Two Tin Cans and a String: Teaching Liberal Arts Online

By Elizabeth Drake-Boyt

#1 Tool box Basics

Remember that old-time kids’ “telephone” entertainment of stretching a string taut between two tin cans? Magically, voices sounded as if they were right next to each other despite the fact that the speakers were not visible to one another. There were a few limitations. For example, it was important to take turns; one person spoke while the other listened in a cumulative sequence of conversation or it didn’t work. And sooner or later, someone forgot to keep the string tight so the flow of conversation was interrupted. It was very simple; a tool that got the job done. Two tin cans and a string served the basic arrangement of all public discourse; listening and speaking in turn to build a cumulative exchange of information, shape ideas, formulate plans, or manage negotiations. Continue reading