Chorus of Voices: A response to a Student

Chorus of Voices: A response to a Student

Things have been…well, a word is hard to find to describe how things have been on campus since the election.  My thought early today walking across campus was “maybe this is what it was like when Nixon was elected”.  It is tough for students right now.


A student I know informally sent me and two other faculty that I truly admire a question about who to follow to get “thought-provoking, insightful, and informed” information.  He also asked for a range of topics on the best feeds to follow and just felt like the traditional media failed him.  Many of us have felt like that in recent years.


My first thought was “if you find a list, please share it with me”.  That is not a helpful response and totally inappropriate at this time.  So I wrote this:



Someone I admire in the Open Ed community has started using the phrase “Choral Explanations”.  This concept was a maturing of an idea of federated communities of instructors building Open Educational Resources.  The Choral Explanations concept came up of a discussion at conference after a session and my friend ran with it.  The link follows, but the main idea is that we understand things as professional learners by reading or consuming media from multiple voices (perspectives) and use this to construct our understanding.  This model can be used to help build instructional materials.

I have used this model for years in consuming media.  Before I “cut the cord” back about six years ago, it was watching Fox, PBS, Network, and CNN and assimilating that into my understanding of what was going on in the world.  Now it is by scanning CNN and Fox online and listening to NPR.  Gives me some Left, Right, and Left of Center trying hard to be neutral. I use a chorus of voices to help me understand the world and to keep me out of group think.

I do something similar with Social Media.  Facebook tends to be my conservative friends that I grew up with in Texas.  Twitter tends to be my learning network of academics and thought leaders in education.  Before this year, there was a tilt to the conversations, but now they tend to be directly opposed.  Hearing both was hard this past year and the past two days, but it also let me understand, at least a little, about both sides.

I wouldn’t unfriend all of the students you follow.  They are your friends. Everyone needs friends.  Watch for those that will bring in reliable external voices (or at least stable voices).  The ones that try to reason through the concerns and issues.  There are lots of scared people right now.  Things will settle down.

Here are some things I have read over the past two days that I thought were insightful. suggestion:
– Take a time out of Social Media for a few days.
– Build your learning network when you get back on.  Use one stream for Friends and another as your Choral Explanation channel.Praying for you,

Dr. Morvant

I am still working through my emotions of the events of the past two days. I say two days, because it is watching the students deal with the results of the election that has impacted me the most.
A few things I will do over the next few weeks:
– Decrease my time of Social Media
– Hug my Wife and kids a little tighter
– Listen to a Chorus of Voices

Mike Caulfield presenting Choral Explanations at OpenEd16, photo by Alan Levine


Feature Image by Stefanos Papachristou – Chorus II

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