Let’s talk.

| June 23, 2011

As usual, we at Vialogues HQ have been discussing how to make Vialogues better.

Based on some user feedback and our own observations, we’ve determined that, as we developers continue to use Vialogues to demonstrate its efficacy as a learning tool, we need to address the following concerns:

  • We’re all just too darn nice. Comments such as “Cool vid, Sally!” or “LOL!” have no place at Vialogues. Save it for the water cooler, guys. Let’s all be professionals here. (…Who am I kidding? I’m as guilty as the rest of ’em.)
  • …On that note: it’s nice to agree on things and all, but that makes for pretty dull discourse. As my writing professors would tell me, a story without conflict is barely a story at all. Same principle here. Don’t quite agree with the video or a certain commenter? Awesome! This is what Vialogues is for! Be nit-picky! Start a fight! Argue! Debate! Bicker! Quibble! Et cetera!
  • We seem to all be in a frenzy to post videos and jot off comments to make the site look and feel “active.” Let’s slow down. Deep breaths. Get some oxygen to our brains. Quality over quantity, right?
  • We need to define, either among ourselves or on the Vialogues site, precisely what it means to hold educationally powerful discussions. Perhaps create a Vialogue on this very subject to help us focus our thoughts and insights? A Vialogue about Vialogues, perhaps?
  • We must attempt to steer users into making insightful, challenging comments, instead of (oh-so-easily) falling into the YouTube-esque, yay-or-nay mentality whilst writing our time-coded remarks. Should we implement a rewards system for good commenting, like TED’s or Hacker News? Will Facebook-style “Like” and “Report Spam” buttons be useful in minimizing the number of comments that don’t add to the discussion? Suppose we employ a Google Labs-like system to test user feedback on such features?

Inspired by some comments by Professor Natriello, the Vialogues team is working on a “program of inquiry” that focuses on these concepts:

  1. CONTEXT. Adding further resources and assignments (as any professor is wont to do before directing his students to Vialogues) will most likely enhance a video discussion. Time will tell?
  2. TECHNOLOGY. Developing new features (such as the “Like” button, larger text boxes, some sort of rewards system, etc.). Testing said features. Trial and error!
  3. INSTRUCTIONAL. Either via text or video, we instruct users how to get the most out of Vialogues with things like “Tips for Moderators” and sample lesson plans for teachers.
  4. MEASUREMENT. What do we mean by educationally meaningful discussions? How do we measure that? What sort of rating system (if any) should we employ? Who gets to do the rating? What other stats and numbers can we consider? To what end??

Now more than ever, we need to hear from you. Leave feedback, won’t you?