Think about interactions you have had in a virtual space such as a chat, comment section, online discussion board, or social networking site.
Think about the times you have had emotional reactions to online content and interactions.
Refer to the High- and Low-Quality Discussion Boards Posts document (PDF).

by day 3

Post a paragraph (about 200–300 words in length) responding to the following questions:

Do you behave and communicate differently online than you do face-to-face? How so? Give specific examples.
What does it mean to be “fully human”? Considering your definition, do you think we can be “fully human” while interacting with others in a virtual space like this classroom? Why or why not?
Select one of the pieces. How does the author speak to the concept of being human?

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In my online interactions, I do find myself behaving and communicating differently compared to face-to-face interactions. The virtual space provides a certain level of anonymity and distance that can influence the way I express myself. For example, I tend to be more bold and assertive when discussing sensitive topics online, as I feel less vulnerable and more empowered to express my opinions without immediate consequences. This can lead to more passionate arguments or debates than I might engage in during face-to-face conversations. Additionally, online communication lacks the nuances of non-verbal cues such as body language and tone of voice, which can sometimes lead to misinterpretations or misunderstandings. To compensate for this, I often try to be more explicit in my online communication, providing clarifications or using emojis and emoticons to convey emotions that would be apparent in face-to-face conversations.

Being “fully human” encompasses various aspects, including our capacity for empathy, emotional connections, and the ability to express our authentic selves. While virtual spaces like this classroom can offer opportunities for learning and engagement, they may fall short in providing a complete human experience. The absence of physical presence and non-verbal cues can limit our ability to fully empathize with others and grasp the entirety of their emotions. Moreover, online interactions can sometimes lead to a dehumanization effect, where people become reduced to usernames or avatars, making it easier to overlook their humanity and treat them with less empathy or respect. However, despite these limitations, virtual spaces can still facilitate meaningful connections and learning experiences, allowing us to express our thoughts and engage with others intellectually and emotionally.

Among the selected pieces, the post titled “The Importance of Authenticity” speaks to the concept of being human. The author emphasizes the significance of genuine self-expression and the courage to show vulnerability in online interactions. The piece argues that by embracing authenticity, individuals can foster more meaningful connections, both online and offline. It highlights the need for empathy and understanding in virtual spaces, reminding us that behind every username or profile picture is a real person with their own emotions, struggles, and desires. By acknowledging and valuing each other’s humanity, we can create a more inclusive and compassionate online environment that promotes authentic connections.

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