Truth in Society

January 17, 1995

Prompt #48


Occasions from the first term and for the second term

What we'd planned for the discussions of "outside occasions" last term was that after each one there'd be a written discussion. That is, everyone who participated would write some reflections on the event, read what other people wrote, and respond. It didn't work that way, largely because it turned out to be so complicated to get the responses in and make them available to everyone else. They came in in various forms (email, attached files, files in Q:, hard copies . . . ), and at various times, and each one posed different problems in getting them either printed or made available on line. Over Christmas, we rethought the procedure, and we think we have a better way.

First, we're making booklets available which include (we think) all the reflections we didn't circulate last term. We hope you'll find them interesting -- particularly the ones on occasions you attended, but the others as well. But we're aware that the immediacy is pretty well gone, and there's no way for people to respond meaningfully to the comments others made.

So, this term we're going to do it rather differently. The basic rules will be similar, but the medium in which we carry on the discussion will be different. We've set up an electronic bulletin board (more on that, and on how to use it, below), and the requirement is going to be that reflections on outside events be posted there, rather than sent as mail or put into the Q: directory as a common file.

In order for your attendance at an outside event to "count" this term, then, the following conditions have to apply:

  1. Thom, Russ or John has to agree that the event is appropriate. ("Appropriate" doesn't mean that it necessarily has to connect to "truth in society" in any obvious way; it probably does mean, though, that it's not going to be something we could count on lots of people going to without this incentive.)
  2. At least eight people (including you) have to attend and comment in a reflective and thoughtful way.
  3. The comments and responses have to be posted in the appropriate strand on the electronic bulletin board -- the "online discussion" within three days of the end of the event.
  4. You have to respond to at least one other person's comment.
Instructions for using the Online Discussion are on the attached sheet. If you take it with you in the lab it should be fairly straightforward. It's a confusing program at first, but there are lots of people in the lab who are using it regularly, and help shouldn't be far away.


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