Supporting Respectful Dialogue & Building Community in Out of Eden Learn FAQs & Suggested Practices for Educators

The Out of Eden Learn team is committed to making our site a safe and respectful environment for all participants. We need the help of all community members – including youth and educators – to make this happen.

Our Community Guidelines and Dialogue Toolkit are cornerstones of our efforts to build a positive community.  We ask that educators discuss these resources as follows:

  • Please review and discuss our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines with your students before they begin their learning journeys. These guidelines reflect our interest in promoting communication that is both authentic and respectful.

  • Review and discuss the Dialogue Toolkit with students. The Toolkit is designed to encourage students to be thoughtful in their exchanges with others on Out of Eden Learn. Icons representing different dialogue tools appear in the comment box as reminders of the kinds of comments students can make on each other’s posts. For an overview of the rationale for the Dialogue Toolkit, check out this blog post.

  • Examples of Out of Eden Learn students using the dialogue tools can be found here and here.

  • Encourage students to pause and reflect after writing a post or comment and before clicking "Post." Questions for reflection might include: Do you know the meanings of the words you are using in your post/comment?  How could your post or comment be interpreted by different members of the community? Could someone feel uncomfortable with or hurt by something you are posting?  How might they feel? What kinds of online comments might upset you? How might you change the wording of your post to prevent any concerns?

  • Throughout the learning journey, periodically engage students in close looking and reflective conversations about their own posts and comments, and those of other students in the community, in light of the Community Guidelines and Dialogue tools.

  • Make both the Community Guidelines and Dialogue Toolkit visible in your classroom or learning context as a reminder to students. (Use our printer-friendly handouts of the Community Guidelines and Dialogue Toolkit.)

 

On the whole, Out of Eden Learn is a positive, respectful community. However, on occasion, situations arise that require us to underscore the values of our community and our guidelines for interacting with one another. Below, we address the following frequently asked questions and provide suggestions for supporting positive exchanges and handling any concerns that may arise:

Who is monitoring Out of Eden Learn?

What kinds of posts or comments are inappropriate?

How can inappropriate posts or comments be edited and reported?

     If you notice an inappropriate post/comment from one of YOUR students

     If you or one of your students notices a concerning post/comment from someone who is NOT one of your students

What are some strategies for talking with students about inappropriate or concerning posts?

     If one of YOUR students posts something inappropriate

If you or your students observe something inappropriate

Who is monitoring Out of Eden Learn?

The Out of Eden Learn team at Project Zero actively looks at student posts on our website. However, it is impossible for us to monitor everything, especially as our community continues to expand. Our model relies on educators and students reading posts and comments carefully, and letting us know about anything inappropriate.  

What kinds of posts or comments are inappropriate?

  • Posts that tease others, including people who are members of your class.

  • Posts that are cruel or bullying.

  • Posts or comments that include negative statements about a person or whole groups of people (e.g., a nationality, a race or ethnicity, a gender, a religion, etc.)

  • Posts that will likely make others feel uncomfortable – e.g., a sexually suggestive photo.

  • Posts that include personal information about the student who is posting and therefore violate our privacy Terms of Service – e.g., one’s own or another person’s email or Facebook address, home address, photo.

How can inappropriate posts or comments be edited and reported?

If you notice an inappropriate or concerning post/comment from one of YOUR students:

FOR POSTS: Please ask your student to reflect on what was written and explain your concerns. See suggested strategies for talking with students below. Students can edit their posts by following these steps:

  • Log into the website and click on their Homebase.

  • Scroll down to their Activity Feed and find the relevant post.

  • Click on the blue edit post button.

FOR COMMENTS: Inappropriate comments cannot be edited by educators or students, but they can be deleted by the student who posted the comment. If you notice a concerning comment, you should click on the blue flag button next to the comment to alert the Project Zero team who will review and decide on an appropriate course of action. Please allow 48 hours for us to respond as we do not receive automatic updates regarding flagged posts.

If you or one of your students notices a concerning post/comment from someone who is NOT one of your students:

FOR POSTS: Please email us at learn@outofedenwalk.com. We will review and decide on an appropriate course of action. We will also contact the relevant educator so that they can talk with the individual student. Please allow 48 hours for us to respond.

FOR COMMENTS: You and/or your student can click the blue flag button next to the comment and we will be notified. Please allow48 hours for us to respond.

What are some strategies for talking with students about inappropriate or concerning posts?

If one of your students posts something inappropriate on Out of Eden Learn, we would appreciate you making the incident a "teachable moment" for the individual student and the rest of the class in ways that do not humiliate the student who may have made a genuine mistake. We recommend the following strategies:

  • Talk with the student individually. Ask some questions in order to explore his/her thinking behind the post or comment. For example: Do you know the meanings of the words you are using in your post/comment?  How could your post or comment be interpreted by different members of the community? Could someone feel uncomfortable with or hurt by something you are posting?  How might they feel? What kinds of online comments might upset you? How might you change the wording of your post to prevent any concerns?

  • Talk with the entire class. Without calling specific attention to the concerning post, revisit and review the Out of Eden Learn Community Guidelines. Underscore the importance of being authentic (“Be Yourself”) but also respectful (“Be Respectful”). If your class has an additional set of norms for in-class or online communication, revisit those norms as well. As part of this conversation, ask students to review their own Out of Eden Learn posts/comments and consider how their posts might be perceived by others.

  • For discussions with the individual student AND with the full class: The perspective-taking thinking routines, Step Inside and Circle of Viewpoints, may be helpful resources. It’s important to note, however, that the goal of the routines is not to gain a complete understanding of another person’s perspective; that would be impossible. Instead, the routines are best framed as starting points for trying to understand someone else’s point of view and for bringing up information gaps and new questions (What do I need to know in order to understand another person’s point of view better?)

If you or your students observe something inappropriate or concerning posted by another student on Out of Eden Learn, we also suggest that you make the incident a “teachable moment.”

  • Engage students in a discussion of productive strategies for responding to posts or comments that are inappropriate, disrespectful, or otherwise concerning. For example, asking in a respectful manner about the intent behind the post/comment (What do you mean?); naming alternative perspectives and concerns (This comment makes me uncomfortable because…); suggesting resources that might share different points of view (This article/book/resource provides a perspective worth considering).

  • Use this moment to underscore the importance of authentic yet respectful engagement. Revisit and review the Out of Learn Community Guidelines and, if applicable, class-specific norms for communication. Ask students to review their own posts, as suggested above.

  • Again, the perspective-taking thinking routines, Step Inside and Circle of Viewpoints, may be helpful resources. It’s important to note, however, that the goal of these routines is not to gain a complete understanding of another person’s perspective; that would be impossible. Instead, the routines are best framed as starting points for trying to understand someone else’s point of view and for bringing up information gaps and new questions (What do I need to know in order to understand another person’s point of view better?)