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@2006 Ed Gallagher, Professor of English, Lehigh Lab Fellow. Lehigh University.
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The Future

What more need I do to fully contextualize this completed project?  What are the natural sequels to this project?  What other applications are there for what I have learned here?

  • a review of scholarship: I did not search for and collect much in the way of existing relevant scholarship on discussion in general or discussion boards in particular in preparation for this project.
  • Bloom's taxonomy:  In particular, I need to do some research on the plusses and minusses of Bloom's taxonomy, which I rather cavalierly adapted as the basis for the "five eyes," and the current esteem it has in the educational community.
  • grading:  Since I was still working out the kinks during the project class and since I was not confident in the legitimacy of the hierarchical response options, I did not feel comfortable applying detailed evaluation criteria based on the "five eyes" and those response options.  A next step, however, would be to work out a system in which I can work with students individually if necessary to improve their postings and then to hold them strictly accountable.
  • assigning the "eyes":  Instead of leaving the choice of serves open, I think I'll also experiment with 5-person groups in which each person is assigned to kick off a conversation from the perspective of one eye.
  • a culminating paragraph:  The conversation on the board is supposed to be open-ended and, theoretically continuous, but I think about asking for a formal paragraph at the end of a discussion thread that might go 4-5-6 steps.  In other words, let's say (see above) the thread was designated to analyze, then, in conclusion and based on the discussion, each participant would write a formal analysis paragraph.
  • other uses for the "five eyes":  I have a notion to try the "five eyes" in non-discussion board assignments; in particular, I am considering experimenting with chucking full-length essays for paragraph-length writing assignments structured by the eyes.
  • effect on essays:  In this class, the students did not write essays as they normally would in my classes.  Discussion was an end in itself.  A further step would be to see what effect improved discussion at the intermediate level of learning has on formal essays as the end product.