I want to start off by giving you a little information on how we will use the discussion forum to achieve the goals of this course. Since we will not be meeting in person, I think its worth while to at least set out some sort of "ground rules" for how we will work together and how the forums can lead to a quality interaction.
First of all, the forums (and any other conversations or information you have or send to me) are "safe spaces". You may post comments, thoughts, opinions, or ideas without fear of prejudice. Any personal information you (or I) share in this space stays within this space — by participating in the discussion forum or accessing those forums in anyway, you are thereby recognizing that you agree to these terms and will not share any personal information of the participants in this course with anyone outside of this course. Any comments or postings that are percieved to "personally attack" any member of this course will be immediately deleted from the forum and further postings will be blocked. When talking about special education, people share personal information about themselves or their families, and this information is held in the highest confidence. Also, when talking about special education, sometimes students tend to self diagnose. For example, when we talk about the characteristics of ADHD, you might feel like YOU might be ADHD. Or you might read the information on depression and feel that you might be depressed. Please note that this is normal, and normal people often will have all of the characteristics of any particular condition, but these persons do not "have' the condition. We will talk about "frequency, intensity and duration" many times in this course — the individual who is highly involved with any particular condition is effected significantly, so much so that they cannot live a "normal" life.
Secondly, when you have any outside information you would like to share in the forum (such as links to outside web addresses, etc), please give not only the URL (the http://… stuff) but also the group that publishes the site or article and a short description of the information. This will faciliate our reading and our "talks".
Thirdly, I will check the discussion forums approximately every 24 hours (likely between the hours of 4 and 7 am EST). You are asked to check in with the forums at least once per week, ideally more often, to stay attended to our activities. In terms of your "grade" in the discussion forums, you will see that it is more likely that you will receive a higher rating on these activities when you post an average of 2-3 times a week. Less often posting likely means you are not fully participating, more often might mean that you are overdoing it a little :)
If you ever want to reach me, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at ude.nacirema|haras#ude.nacirema|haras or on the telephone at 202.885.3714. I look forward to working with you over the summer!