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"VOLLEYING":
STUDENT WORK (6): FOUR-STEP FELONY

In this unit the students were strongly prompted to read everything on the board from their group before they posted so as to encourage a variety of ideas of eyes and to encourage weaving of ideas across threads.  In student work (1) I compared the three serves in the group made of Students R, K, and F and found that K was not following my prompt. 

In the table below I follow the two threads flowing from Student R's post.  R and K went through the 4-step process of serve, return, fielding the return, and volleying.  R and F only went through 3 steps, since F did not do the volley.

There were six posts in the two threads.  I have numbered them 1-6 chronologically and staggered them in the two tables so that we can read them down in the order in which they appeared on the discussion board as the students should have.  (Blackboard can sort posts by date to facilitate this kind of study.) 

For instance, when F, in thread 2, came to return to R, she should have read K's return and R's fielding before she posted.  The idea is to have students alert to all the ideas in the group, not just the ones in their threads in the group.

What I can see here is that F did not read posts 2 and 3 before she did her post 4, since, completely unawares, she uses an ant analogy like K does in post 2.  If she had read post 2, she should have had sense enough not to repeat the analogy in post 4.

Another thing I can see here is that in post 6 K replies to R's post 3 in his thread (note the way K's opening sentence connects with R's opening sentence: "isnt there a better way to go about it?" . . . "I certainly think there was better ways at going about it") without at all noting R's intervening post 5 in thread 2 which is a rant and is signed "distraught."  If K had read that, his post 6 should have incorporated R's distraughtness into a different kind of post.  R has changed between his post 3 and post 5.  He is not in the same "place" anymore.  And if K's post is to be a relevant response to R, K must recognize that change.

The point of doing such graphic demonstrations for students should be to raise their consciousness of what working in a group means.

Thread 1: R & K
Thread 2: R & F
post 1
post 1
Serve: "Slaveholders pride themselves upon being honerable men." Chapter 8 opens with this statement. I think the south had issues. Jacobs book definitely riles me up more than Stowe did. Slaveholder's considered themselves honerable men, yet they did everything in the world that is considered dishonerable. It enrages me so to think that someone could be so ignorant and inhumane that they would do some of the things that they do. Ok so maybe slaves wernet considered human, maybe they were thought of as dogs. But would you beat a dog until it spilled pools of blood just because it disobeyed you? Ok i know, they WERE real people and it is an injustice to consider them anything less, but just to try to get a perspective, i do not see how anyone could ever be that cruel to ANYTHING, whether you considered something a brother, animal, posession.. whatever. I guess my question would be, did slaveowners REALLY realize what they were doing? Did they rest on such a low level of humanity that they could these sick and twisted things? The only possible comparison i can come up with is something along the lines of Nazi Germany, where persuasion and the fact that "everyone was doing it" turned normally good people into sick and twisted killers. I guess my main influence for this post was the chapter "Fear of Insurrection." Does anybody have any thoughts on how things could have gotten so out of control in the south? (sorry this post isnt very good, probably hard to respond too), Student R
Serve: "Slaveholders pride themselves upon being honerable men." Chapter 8 opens with this statement. I think the south had issues. Jacobs book definitely riles me up more than Stowe did. Slaveholder's considered themselves honerable men, yet they did everything in the world that is considered dishonerable. It enrages me so to think that someone could be so ignorant and inhumane that they would do some of the things that they do. Ok so maybe slaves wernet considered human, maybe they were thought of as dogs. But would you beat a dog until it spilled pools of blood just because it disobeyed you? Ok i know, they WERE real people and it is an injustice to consider them anything less, but just to try to get a perspective, i do not see how anyone could ever be that cruel to ANYTHING, whether you considered something a brother, animal, posession.. whatever. I guess my question would be, did slaveowners REALLY realize what they were doing? Did they rest on such a low level of humanity that they could these sick and twisted things? The only possible comparison i can come up with is something along the lines of Nazi Germany, where persuasion and the fact that "everyone was doing it" turned normally good people into sick and twisted killers. I guess my main influence for this post was the chapter "Fear of Insurrection." Does anybody have any thoughts on how things could have gotten so out of control in the south? (sorry this post isnt very good, probably hard to respond too), Student R
post 2

Return: you make a sound point about the injustices of the south. It really makes you question the morality of man. Can we simply be taught what is wrong and what is right? Is there any kind of instinct built into our mainframes that tells us what is ethical and what is not? I'd sure like to hope so, if not we are a pretty pitiful bunch. I guess incidents like this are testiments to the power of convention and our dependance on what other people think of us. In a way, it kind of makes me liken it to the way a little kid will destroy the anthills in his backyard for the sake of entertainment, or the way we kill bees and other insects we deem dangerous to us, even though they're just doing their thing like we are. Is it because we see no resemblance to our own humanity in them that we think it is ok to torture them? That's the best guess I can give. By treating the slaves as less than human, and of course by the grave amount of pro-slavery sentiment that circulated in the South, people were ok with the travesties that occured because they likened them more to the way we treat bugs than other people. I think a lot of it also had to do with the fact that slavery was simply so profitable to slave-owners that they would do anything to justify taking part in it. hope i added somethin. -Student K

post 3

Fielding the Return: I see what your saying Student K, but isnt there a better way to go about it? I dont see a justification in slavery by beating the shit, even killing your slaves. I guess if the slave-owners were that smart, there would have been less uprisings, less runaways etc... i mean... i know im not making much of a point, but i still feel that there was something there.. psychologically, that made slaveowners or southerners in general, more inhumane. Maybe their mothers did not love them enough, who knows... its just a conundrum to me (sorry i saw the ring this weekend).
Student R


post 4

Return: Thanks a lot Student R for this difficult big picture. Just kiddin. Interesting question and this is what I came up with. Can the evils of slavery and mankind of the time be analalogous to humans stepping on ants? Are we as humans above ants? I have killed so many ants and don't feel the tiniest built guilty...I do not think for two seconds that I could be killing my 'aunt.' Moreover, I can kill an ant because I am a human and that ant is annoying and inhuman, futhermore, that ant is subservient and it's life is futile. I am so against slavery because I am a good person and have learned about the horrors of it and are so far from being racist. However, had I never been taught about it, shown to treat all equally, that all lives were of equal value, then obviously I feel that slavery existed and thrived because of the attitude of societies of the time. Tieing in the ant example, we are basically taught that if you kill an ant: a. no one can prove it, b. jail time is not applicable c. capitol punishment is not applicable. Get it?  Student F

post 5

Fielding the Return: Ok Student F, I think thats a pretty valid response and an interesting way to think about it. But lets just say for arguments sake (and the life of the post) that i dont buy the whole humans slaves ants thingy. So do you think it would be ok for the ants with 3 antennas to go after the ants with 2 antennas? Should i wipe out every "freak" that doesnt have black hair like me? (imagine a shitty world like that! losers with black hair) I guess what im saying is, you can only use ants as a scapegoat so far. I feel we should have had enough God-given intelligence and compassion to know that slavery was inslaving our own kind! That there was only a very minor difference between "them" and "us." I guess ive never had to have been told that going out and kicking around my dog would be a pretty awful thing to do. So why cant we bring it up a couple notches and say we should know enough not to kick around someone of our own species, without having to have been taught that it is a bad thing????  distraught Student R
post 6

Volley:  Student R- I certainly think there was better ways at going about it. I mean obviously the best way would have been to just do without slavery, but considering that there's no way around that now, maybe if they were smarter about it there could have been indentured servitude or something instead of slavery. It probably would have resulted in a lot less runaways and such as you said. I think the slaverowners were just so desensitized to what they were doing to these people because they were making so much money off of them that they refused to give it up, even though subconsciously they may have known it was wrong. anyway, i guess its just something that we won't really ever understand, humans just have a way of taking advantage of what they can when they can. -Student K


Student F did not volley.