your returns in the next unit?

12)  In general, do you feel that raising consciousness about response options in the documents and/or through this exercise helped you improve over your returns in unit 2 or helped you plan for improvement in unit 4?  Why?  Why not?

13)  Finally, please reflect on the returns you received to your serves.  Go one day at a time.  How many returns did you receive on 9/29?  Classify each return as one of the 11 kinds if you can (“3 returns: 1 agreeing, 1 enhancing, 1 disagreeing”).  A return might have more than one element in it; if so, make a judgment about what the main one is.  If you cannot classify a post by one of the 11 labels, give it a name of your own that describes what kind of response it is.  If you had to pick one, which return would you say was the best?  Please specify the returner’s name.  How would you label it?  What is your reason for picking it?

14)  How many returns did you receive on 10/1?  Classify each return as one of the 11 kinds if you can (“3 returns: 1 agreeing, 1 enhancing, 1 disagreeing”).  A return might have more than one element in it; if so, make a judgment about what the main one is.  If you cannot classify a post by one of the 11 labels, give it a name of your own that describes what kind of response it is.  If you had to pick one, which return would you say was the best?  Please specify the returner’s name.  How would you label it?  What is your reason for picking it?

15)  How many returns did you receive on 10/3?  Classify each return as one of the 11 kinds if you can (“3 returns: 1 agreeing, 1 enhancing, 1 disagreeing”).  A return might have more than one element in it; if so, make a judgment about what the main one is.  If you cannot classify a post by one of the 11 labels, give it a name of your own that describes what kind of response it is.  If you had to pick one, which return would you say was the best?  Please specify the returner’s name.  How would you label it?  What is your reason for picking it?

16)  Reflect on the examination of the returns you received that you’ve been doing.  In general, how do you feel about the quality of the returns you received in this unit?  Do you feel that raising consciousness about response options in the documents affected the kinds of returns you received in this unit?  Do you sense any difference in this regard from the previous unit?  Were the returns worthwhile?  Do you feel that other students are helping you learn?  Why?  Why not?

17)  Is there any other comment that you would like to make about our current focus on returns?

18)  Are there any comments about other aspects of the course that you would like to make at this time?