Public narrative, deliberation and Moodle

I had an interesting chat today with someone from Moodlerooms about our usage of Moodle at Cooperative Extension. As anyone who has ever talked with me on the phone knows I can get somewhat excitable and rambly, as happened during the course of this particular call.

But it came at an opportune moment as I had been thinking about the current debacle around the health care “debate” here and the seeming hopelessness the whole thing points to for someone who hopes and believes that deliberation can lead to consensus. I was mulling the hows and whys of educating for deliberation, how technology might come into play and if   it’s even possible for us to engage constructively anymore. And this tied into some thoughts of the past weekend about deploying systems for capturing/creating public narrative and using that as a sort of starting point for re-building a common language for civic engagement. (civic engagement sounds somewhat too clinical…really what it is is the ability to talk to each other without yelling, being human in our dialogues)

And that ties (somehow) to this article I’ve been looking over, thanks to a link from Peter Levine’s blog, about village democracy in India.

But back to Moodle-and my conversation with Kurt Beer (I checked my email so I’d get his name right) of Moodlerooms – as we talked about how we use Moodle I started thinking about the 3 zones of the online deliberative sphere and how Moodle might possible be an almost ideal tool for the development of such a system.

And that’s about where I am right now….

Creative Commons License
Public narrative, deliberation and Moodle by ptreadwell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International


  • Hi Paul, we are reading the same things these days!

    Deliberation does not necessarily require consensus to be deemed successful. It could just lead to meta-consensus, such as agreeing to disagree, understanding and appreciating difference, and finding common ground language and approach. In the Health Care debate, for example, a two-tier system of private and public might satisfy both sides, if only the proponents would get beyond raging disinformation and listen to each other properly. And that's the problem: unlike some other cultures (especially indigenous), we've been sucked into believing that aggression and competition is the normal way to proceed.

    Moodle might be able to register people and deploy resources, but online public deliberation needs more. In the absence of face-to-face facilitation, it needs scaffolding to promote civil behaviour and collaborative problem solving. It also needs to be sufficiently de-institutionalised to attract those on the right who would eschew group activity in general. The contradiction is that deliberation requires commitment, yet many would avoid it because they incorrectly see both the process and possible outcomes as coercive and threatening to their autonomous freedom. As researchers, we need to do what we tell deliberating citizens to do: put ourselves in the shoes of others.

  • great website with good content, congratulation !

  • Technonology can only help to some extent, people discussing should have good intentions and flexibility to compromise. Like rlubensky mentioned deliberation require commitment. Good article

  • Thanks for this article, very interesting for me.

  • I appreciate your effort and would like to share it with my friends also.

Leave a Reply