Hi everyone, as we are well into Week 8 you should be working on your facilitation plan for your final facilitation project. I have heard from a few of you and it looks like you are going to work independently on this project. We transition into Week 9 and more formal planning for and presentation of your final facilitation project/assignment. Once you have your plans in, we will need to work out a schedule for Weeks 10 and 11 so that we can all participate in each other’s seminars.
Please read the project guidelines that are posted for Week 8 as well as the Assignment 2 Facilitation Plan assessment rubric. Both will help anchor your writing. Your personal philosophy, KWL charts and course readings on the facilitation models have been scaffolding activities for your planning.
Weeks 6-7 wrap-up
I have really enjoyed your KWL charts and links of how this relates to your personal philosophies. Your KWL charts show a great diversity of interests and approaches and you have provided well-founded explanations for which facilitation model you feel most reflects your values and approaches to teaching.
• Things you know: technology can be a challenge, establishing a safe place for social engagement is important, presence and facilitation (initiating, prompting, moderating, weaving) are important elements, it can be challenging for both the teacher and students, student-centered, flexible and personalized, authenticity
• Things you want to know more about: universal (or inclusive) design, cultural best practices, methods for building community, activities to keep students motivated, engaging learners who are not present, accessibility (where there may be limited connectivity), how to build interactive sites (using social technologies), how to find resources and activities
Hootstein’s four pair of shoes seemed to resonate, particularly as a framework for guiding facilitation activities. Arlene provided a great visual presentation with the “four shoes” as an anchor. Berge’s ideas about being a “guide on the side” was also mentioned in more than one post, but Susan also pointed out this model is more focused on the “e-moderator” rather than the student/learner. Both Fabian and Tashmyra used the four areas, technical, social, managerial, and pedagogical, as an outline for their own roles. The Community of Inquiry (COI) framework (https://coi.athabascau.ca/) outlines similar elements in the description of teaching presences, but goes beyond the Berge model to also focus on what the students are doing through the social and cognitive presence realms.
Tashmyra identified with the ideas presented in the Dron & Anderson chapter and highlighted her focus on the concepts of promoting ‘building community’, ‘student engagement’ and ‘active learning’ in online environments. Others highlighted this as well, as a main goal for your own online teaching and learning practice is establishing and managing social connections, through active learning that will help motivate and engage students.
A missing piece: managing your workload
In an online classroom, the natural limitations of specified classroom times, contact hours and offices are absent. Your virtual interactions and availability could be limitless so awareness of the challenges of time management and the coping strategies that have been developed by experienced online facilitators should be examined. Managing your workload is a balancing act, where you need to decide how much time you will spend on each aspect of facilitation. The following resources provide some strategies:
“Manage the Online Workload” prepared by Leeward College
“A Teachers Guide to Moderating Online Discussion Forums: From Theory to Practice” by Feenburg, Xin and Glass. Look at A review of Moderating Functions and The Problem of Weaving.
In your facilitation plan you may want to highlight some strategies to manage your workload and balance your time between facilitating your activity and participating as a learner in other team activities.