Individual posts can be rated using a scale based on the theory of separate and connected knowing. This theory may help you to look at human interactions in a new way. It describes two different ways that we can evaluate and learn about the things we see and hear. Although each of us may use these two methods in different amounts at different times, it may be useful to imagine two people as examples, one who is a mostly separate knower (Jim) and the other a mostly connected knower (Mary).

Did you notice in these examples that the separate knower is male and the connected knower is female? Some studies have shown that statistically this tends to be the case, however individual people can be anywhere in the spectrum between these two extremes. For a collaborative and effective group of learners it may be best if everyone were able to use BOTH ways of knowing. In a particular situation like an online forum, a single post by a person may exhibit either of these characteristics, or even both. Someone who is generally very connected may post a very separate-sounding message, and vice versa. The purpose of rating each post using this scale is to:

  1. help you think about these issues when reading other posts
  2. provide feedback to each author on how they are being seen by others
The results are not used towards student assessment in any way, they are just to help improve communication and learning.

In case you're interested, here are some references to papers by the authors who originally developed these ideas:

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