Friday, January 13, 2017

EDDE 806 Post VIII - Do Vulcans have emotional presence in the CoI?

Young Spock at school
And we're off!

The semester has begun, and this time I am "official" in EDDE 806, which means this is my last credit-bearing semester (after that I guess I will be an academic vagabond looking for completion of my own research).

Last night none of our cohort presented (although that would have been an achievement if someone brave enough wanted to do it!).  Instead, a more seasoned EdD student, Lynne Rabak (Cohort 6?) presented on what she is working on as part of her dissertation proposal. The title of Lynne's presentation was "Cognitive and emotional presence: learning effects," and she is looking (or proposing to look) at the interaction and interplay between cognitive presence and emotional presence.

I have to say that I am skeptical of the foundation of the research because I don't fully buy into emotional presence.  I think that affect is an aspect that goes into learning, but I don't know if it warrants its own presence.  From my own readings on emotional presence (albeit limited readings) I don't know why it would warrant its own presence and I am not sure how much of an impact it really has in learning (in a generalizable way; not that I am aiming for generalization in my own dissertation proposal).  Perhaps it's my inner Vulcan not putting as much stock in emotions in the learning process.

Plutchik was mentioned as an influential researcher and thinker in the field of emotion in the learning, so I've added a mental post-it to look into this researcher sometime in the not so distant future (after I am a little further in my own dissertation work).

Clevelland-Innes and Campbell's work is cited as well. One of the things that jumped out at me was a quote from these two scholars: "emotion must be considered, if not a central factor, at least a ubiquitous, influential part of learning - online and otherwise...In common practice, emotions are examined, seemingly visceral and unconsciously. This is not appropriate in reflective pedagogy designed to bring cognition to consciousness" (2012, p. 285).  I don't disagree (it makes sense, actually), but at what part do we consider emotion?  Do we consider it part of the social? As in, emotion generated because of our interactions with others?  Emotion as part of the cognitive? As in, my frustration at my slow progress in Calculus II in college?  Emotion as part of Actor Network Theory?

What this small trip down the rabbit hole brought to the forefront for me was the limits of Venn Diagrams, and 2D representations of complex processes. The Original CoI Model "works" as a Venn Diagram because each Presence is given equal weight and equal interaction with the other presences.  As soon as you start adding presences you have to think of the interrelationships and the interactions between the different elements; and more importantly for our purposes: how do you demonstrate this on paper, to a committee of experts who are vetting you to be a scholar peer (i.e. graduate with your EdD or PhD)? So one aspect is the theory, the other is the explanation of such theory.

Interestingly enough Norine (who I don't think I've met before) mentioned some research done previously, which she was a part of,  with an n of approximately 1200 students (over a period of three years).  The results of this (unpublished) research seemed to indicate that Cognitive Presence and Emotional Presence could stand on their own, whereas Social Presence and Teaching Presence could not.  Social Presence was hypothesized to be a subset of the other three.  Emotional and Cognitive Presences seemed to be about the same level of significance whereas Teaching Presence smaller seemed to be smaller.  This ties in neatly with the limits of 2D diagrams to explain complex processes.  This was quite an interesting discussion (and it would have been nice to have seen the findings of this study published somewhere).  Tonight's session, and Lynne's topic, definitely got me thinking (despite not quite buying fully into Emotional Presence).

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