Scenario B: Half way through an online debate

This scenario is taken from a debate on a blended course where the conferences support face to face lecturing and seminars. The course is P101: Introduction to Political Science (level 1). There are approx 60 students on the course who have been working together in small seminar groups of 15 and each group has its own discussion area on Brookes Virtual. The groups have met face to face in seminar groups a few times, have had a face to face introduction to Brookes Virtual in a computer lab, and have worked through various introductory tasks in their small groups online. Most of the small groups do appear to have developed some cohesion. The plan is now to use Brookes Virtual to continue discussions which have been started in class. The following extract is taken from Seminar Group B which has been working well together so far.

We join the discussion as they begin the second week of a two week task.

[The contents of the compiled messages below are entirely fictional]

Compiled messages

Message No. 1:
posted by TUTOR on Tues, Feb. 6, 2008, 08:52
Subject: The online debate!

I've posted this same message below to each of the seminar group discussion areas. As before, you will be able to see all of the seminar groups but please only post to your own group.

The topic for discussion continues the work we were doing in last week's lecture and seminars on Power. I would like you to discuss "How can we best explain the larger role of the state in society and the economy in industrialised countries? How can we reconcile liberal ideology with this large role for the state?"

This first discussion task will not contribute to the assessment for this module. However, later online group tasks will (see course handbook), so please make use of this opportunity to practice working in this way with your group.

As well as the lecture notes and required textbook (Shively's "Power and Choice"), you should make use of the links to good web sites on political science which you'll find in the 'content' area of Brookes Virtual. As usual, you should try to relate contemporary issues to our discussions through your reading of the press and news websites.

I will not contribute to your discussions but will look in at the end of next week to see how you are getting on.

I hope you find this a valuable exercise and opportunity to extend your understanding of the key course concepts.

Good luck

Neil Boston.

Message No. 2:
posted by K O-B on Tues, Feb. 6, 2008, 10:32
Subject: re: The online debate!

Dear Dr. Boston

Please provide clarification of task date to be complete.

Thank you

Message No. 3:
posted by KP on Tues, Feb. 6, 2008, 13:12
Subject: re: The online debate!

Hi - this sounds like it's gonna be fun - everyone ready

Message No. 4:
posted by GH on Tues, Feb. 6, 2008, 13:22
Subject: re: The online debate!

Glad you're up for it. Go on - start us off then Kieran…

Message No. 5:
posted by KP on Tues, Feb. 6, 2008, 13:49
Subject: re: The online debate!

Well Marky, let's say that we pick a couple of countries where the role of the state has varying degrees of influence - say France, China and the US… we could then look at the role the state plays in the economy of each of these countries. Good enough for you?

Message No. 6:
posted by AM on Tues, Feb. 6, 2008, 14:24
Subject: re: The online debate!

Not bad, but that's not the question is it? - Ade

Message No. 7:
posted by GH on Tues, Feb. 6, 2008, 15:04
Subject: re: The online debate!

Sounds OK to me - I'll pick France and post something up here by the end of the week. Have you seen the websites yet - the US state dept one is worth a look - as is ch. 6 of Shively. Anyone else?

Message No. 8:
posted by BW on Tues, Feb. 6, 2008, 15:50
Subject: re: The online debate!

> Anyone else?

I'll take US - obviously!


Message No. 9:
posted by AM on Tues, Feb. 6, 2008, 15:56
Subject: But what's the question?

I'm not sure the task asks for such direct comparisons. Do we need these countries to just 'explain the role of the state?' - Ade.

Message No. 10:
posted by FN on Thu, Feb. 8, 2008, 11:07
Subject: My thoughts

Shall we get going on this? I would expect this discussion to focus on the governance role of the state ownership. You could argue that a gradual transfer of operational control and financial claims over state assets remains the most desirable goals, but needs to be paced so as to avoid regulatory capture, and in the first instance the capture of the privatization process itself. The gradual creation of institutions partially autonomous from the state and from political power must become central to the development to an optimal mode of regulatory governance.


Message No. 11:
posted by K O-B on Fri, Feb. 9, 2008, 17:44
Subject: re: The online debate!

Spively ch.6 is of the most relevance to assessed group discussion - what time the deadline please?

Message No. 12:
posted by BW on Fri, Feb. 9, 2008, 18:37
Subject: re: The online debate!

Attached is my analysis of the US situation. I found that I drew most on the last lecture to structure this. Any others coming in? Anyone want to pick China? Can we discuss these on Monday cos it all needs to be done by next Friday (that's the deadline Keng). Best, Bethany.

Message No. 13:
posted by GH on Fri, Feb. 9, 2008, 19:07
Subject: re: The online debate!

Cheers Bethany - thanks helped loads - Glenn.

Message No. 14:
posted by AM on Mon, Feb. 12, 2008, 09:23
Subject: re: The online debate!

Anyone had a look in the other seminar groups - they are storming this task. I think we need to do some more work on this. Any offers? - Ade.