You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.

Daily Archive for Monday, December 18th, 2006

cyberone feedback – thanks alan – thanks beth

Alan Sobel
to rnesson, nesson

4:12 pm (7 minutes ago)
CyberOne Feedback Memo

[What I Did: By way of context, as an at-large student, here is what I
did for the class. I watched all the class videos. I got really
intrigued with the Benkler book and read all of it. I attended several
Second Life sessions. I put notes for a project up on the class wiki
(“MetroBeat TV”).]

Big Thoughts

– Empathy, and its use in everyday life

– Open access to learning

– Introduction to the Berkman community


I would have liked to have seen more interaction between students in
the 3 segments of the course. One way to address this might be to have
an email list for the class as a whole; a simple way for anyone from
the 3 segments to address a thought or query to others in the course.
This may provide a relatively low tech, community plaza kind of space
(with easier access characteristics than some of our other software)
which might be used to catalyze interactions in other spaces.

Talk Directly to Us

I took the notion of ’empathy’ to be the central idea of the course.

I was reminded of a teacher I had in an eighth grade social studies
class. His name was Emil Bates. The class was nominally about cities,
and how they could be designed to promote civic virtues and positive
interactions among the residents. We each had to do a final project
for the class, a physical model of what we thought of as an ideal city,
which we all brought in and lined up on the window ledges toward the
end of the course. But what the class was really about was what Mr.
Bates called ‘affinity.’ He would talk to us every class period about
affinity between people and how that was really the foundation of
harmonious human interaction.

CyberOne seemed to me a reincarnation of that course. I’d like to
think that if Mr. Bates (now, I’m sure, long since gone) could talk
with Prof. Nesson, they would probably agree that they were talking
about substantially similar ideas.

A question was brought up in one of the SL office hours about the
nature of empathic argument, and whether this was a logical concept or
something different. I took the notion of ’empathic argument’ to be
one manifestation of a broader notion of ’empathic sensibility.’ This
seems like a powerful and important idea to me, and leads to the
question of how empathic sensibility is developed and maintained.

I wanted to thank you both for the passion and effort you put into this
course, and for making available the opportunity to participate in it.

I thought the experience was extraordinary. I eagerly looked forward
to the class videos becoming available.

Best wishes for a joyous holiday season and peace in the new year.

Alan Sobel

thank you alan,
and a five-star review of cyberone by Beth Ritter-Guth. thank you bet.