After finishing the connect express program, I can say that it was a very fruitful and fun experience. This platform of online communication has an edge to other platforms which is not due to technological advantages, but due to the flow of conversation that is unique to others. The idea of only one being able to talk at a time is very important and having a facilitator guiding the conversation at first was critical. I enjoyed very much getting to know other people and their ethnic backgrounds while also understanding how they think as individuals. The idea of online communication for me isn’t the best thing in the world because I tend to overthink if I should talk or not whereas in real life, I would be more confident. Still nonetheless, I believe I had my fair share of talking time and was able to clarify certain things about myself and my background to my fellow colleagues.
In relation to the course, we talked about certain topics such as stereotypes and biases, but I’m glad our group was able to do so in a constructive manner. Each of us had the opportunity to say what stereotypes they had about each other then we each had a turn of saying what we usually get stereotyped as the most. What interested me the most is that this time no one stereotyped Egyptians still living in pyramids and using camels as a mode of transportation which was a nice change of pace. Moreover, I enjoyed our attempt to solve the issue of stereotyping where one individual of my group suggested promoting good stereotypes about people since we can’t eliminate stereotyping at all. This led to a debate where we couldn’t reach a middle ground, but still it was refreshing hearing new ideas and talking about topics we usually don’t talk about. Having the time to listen to others not only saying their opinion on certain matters, but why they formed this opinion was new because you now know why they think in that way therefore you are able to better communicate with that person. This is what I believe online communication was able to give better than face-to-face because each of us took our time before talking and didn’t just debate meaninglessly.
Now that I have done this experience, I could say that I learned a thing or two on how to have more constructive communications whether it be online or face-to-face. The idea of having only one person talking at a time and others taking a minute to think about what they said is an important factor, but also having someone acting as a facilitator is sometimes critical. I had the opportunity recently to have a “bonding experience” with a group of people where we had turns to talk and had someone act as a facilitator and the topic itself was not something of debate, but more of a personal question. The outcome was extraordinary and the feeling of closeness most of us had to each other after the conversation ended was amazing.