Article Critique Draft 679.20

Hi Everyone,

I must begin my post with sincere apologies and a short explanation.  You may have noticed my lack of presence online over the last 2 weeks.  It started the night of our Elluminate session.  I could feel myself getting sick and I lost my voice.  Shortly thereafter, both of my boys came down with the horrendous North American flu that is wreaking havoc.  And, as you may have guessed, 4 days of caring for sick kids undoubtedly turned into me getting sick.  I have been out of commission for 2 weeks now!  I think everyone at work is beginning to forget what I look like.  And well, since you guys don’t really know what I look like, you’ve maybe forgotten my writing style…lol.

In any case, I’m starting to feel a bit better and am hoping to make my re-appearance online this week!  Here is my critique of Designing and Orchestrating Online Discussions.

Baker, D. (2011). Designing and Orchestrating Online Discussions. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 7(3), 401-411. Available online at:


Article Critique EDER679.20

One thought on “Article Critique Draft 679.20

  1. Hi Stephanie,
    Boy, it sure is hard to stay illness-free when you have a couple young kids who are sick; I have a young son and daughter, and my instinctive response of, “I can do this; I WILL stay healthy!” most often ends up with me in bed with the same illness too. Glad to hear you’re feeling better though…
    As for your article critique, I’ve separated my thoughts into the three categories that were suggested by Norm.

    What did I learn from your critique?

    It was interesting to see that there are direct connections between Baker’s article and the aspects of the Community of Inquiry as described in our class readings, if not just re-worded aspects that are conducive to effective online facilitation.
    I’m also very glad that you indicated the optimal group sizing (5 to 7 people) and suggested grading weighting of forum discussion (10-25%) in your critique, as concrete numbers and examples give me a much clearer idea about how, specifically, I can apply this to my work. This was of HUGE use to me!
    Finally, I will now be checking to see if authors are referring frequently to themselves in their research; I really liked this thought, Stephanie. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to do, but just something to be aware of, and to monitor if it is being overdone!

    What did I enjoy about this critique (and why)?

    You offer an excellent rationale as to why you selected this article; I think you are correct, in that it will serve you well in developing your final project!
    I like that the summary reinforces what we have learned in the other e-Learning courses, in terms of the benefits of online classes (no geographical restrictions, convenience relating to time, etc).
    The topic of your article is also directly related to the Community of Inquiry work we discussed in the forums this past week; how well-timed, in that it discusses the co-creation of knowledge by peers, and expands upon the associated value towards learning!
    Your paragraph structure is a strong asset, really helping to create a clear message. On this note, your written style is also very fluid and easy to read.
    You offer excellent comment about the author referencing himself and his personal experience often; you make me want to review some readings I have recently done to see if some of those authors did the same!
    Your caution about generalizing understandings and findings to other “similar” areas is well-taken, and very true. I agree that sometimes recommendations do not suit a different situation, particularly as the differences mount. This reminds me of our last course, where we had to do an analysis of our target audience; demographics, gender, subject area and more could all affect how one plans the learning experience.
    Finally, your suggestion for future study of the remaining two components is logical and clearly articulated.

    Recommendations (future ideas, ways to improve a future critique, etc)

    A suggestion would be to be cognizant of how many “words” you allocate to each of the required components of the critique, as determined by the weighting in the rubric and suggested word length of the assignment. For example, your summary, though very useful to me, accounted for about two thirds of the critique, whereas it only 3 of the 25 marks are assigned directly to the summary of the article.
    I also suggest deciding whether to use numbers or words to describe any numbers that you use in the writing; for example, will you consistently use “7” or “seven” when discussing numbers? It’s a very minor point, but one to consider.

    Thanks for sharing this critique with me, Stephanie (and for posting it before the due date!); I really enjoyed the read, and I definitely plan on using some of the “tips” when developing my final re-design project!


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