An online group will include a range of personalities. Some may not be people you would choose to communicate with elsewhere. However, this is a situation you will come across throughout your academic and professional working life. It is something you will need to learn to deal with, whether you are facilitating a group or participating. Think about how you might be able to encourage a group to communicate effectively. In particular, how would you encourage quiet or reluctant people to join in an online discussion?
- Reluctant members may respond to a personal invitation to join in.
- Non-posting members may be reading the posts others have left. They may respond to an invitational post for ‘previously read-only’ participants.
- You may not be able to get everyone to join in. Understanding this at the outset and openly acknowledging this to the group may help.
- Encouraging responses to be posted within 24 hours can improve the flow of the conversation (research by Hew et al. (2010) shows that responses made within 24 hours of a posting are likely to get more additional replies, compared to responses made a couple of days later).