When it comes to posting class work publicly, there are a lot of aspects to public displays of assessment that affect the interaction among students. As a student, there is often, a lot of hesitation and nervousness about posting or discussing their work publicly. Students may feel self-conscious about speaking up in a face-to-face classroom setting. Often, I, as a student, will worry that what I say will sound stupid and meaningless and that my peers would judge what I have to say. I am more comfortable talking to the professor after class and explaining my ideas to them directly, than I am saying them in public to a room full of people.
However, the virtual world is a totally different situation. In the online classroom, there is a level of disconnect from the peers and professor since there is no face-to-face interaction. As a result, students may be bolder in stating their opinions. Stating one’s opinion anonymously is always more comforting than making it publicly known. While filling out an end of course survey, a student may not want to provide their name if they are giving their professor a bad rank. Online haters often do not realize that their comments reach real people. The level of disconnect makes them able to put their opinion out there, with the comfort of knowing that they are anonymous.
However, while stating opinions seems like it is easier to do on the internet, publishing work on the internet that includes answers to questions and research is a bit more difficult. When there is an open display of the other student’s work, there is always apprehension about the other students. What if they wrote a better, more in-depth analysis than I did? What if we ended up doing the exact same work? Theirs looks way longer than I had intended to write. Do I need to write more?
While I think that publicly posting work does push students to work a little harder on their work, due to the added pressure of more eyes seeing the work, but it does also cause a little more stress each week about whether or not they are meeting the standards of the rest of the class.
Positive classroom interaction and peer assessment based off of the publicly submitted work does help assuaging the fears of some students when they realize other students are also just learning. Often, peer assessment can be good even when there are dissenting opinions, if students approach the issues with the mature outlook of creating better understanding of a subject rather than fighting over the issue.
I think the pros out weight the cons in the question of publicly submitting and displaying work done for a class, as collaboration and interaction is a way that students are able to access opinions and assessments other than their own, thus broadening their learning experience.
Gumport P., Chun M., Technology and Higher Education: Opportunities and Challenges in the New Era, National Center for Postsecondary Improvement, 2000