The funniest thing at the conference was a comment made by a woman from the audience. There were so many questions and comments, so many raised hands in the audience, and so much interest from so many people that everybody tried to be brief. Not this person, though.
“My brother and I are very different,” she began. “Our mother decided to redesign her kitchen because, I mean, in a house that was built back in the 1950s, you’ve got to be ready to do some redecorating at least every half-century or so, if you know what I mean. So my brother decided to build a counter top for her, and he went to Home Depot. . .”
As she rambled on and on and on about the counter top, we sat there in astonishment trying to figure out how the story related to the subject of online learning.
Details about the counter top-building efforts of her brother poured out of the woman for a while longer. Some people looked like they were starting to doze off.
“But there was, of course, one thing my brother forgot to do,” the speaker declared triumphantly, and we all perked up, hoping she was about to tell us that her brother had forgotten to submit homework in his online course on counter tops. “He forgot to ask our mother what color she preferred! Seriously, my brother is somewhat challenged in the sociability department, if you know what I mean. He just never knows what’s appropriate in the way he relates to people.”
The speaker guffawed loudly, finally giving the moderator an opportunity to come in with a desperately loud, “Thank you! And now for the next question, please!”
The next question was from my colleague who asked whether we were bothered by the possibility that online learning would make good communication skills even more rare.