Conflict management

  1. Avoid arguments, interpretations, and judgmental conversations

A simple rule to avoid this is to ask yourself: If this person were present would you say the same thing virtually?

  1. Recognition of emotions and availability

The key in this aspect, is to respect and take care of ourselves, spend a few minutes calming the emotional state, taking responsibility for it, and, consequently, act on the basis of a “why” in which we address our needs and opinions assertively.

  1. Respect time – reciprocity is not an obligation

Sending online communications during off-work hours is to be considered as if we were making a call or meeting at an inappropriate time. Respecting hourly limits is essential for the use of technology.

  1. Face-to-face interactions

It is highly desirable to maintain “face-to-face” social interactions: turn off the device when it’s possible.

  1. Type of messages (with emotional content)

If we are in the situation where assertively, we have to defend an idea/person/issue we recommend personal attention with a voice call or a text message in which we express the need to “talk” personally and by appropriate means. This is to avoid misunderstandings related to text messages.

Social networks allow to communicate and maintain relationships beyond presence.

However, some interactions are problematic and sometimes result in real arguments.

Our thinking, as Daniel Kahneman points out, proceeds in two directions: there is the instinctive, irrational and hyper-emotional thinking and there is the more thoughtful and reflective thinking.

In social media, emotions of the moment and speed prevail. One does not have the opportunity to think – the solution would be to stop and reflect so as not to respond instinctively, but by weighing communication actions according to the “First Weigh Then Post

The invitation is to use slow thinking, which distinguishes, compares, verifies, and does not get sidetracked by the moment. As Austin (1975) suggests to us, communication should transform into a welcoming and educational, non-confrontational relationship space.

Network users experience a desire for conformity that leads them to adapt to what others say to avoid conflict situations, often providing our approval without delving into the content-only followers.

If conflict erupts online, how to limit it?

We recommend using assertive writing – tailored to the reader, communication goal and context.

It is also very important to read again what you have written, take time to reflect, and find ways to confront in person.

Teaching Online interaction and collaboration

In order to teach the students to interact and collaborate effectively in an online setting, it is important to replicate and analyze online behaviors in class, so to show how aggressiveness and hostile communication can affect other people feelings and mental wellness.

All those teaching techniques which favor teamwork and empathy are therefore particularly effective in helping the students to acquire the competences addressed in this module.

Here a list of techniques and digital tools that can be useful when you want to address these topics:

Teaching techniques:

  • Brainstorming
  • Jigsaw
  • Role playing and role taking
  • Peer learning and evaluation

Digital tools:

  • Padlet
  • Miro
  • Jamboard (Google Suite for Education)
  • Google Doc (for collaborative editing)