Soliya is an online educational platform that has been made available to the next generation to learn about and discuss the different cultures, bias, othering, equity, etc. Through the program participants are able to negotiate several topics from different perspectives, while respecting different viewpoints. Soliya is a comfortable platform for many, my group seemed to be very comfortable to talk about controversial topics without being afraid of being discriminated or judged. Moreover, the base of the group that was set by the facilitator was very friendly and engaging, being able to be attentive to everyone in the group and moderating the conversation so that everyone got a chance to speak was admirable.
Sadly, I was only able to attend two sessions the first and the last. During the first session we introduced ourselves and told each other why we are a part of this program. Honestly, I did not enjoy the first session at all since I spent the whole time trying to connect but there was a problem with all of the group. The problem for me in the first session was that I could not get hold of the conversation or the discussion, we were cutting at different times so every few minutes we miss out on a part of the discussion. The last session; however, was great. We started the session with the facilitator asking us what we would like to base the activity on, and the chosen topic was being misunderstood due to your language. I really enjoyed this discussion as I learned a lot about the group. We also talked about the importance of the digital platforms for education, which was similar to what we discussed in class so I felt comfortable talking about this subject.
Even though I only attended two sessions I guess I can answer the questions requested by Soliya.
Question 1: How does the dialogue in Connect Express differ from other types of online?
My group discussed this question during the last session, and the most common opinion that arose was the fact that Connect Express is mainly for educational purposes. I learned from my group that two of them, like myself, joined Soliya for a CORE class in university. I also learned that another two joined Soliya to improve their English skills by speaking English for two hours straight. I also recall that one person in our group joined the program to learn about the different cultures to deal with people from around the world. All this information made me realize that the dialogue in Connect Express differs from other types of online communication in several ways. One difference is the educational purpose that I stated before. Another difference is the security and privacy of the discussion, having the space to speak to the group about several topics without being watched or censored makes Soliya very unique. One last thing that, in my opinion, gives Soliya an edge is that they provide the platform for people to find their need be it educational or bare interest.
Question 2: What did you learn about the type of communicator you are in the digital world?
Similar to the type of communicator I am in the non-digital world, I am quite open in sharing personal experiences and discussing several people’s viewpoints in life. However, I am more comfortable in texting or I prefer writing a status, than discussing topics verbally online. I think I’m a bit old school in this point, I’d rather have a face to face discussion than a video call or conference.
Question 3: What can you do to foster constructive communication both online and in face-to-face interactions?
For any form of communication to be constructive both ends of the discussion or the dialogue have to be understanding of each other. The most important aspect of fostering constructive communication both online and in face-to-face interaction is to recognize that we are all different and we should respect each other despite our differences.
All in all, the Soliya experience is a new way to shorten the distances between people, allowing them to comprehend the different cultures and perspectives.