Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thank you, FO2010

This is pretty much the last blog post for FO2010.

I wanted to thank you all for your participation and commitment for the course this year. There are a couple of people who are yet to organise their events, so keep an eye out for information on how to join them.

I have really enjoyed myself, yet at the same time am left asking questions about how the course can be improved to increase a community approach to learning, and retain more people right the way through to the end of the course. A few of you have given me some really useful feedback for how things may be refined for next year, so 'thank you' for that. Please keep an eye on my blog over the next few weeks because that is where I will process the feedback I have received with the suggestions for next year.

The next course will start on March 7th 2011. There will be some changes to the funding model we use. There will continue to be free access to the course materials, blogs and the live sessions. However, there will be a charge if you want to have individual mentoring by the course facilitator. I will announce details about this once they have been finalised.

Finally, I will be starting a research project shortly that is going to explore open education and how we can attract and retain people in courses such as this. So look out for information about how you can be involved.

Thank you all once again for contributing to the success of FO2010. I would like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas break and success in 2011.


Image: 'Warm Fuzzies'

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nearly done....

I can't believe it...another mini conference almost over. We do have a couple of outliers, so keep an ear open for when those sessions will be. In the meantime, Lyn has organised her event for Thursday 18th November at 4pm New Zealand time, and she will be facilitating a conversation about how (or how not) to use Facebook for online facilitation - keep an eye on her blog and/or the course wiki for all the details.

For those of you who used the Elluminate classroom and recorded your session, let me know and I will send you the link to your recording. Please can you put your recording on your blog and in the course wiki.

Enrolled students
Those of you who are enrolled, please check assignments one and two and make sure you have addressed all the requirements. Once you are happy that your blog contains everything that is needed, please get in touch with me and let me know so that I can complete your work assessment.

NB: the submission date is the 19th November, but if you need a little longer, please let me know. Some of you who already have extension dates, so please stick to those dates as agreed.

Informal students
Those of you who have been taking part as informal student, please let me know when you feel you have met all the requirements of the assignments and if you want a certificate of completion.

Course evaluation and future research
Enrolled students will be asked to complete a formal course evaluation. I will be carrying out a formal research project in early 2011, looking at open education and funding models so I will be getting in touch with you to ask your opinion about this course, what attracted you to it, what made you complete the course and/or what got in the way of you completing the course - more about that research later.

Thank you...
for all the hard work you put into the mini conference. I hope you enjoyed yourselves. I look forward to reading your reflections. Sarah

November 15th Sum up of course and evaluation of mini event

So, did we survive the course mini conference? More importantly, did we learn a thing or two about facilitating online and our responsibilities to our online community, network, virtual team or class? This week we reflect on the experience and make note of the things that happened and what we learned from it all.

Web Conferencing
Attend an Elluminate meeting to debrief the mini conference and the course. You have a choice of two times:

1. Finish the course with a closing post with feedback about the course. Did you learn new and useful things? Was it challenging enough? What could have been better? What could you have done better. Did the course facilitator do a good job? How will you apply what you have learned? Who would you recommend to do this course next time?
2. Students who are enrolled will be asked to complete a formal course evaluation.
3. Complete Assignment Two.

Image: 'Flaming Lips New Years Eve Freakout'

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sustainability in the e-World

Here is a late edition to the mini conference program.

Title of the Event: Driving change into an on line society via sustainable practices
Date and Time: Wednesday 10 November, 1pm NZ time
Facilitator Peter Brook: peter.brook@op.ac.nz
Presenter: Nicola Bould. Nicola is the sustainability coordinator for Otago Polytechnic which has made a strong commitment in this area. She has researched many aspects of a sustainable society and her talk will focus on e-waste, exemplars and collaborative strategies.
Venue: : Elluminate meeting room. Here is information about how to access the virtual meeting room
Description: While social networking and collaborative tools have changed they way we communicate there still remains the unsatisfied question of how we can sustain this in a world of more difficult compliance and decreasing resources.
Back Up Plan:If there is a total IT failure, we will record another presenter session on Elluminate and open an asynchronous discussion over the next week in Peter's Blog
Recording Information: Will be recorded and available on Peter's blog
Evaluation : It would be appreciated if participants could answer a few simple questions to provide the faciliatators with some constructive feedback. Please go to Peter's blog to answer the questions and leave comments

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Great second week lined up for the FO2010 mini conference

The first week of the mini conference is done and we're about to launch into the second week. There were two great sessions this week: Gillian and Malcolm did a fantastic job which got us thinking about networking in a large organisation, and Sebastian introduced us to the brilliant work being done in education in India.

Next week things are really hotting up with more sessions with a range of topics.
  • Building a Successful Blog
  • Which lollies in this on-line facilitation lolly jar
  • Cultural Competency in the online environment
  • Creating an online prescence
  • Pulling It All Together: Wrapping it Up and Reflecting on FO2010 with Karen, Mark and Tracy
Please check out the wiki for full details.

Please do all you can to come along and support each other.

Image: 'Plone Conference 2009 Group Photo'

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mini conference starts next week

We have now come to my favourite part of FO2010....the mini conference. Make sure you check out the schedule so you know exactly what is happening, where and when. Please can I encourage you to attend and participate in as many events as you can in order to support the people facilitating the events :)

Here is the recording of the meeting we had this week in which we discussed last minute details about the mini conference: click here for recording. Several issues cropped up that I would ask you to consider if you are organising an event for the mini conference.

Use your blog for getting organised - not just for letting us know what's happening, but also to work through any issues. Use us...your blogging network...to help you sort out problems and clarify details. Have a look at this post by Lynn in which she shares some ideas and uses her readers to frame up her event.

Information for participants
Make sure you have very clear details about your event on the wiki. Remember that complete strangers will be looking at this page and may be joining your event. So it is imperative that you make every step very clear.
  • Make sure you have linked to information about how to use the technology eg Elluminate
  • Make it very clear how to get to your event eg if you are using the Elluminate room, please put the link to the room.
  • Put details about your back-up plan. What will you do if your primary technology fails? For example, if you plan to use Skype as back-up, how will you organise this?
Marketing your event
Please make sure you inform everyone about your event in plenty of time. At the very least, put the details of your event on:
You are extremely welcome to invite people outside FO2010...the more the merrier. After all, you will not have a job as an online facilitator if you cannot drum up an audience. I will also be marketing the mini conference to my networks so be prepared to have people turn up who you do not know...and remember...these people may not be familiar with the technology you are using.

All the best to everyone, both facilitators and attendees. Have fun :) :) Sarah

Image: 'Free Pretty Pink & Purple Party Balloons+Creative+Commons'

Monday, October 25, 2010

Count down to the mini conference

We are starting our count down to the mini conference. You will see that people are putting information about their event on the wiki page, so keep an eye on what's being planned. I have also put together a Google calender and am feeding in dates/times which may make it easier to see when there are free time slots. I have also posted in my availability or lack there of.

Here's the recording to last week's discussion about the mini conference - I think we sorted out a few issues that had arisen:

We will have one last Elluminate meeting to answer any remaining questions on Thursday 28th October 09.00 hours (World Clock). However, if you cannot make that meeting and you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. Sarah

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Needing help to set up a calendar

I have been trying to set up a Google Calendar which I can embed into this blog, which will help us organise ourselves better for the mini conference. But as yet...I have had terrible trouble with one thing and another. So...can anyone help me and show me...or set up a calendar...it doesn't have to be a Google Calendar if there is a good alternative. Sarah

Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 18th Preparing for the course mini conference

In these two weeks you will focus on the event that you are facilitating as part of the course mini conference. The idea is for you to organise something for the conference, such as a guest speaker or a discussion panel through webconference; a discussion forum on a social networking platform; or assisting with the preparation and promotion of the mini conference generally. This will be your chance to facilitate real events online, and to experience the dimensions to facilitation online.
  • Identify a topic of interest expressed by participants in this course.
    • Create a title for the event.
    • Develop an aim for the event.
  • Arrange for a guest speaker, panel or other online activity.
  • Negotiate with the guest speaker/s, arrange times and locations.
  • Coordinate your session with the course facilitator and other students in the course wiki.
  • Promote the event in your blog, on the course wiki and with your online and face-to-face contacts and networks
    • Develop a contact list
    • Create a flier
  • Describe what technical support services you will need to make use of
  • Develop a contingency plan for technical problems, poor or over attendance, and other disruptions
  • Indicate whether recording will be done and where it will be made available after the event
  • Indicate how you are going to evaluate your event
Join the virtual class meeting in Elluminate to discuss last minute details and queries about the mini conference on Tuesday 19th October 19.30 hours New Zealand (World Clock). This session will be facilitated by Karen Wilson.

1. Add your event name and details to the course course mini conference page.
2. Start a discussion thread for your event in the course mini conference discussion page, and monitor discussion.
3. Post your plan details to your blog.

Image: 'reflections for the day'

How to paste a website url into Wikieducator

Here is a video to show you how to paste a website url into Wikieducator, using Tinyurl.com. It is especially important to follow this process when you use the world clock website.


How to work out times throughout the world

When you are planning your online event for the FO2010 mini conference, it is important you let others know the time of your meeting - it is especially helpful if you are able to tell people what time the meeting is in their own time zone. To do that, I recommend you use the website: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock

Here is a video that will show you how to convert your time zone into international time zones.


Summary: Week of the 11th October 2010

This week was the last theory week, which means things start to get really exciting as we start to prepare our online events for the mini conference in November. People are starting to plan their events, so check out the mini conference wiki page to see what ideas people are playing with. Don't forget to add to the discussions that are behind that wiki page where people are asking for ideas and support, as well as sharing tips and advice.

DON'T FORGET to check with me first about date/time, to make sure I am free to attend your event (especially the formal students and the informal students who are aiming to collect a certificate of participation/completion) before you advertise your event.

Next Elluminate meeting
We will be having an Elluminate meeting next week on Tuesday 19th October at 7.30pm (World Clock) to discuss the mini conference, so if you have any questions, please feel free to come to this meeting.

How to...
This week I was asked how to work out times across international time zones - here is a video that shows you how to use the world clock website and here is another video that shows you how to link to the world clock in Wikieducator.

A few ideas
In the meantime, people have been playing with ideas for the mini conference. Lyn is interested in thinking more about how to facilitate online using Facebook. Jane is planning on a panel debate and would like volunteers to help her. Carole has been summing up what she knows about reflective practice and has concluded that she will use Voicethread to facilitate a discussion about ePortfolios, and tie this in with the work she is doing with the ePortfolio community.

My last plea...
is that when you are thinking about your event and the mini conference, try not to focus too much on tools. Yes...we need the tools to be able to hold online conversations. But online facilitation is as much, if not more, about processes...how we communicate online...what is good practice...how we're are sustainable and culturally competent...how we build online networks and communities...how we engage people... and so on. So I hope some of you will look at expanding our knowledge on these issues, as well as the tools we can use.

We had a fabulous meeting this week, talking to Nellie Deutsch about how we evaluate our work as online facilitators - the recording can be found here. Kim did a brilliant job of facilitating the meeting in Wiziq and gave us a very good feel for how this particular free web conferencing tool works - have a read of her reflection because she has given full details about what and what not to do. Tracy really enjoyed this session and felt the quality of Wiziq was very good.

What some of the others have been up to
Karen has been thinking about cultural competence in the online environment. She asks "How do we create ways of being together [online] that create authenticity and freedom?" I would be interested to see your thoughts about this on her blog post. Matt is very excited because his experiment of doing FO2010 on his mobile phone has been made easier by a new application - you'll have to go to his blog to find out what it is!

Hope you all have a great weekend. Looks like I am going to be making the most of the lovely weather here in Dunedin and getting on with some gardening. Sarah :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

October 11th Evaluating and reflecting on an event

An important element of online facilitation is the evaluation of your event, project, meeting or learning activity both in terms of the outcomes of the event and your own performance. There is usually two parts to this process: self-assessment and reflection, and evaluation by participants. The results of your reflections and evaluation will act as a foundation for your planning of future activities. Questions you may wish to ask.
  • What went well, and what did not go so well?
  • What did the participants and the facilitator learn?
  • How was the event organised and promoted?
  • How adequate and relevant was the information about the event/activity?
  • Was technical support provided, and how adequate was it?
  • How relevant the meeting/activity/event for the audience and participants?
  • How was the event managed? How effective was the handling of disruptions?
  • Did all participants know where they were supposed to be and when?
  • How was the facilitation?
    • How was the stage set and participants welcomed, introductions made, aims explained?
    • Did the facilitator remain neutral and how did he deal with conflict or cultural differences?
    • How was the event concluded and outcomes summarised? What recordings and follow up materials were provided?
  • How should things be done in the future?


Join the virtual class meeting in WiziQ - Tuesday 12th October 9am New Zealand time (World Clock). Dr Nellie Deutsch will be joining us to talk about evaluation strategies. Nellie is an expert in facilitating and designing online workshops on WikiEducator on how to use the wiki and collaborate, on IT4ALL Moodle on WebQuests, Moodle for Teachers (M4T), and Professional Electronic Portfolios (PEP), and in Blended Learning. She researched instructor experiences in implementing technology in blended learning courses in higher education. Nellie is also an expert user of WiziQ and will be passing on some tips on how to use it effectively. This session will be facilitated by Kim McLean.

  • WiziQ is another free tool you may be interested in if you are a business or non-profit organisation. Information about how to use WiziQ can be found here.

1. Bronwyn Hegarty has developed a framework that supports personal reflection. Read about the Hegarty Reflective Framework and Template and listen to the recording of an Elluminate presentation Bronwyn gave about how to use this reflective framework for evaluating your online facilitation. This recording is also available as a mp3.
2. Read this guide to survey design by SurveyMonkey: Smart Survey Design.
3. You may wish to reflect on your experience of using WiziQ in your blog, and compare it with all the web conferencing tools you have used over the last few weeks.

  • What worked well?
  • What did not go so well?
  • What skills or resources do you need to network and facilitate meetings using WiziQ?
  • How do you see yourself using WiziQ in the future, if at all, for online facilitation?
  • How does WiziQ compare with DimDim, Skype and Elluminate? What will your preferred web conference tool be in the future and why?

Image: 'espejo'

What we've been up to over the last two weeks

I wasn't going to write a summary post for the last two weeks because to be honest, I was quite enjoying our little break. But a few people have been taking advantage of the break and catching up with things, such as Karen who has been fighting computer gremlins but looks like she's winning :)

A few of us had another play with the free version of DimDim. I was very impressed with how supportive the support team has been - I have had a couple of telephone chats with Noor in India. However, I am disappointed to see that DimDim's functions appear to have changed from the last time I used it - it appears that only the meeting organiser can use the audio function which means you can only have a one-way conversation. Nevertheless, Karen has a suggestion about how that problem can be overcome.

Second Life
A small group of us also had a little look around Second Life. Tracy really enjoyed her visit and found it to be much more fun than when she looked around SL by herself.

Footnote: It is free to have a SL avatar and go into SL, but you have to pay for land. Linden Lab, the company who owns SL has just announced they are putting up their prices for educators and non-profits. This may have the effect of driving communities to other virtual worlds such as OpenSim. So, if you are interested in using virtual worlds for online facilitation, it may be worth your while having a look at other options to Second Life.

Catching up
Karen Wilson has been reflecting on how much more difficult it is to be culturally competent online compared to face-to-face when you have visual cues to guide you. Sharon is getting her head around Twitter and found an excellent resource to guide your thinking about online communication tools. Willie has been thinking about Web 3.0. Jean has been exploring ideas about online learning. Sebastion has been catching up with recordings of sessions and reflecting on what it means to be an online facilitator. Katherine has been hanging out with Steve Wheeler, who is one of my 'heros'...so I am feeling pretty jealous of her. At the same time, I was intrigued by her reaction to the session that Steve ran at a conference she attended.

Mini conference
Mark has been thinking about the mini conference and has written some great reflective questions you might want to use to help you with your planning. Tania has a VoiceThread conversation on her blog - please go along and contribute for two reasons. Firstly, it will add to the learning of the young student who has put this VoiceThread together. Secondly, it will give you an idea about a communication tool you may wish to use for your event...especially if you are thinking about facilitating an asynchronous event.

Look forward to catching up with you all next week as we enter the final section of FO2010 and start preparing for the mini conference. Sarah :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

WizIQ preparation

In preparation for next weeks session in WizIQ Sarah and I have been playing around (testing) in WizIQ classroom.

You will find the platform a little different to Elluminate although many features are similar they are just in different places or have different access.

Audio (speaking), write (writing on whiteboard) and video control must be provided to you by the facilitator/moderator (which in WizIQ are referred to as 'teachers'). You are able to request this access by clicking on the icons next to your name, and the facilitator will allow access.

You will need to join WizIQ with a minimum of your name and email address then you choose a password, which only takes a few moments. Once you are a 'learner' you can add as much or little information about yourself, you can also choose to become a 'teacher' to use WizIQ for future sessions. There is no cost however you can choose to upgrade to Premium package.

You can get a feel for WizIQ by taking a look at the You Tube clips on the course Wiki under Resources - How to use WizIQ.

System Requirements

In preparation for the session you are able to conduct system configuration and device tests or you can simply prepare to arrive a few minutes earlier for Tuesday's session to conduct the tests then (allow at least 5 mins to check things out and troubleshoot if something is not working). I will be available via email 15 mins prior to commencement of session but the class will not become visible until the commencement time.

Minimum system requirements are...for audio only=512 kbps, for video and audio=1mbps. NB:you will not be required to be viewed via webcam so audio is only neccessary.

If you use Wifi you will find the audio cuts in and out, I suggest you connect to a port if possible just for this session to achieve optimal audio.

Also for optimal audio results it is preferred to use a headset with a mic, to ensure there are no echo issues.

Supported web browsers for WizIQ .... Internet Explorer 6, Mozilla firefox 3.5, Google Chrome and for Macs ... Safari.

Launching the class

To launch simply click on Orange button.

You are able to conduct the system check before you enter the class by clicking on link below 'launch class'.

When you have launched the session you will see a privacy box that requests access to your camera and mic. which you will need to click 'Allow' for access. As mentioned the session will not become visible until right on time, you will see a countdown to start time.

Communication during the session

You will find we can communicate as we normally do in Elluminate,there is a chatbox to type your comments and also some fun emoticons to use. You can send messages to individuals via chat or to 'All'.

Back-up plan

As always the back up plan will be our usual Elluminate room just in case there are any major access problems for the group to WizIQ. We will communicate this to you at the time if required.

I am really excited about facilitating in WizIQ and I look forward to speaking to you all on Tuesday. Nellie will offer some great insight into evaluation and reflection from her vast experience as a facilitator aswell as having an amazing technical expertise in using WizIQ.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Chances to practice facilitating online meetings in Elluminate

Here are a couple of opportunities to practice your online facilitation skills in Elluminate. If you're nervous about doing it on your own, let me know and I'll "support" you. Sarah

World OT Day
The World OT Day is 24 hours of sessions on the 27th October. This event runs around the 24 hour world clock so there should be a time zone that suits you where ever you are in the world. Please contact Merrolee Penman for more details:
Open access week
The other opportunity is Open Access Week which runs from the 18th - 22nd October. The sessions are at lunch time, New Zealand time. Please contact Wayne Mackintosh if you'd like to volunteer to facilitate one of these sessions:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Road trip into Second Life

I will be hosting a road trip to Second Life on Thursday 7th October 17.00 hours NZ time (World Clock). If you are interested in joining me, please set up your avatar and download Second Life onto your computer - more information can be found here.

Once you have your avatar name, please let me know what it is. My SL name is: Petal Stransky.

Please go to the Virtual Birth Unit in SL to meet me: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Kowhai/82/213/35/

If you don't think you can manage that, please accept my offer to be your friend, then I'll be able to teleport you to my location. If that all fails, keep in touch with me on Skype and I'll talk you through what you have to do. Hope to see you on Thursday Sarah :)

How to get started in Second Life

In order to access Second Life, you need to do two things.

The first thing is to set up an account and develop your avatar. There are heaps of videos on YouTube that will help you work your way through this process such as this one.

The next thing you need to do is download Second Life onto your computer. Second Life is a complex platform that uses a lot of internet band width and specific computer hardware, so it is worth checking first that you have a computer that will support SL.

Here is a guidebook that will help you learn the basics about SL. Another place that is full of fantastic information about Second Life is the Jokaydia wiki.

I think the key to finding your way in SL is to network with people who use it a lot. Here are a few SL communities - please let me know if you across others.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Summary of the week of the 20th September

I'm rather late with my summary of last week. I've been off to a conference enjoying myself, and talking about you guys :) I would like to welcome Sebastian Panakal - he is working his way through the course so drop along to his blog and say 'hello'.

Jane is setting up her consultancy business and thinking a lot about how she can develop online networks; what online communities to access, and how to leverage technology....a lot of things for her to consider over the next few weeks. Carole has written a very detailed description of how she is facilitating the ePortfolio community she has set up along with the tools she is using. Jean has been reflecting on how she has engaged with Twitter. Folke is just relived he has got rid of the chipmunk in his system. Meantime, Willie is questioning the value of technology, feeling that it drives or restrains what we do rather than the other way around.

Cultural competency
Jillian has started thinking about cultural competency and looking for resources that will help her identify what she needs to know ie dealing with the feeling that she doesn't know what she doesn't know. Matt has come up with a practical list of things to consider when working online with people of other cultures. Kim has been talking about her experience of cultural differences between two apparently culturally similar countries, New Zealand and Australia. On the other hand, Malcolm is feeling pessimistic about the whole issue believing that being "aware of your own assumptions" is a lot easier said than done.

I am thinking that cultural competency in the online environment would be a good topic to explore in the mini conference. So if you're interested in thinking about this, let me know...I have a couple of people who I can recommend as speakers for this topic.

Last week we had a great discussion about your assignments, and spent some time looking at what is required for the mini conference. The recording of the discussion can be found here. The key points were:
  • your event can be synchronous or asynchronous;
  • your role in your event is to facilitate, not to be the speaker. So if you planning on facilitating a synchronous event, you'll need to arrange a speaker or speakers;
  • the topic must be of interest to participants and relevance to the topics we have been exploring in the course.
Please let me know on the email group or here on this blog if you have any queries.

Second Life
We also had a great meeting with KerryJ learning about how to use Second Life for facilitating online - recording here. Kerry has kindly offered to take any one who is interested on a road trip into Second Life. I am thinking of scheduling this for early next week. Please let me know if you're interested in coming with us. If you do want to come, you will need to set up an account and download Second Life onto your computer. Sarah

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Two weeks break

You'll all be pleased to know that after this week, we have two weeks holiday. This will give you time to catch up and start to think about what you want to facilitate in the mini conference.

Planning for the mini conference
I will be talking about the mini conference in this week's Elluminate meeting at 16.30 hours New Zealand on Wednesday 22nd September World Clock. If you miss the meeting, you can listen to the recording. If there are a number of you who missed the meeting, I am happy to repeat the session again.

If you have any questions about the mini conference, please email them to the FO2010 group or leave a question on this blog - that way everyone will get to see the answer and it will save me from having to reply many times to the same questions :)

Those of you who are informal students are extremely welcome to join the mini conference, and plan and facilitate your own event....the more the merrier! However, the only events I can guarantee that I will attend and give feedback about are the events that are facilitated by the formally enrolled students.

If you are an informal student and you want guaranteed feedback about your event, please may I suggest that you arrange this with another student.

Last chances to practice live facilitation skills
I am still looking for a volunteer who would like to work with Kim to facilitate the WiziQ session on Tuesday 12th October 9am NZ. And as I have said before, the Elluminate room is always open, so you are very welcome to go there and have a play. You will need to let me know, however, so I can meet you there and make you a 'staff member'.

Email group
In the next few weeks I am sure we'll see a lot more emails as we start to plan the mini conference. But please be careful about how you use the group. Please send personal messages to the individual person...not the whole group. Lets make sure we don't bog down the group with comments that could have been individually emailed. Also, edit messages that you reply to. Only include parts of previous messages that are necessary to the ongoing conversation. Thank you :) Sarah

September 20th Managing the event or activity

The digital environment allows us to work with people from many cultures, ethnicities and nationalities, with different languages, customs and social norms. This presents us with a number of challenges, not least how we communicate with people whose first language is not English, what we do to welcome people to our online group, and how we use use images and resources that may inadvertently perpetrate certain cultural and social norms that are inappropriate. Thus, it is vital that the online facilitator is culturally competent.

There are a number of other practical issues that will face us as online facilitators such as:

  • how do we deal with conflict - how do we manage a 'troll'?
  • how do we support people to participate?
  • how do we create an environment where people feel they can ask questions?
  • how do we providing technical support, especially at a distance?
  • what do we put in our contingency plan that will help us deal with technical problems, poor or over attendance, and other disruptions to the event or activity?
Join one or both virtual class meetings in Elluminate.
  • The first meeting will be held at 16.30 hours New Zealand on Wednesday 22nd September World Clock. This meeting will be facilitated by Lyn Blair and Lorna McMullan. The speaker is Sarah Stewart who will be talking about what is expected in the mini conference which is part of the assignments for this course.
  • The second meeting is on Friday 24th September 13.30 hours New Zealand World Clock. This session will be facilitated by Steve Henry and Jade Wratten.
    • This session will be spent learning about the virtual world Second Life and how it can be used for facilitating learning, project work and meetings. We will be talking to KerryJ, who is currently working with Bright Cookie. KerryJ is an extremely experienced online facilitator and has been facilitating meetings and conferences in Second Life for some years.
    • If you would like to know more about Second Life, have a look and attend a meeting please contact Sarah Stewart - she will arrange a tour of Second Life if there is interest from course participants.
1. Read the Wikipedia article Cultural Competence - Background.
2. Read this paper about the digital skills we need to be life-long learners in a culturally diverse online environment by S. van de Bunt-Kokhuis and M. Bolger(2009): Talent competences in the new eLearning generation.
3. Read Stephen Thorpe's short book Enhancing Online Collaboration Manual, 2009.
4. Write a reflection in your blog about how you will be a culturally competent online facilitator. Here are some questions you may wish to consider.
  • What does it mean to be a culturally competent facilitator?
  • What does it mean to be an culturally competent facilitator in the online environment?
  • How will you work with people whose first language is not your own?
  • How will you welcome people of different cultures, nationalities and ethnicities into your online group?
  • How will you ensure the resources, images, communication tools and activities are culturally appropriate?
  • How will you make sure your facilitation is culturally competent?

Image: Rotorua 2008 http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahmstewart/2870875331/

Reflecting on the week of September the 13th 2010

This week I had the chance to facilitate a Twitter meeting. This is the first time I have done this and I was struck by three things.
  1. You can have some fabulous conversations and share resources even within the constraints of 140 characters.
  2. As a facilitator, it can quickly become over-whelming...so you need more than one person to monitor the conversation if there are a lot of people talking.
  3. It is very alienating for those who cannot join the conversation, especially if the hashtag does not work properly. So as a facilitator you have to manage that...any suggestions on how to do that?
Successes and failures
Kim joined the first Twitter meeting and took out of it the message that "to develop a successful online network you need to..."engage personally, contribute meaningfully, pay attention, listen a lot, be consistent". Matt enjoyed the meeting because it worked well from his mobile phone. Folke also enjoyed how easy Twitter was to use. But Katherine had a very different experience. She did not enjoy her experience of Twitter because for some reason she was unable to join the #FO2010 stream we were using. This had the effect of isolating her and making her feel "stupid". Please read her post and then think about what you can do as an online facilitator to make sure this does not happen to the people you work with. Gilly had an equally frustrating and isolating experience. Gilly questions whether she has the time or the reason to develop the technical competence to do more online than she is currently doing.

Twitter conversations
In the meantime, Malcolm has been following other Twitter conversations and got to hang out with occupational therapists the other day. I have to say that this is one of the things I love about Twitter...I get the chance to meet all sorts of people in different professions...that I normally would never interact with. Tara and Tania have been experimenting with a Twitter platform called Twitterific - if you want to know more about it, pop across to their blogs and ask them how they are getting on with it.

Some people were thinking about the value of social networking. Carole wrote a great summary about how she networks online and what tools she uses to do it. Jillian is finding that online networking has opened up all sorts of possibilities for her personal learning. Trish has reviewed the tools she has been using for networking and wonders how she can use them to "have students move their thinking, reading and writing skills from the surface to a deeper level and hopefully eventually thinking critically" - there is a nice conversation developing in the comments so do join in with your thoughts.

There have been a few different opinions about the technology we have been trying out. Sharon was not very impressed with DimDim but is willing to give it another go. I am just trying to get someone from DimDim to meet us and give us a thorough demonstration. Karen has been using her online connections to solve her problems with Elluminate. And finally, Tracey and I discovered this week that you can share your computer desktop in Skype...how cool is that :) Sarah

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A few reminders

1. Don't forget the two Twitter meetings this week - the first is on Thursday 8pm NZ and the second is Friday 12.30pm NZ. We will be using the hashtag #FO2010 . Suffice to say, you will need a Twitter account.

2. I am looking for facilitators to facilitate the session in Wiziq on October 12th 9am NZ. I know some of you may be put off by our DimDim experience but our speaker, Nellie Deutsch, is extremely experienced with Wiziq and I know she'll be only too delighted to show us how it works.

3. There will be an extra Elluminate meeting next week...Wednesday 22nd September 16.30 hours NZ. In this meeting we will talk about your assignments and the mini conference.

4. We have pretty much run out of opportunities for facilitating Elluminate within the formal FO2010 scedule. I am sorry if you have not had a chance to practice as you would have liked. However, the room is always open and if you want to set up your own informal meeting for the group, please feel free to do so.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Recording - break out rooms

I must apologise to the team who facilitated the Elluminate meeting last week for not organising this recording earlier...I thought I had, but obviously, I had not.

Here is the recording of the meeting that was so wonderfully facilitated by Willie, Karen and Jane. What is of interest is how we managed the concept of break-out rooms.


Summary of the week 8...working together

This week was highlighted by concern for the participants who live in Christchurch and experienced the earthquake at the weekend, so it was a relief to hear that Michael and Derek are well.

Live meeting
The live meeting this week had mixed success. We could not get DimDim to work properly but Malcolm and Claire did a wonderful job of facilitating us into Elluminate. What interested me was how the group coped with the technical difficulties...a month ago everyone would have been in a mad panic. But this week, people were calm and took everything in their stride....I think that goes to show how far we have come over the last few weeks. Meanwhile, Mireille reflected on what it takes to be 'professional' in the online environment as modeled by Malcolm and Claire.

Once we sorted out technology problems, we were able to enjoy a wonderful presentation about wikis and Wikieducator by Dr Wayne Mackintosh. Susan thought Wikieducator would be a great platform for her students. Kim has been looking at how she can become more skilled with using Wikieducator.

Breaking out
A number of people have been talking about the previous week's live meeting in which we played with the Elluminate break-out rooms. Tracey felt a little disconnected because her audio didn't work very well. Willie felt it would be good to have a kaitiaki in each room to take care of people. Katherine gave a very detailed account of what she learned which is a great resource for anyone wanting to use this facility in Elluminate.

Social networking
Several of you have been exploring social networking platforms and thinking about how they can be used for online facilitation. Sharon had a look at LinkedIn. Jane has been hosting an interesting discussion about the connection between social networking and a candy shop. Jean reflected on her use of various sites such as Facebook.

Who's still with us?
Mirielle asked an interesting question the other day...who is still blogging? It has been my observation that whilst people may not be actively blogging, they are still following the course...for example, we had 17 participants at our last live meeting. Rachel is still following the course but has been too swamped by work to blog regularly. Jo would like some advice to how to keep up with what and where things are happening. Matt is continuing his quest to follow the course with his iPhone but has had problems at times. Floyd is struggling to get motivated following his big holiday in the USA....I wish I had that problem!!

This week's star student is Jillian who is forging on ahead with her plans for the mini conference - she would like to hear any suggestions of people she can ask to take part in a discussion about developing online communities.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Recordings - Wayne Mackintosh talking about wikis

Here are the recordings of the session today in which Wayne Macintosh talked about online facilitation with wikis. A big thank you to Claire and Malcolm for facilitating the session. Unfortunately, we could not make DimDim work properly, so ended up back in Elluminate.

Elluminate recording: http://elluminate.tekotago.ac.nz/play_recording.html?recordingId=1260253889796_1284074866281

Audio recording: http://blip.tv/file/4103657

Video recording: http://blip.tv/file/4103679

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Facilitating Online Quiz

I have been asked to try out a new program for creating online quizzes. So here is the quiz I developed using ProProfs Quiz Maker, designed to test your knowledge about how to be an online facilitator. Feel free to put any feedback about the program in the comment section here so I can feed it back to ProProfs.

Monday, September 6, 2010

DimDim Meeting with Wayne Mackintosh

Guest post by FO2010 participants Claire Thompson and Malcolm Lewis.

Meeting with Wayne Mackintosh in DimDim
As Sarah mentioned in her blog post for this week, our online session will be with Dr. Wayne Mackintosh. The meeting is scheduled for Friday, September 10th at 11am (World Clock). The session will be held in DimDim rather than Elluminate. Yes, now that you were just getting comfortable in Elluminate it's time to try something new!

Meeting Time: Friday, September 10th at 11am (World Clock) New Zealand Time.
Meeting Place: Claire's DimDim room https://my.dimdim.com/claireproonline

Malcolm Lewis and Claire Thompson are facilitating the meeting this week. DimDim is new to both of us, and for Wayne too I believe. Sarah is away this week and Bronwyn will be taking her place. With so many of us being new to DimDim it could prove to be an interesting session! DimDim is a similar e-space to Elluminate. It's different enough to be really interesting.

Before you join this week's FO2010 session, we recommend that you try out DimDim. We would suggest that if you have time, that you set up a free DimDim account and have a play around. Invite someone to a meeting in your DimDim e-space.

Sarah put together an introduction to DimDim here. In it she links to information about joining, hosting, scheduling, and starting a meeting in DimDim as well as what to do while you are in a meeting. Below is a short screencast that Claire created on using DimDim. We recommend that you take a look at it before this week's session.

Claire will also be online in her DimDim room on Monday, September 6th at 7:30 pm her time (World Clock) for about an hour; please feel free to join her and to get a feel for what a DimDim meeting is like.

To join this week's meeting you do not need to have an account and you do not need to download anything onto your computer. You just need to click on the meeting room link.

For Wayne's FO2010 session, we will make the DimDim room available about 30 minutes prior to the start time so that people can come in early and get settled in. You will not be able to enter the room until Claire is signed in (as it is her room) so if for some reason she's having technical difficulties--there may be a bit of a delay.

Get Your Typing Fingers Ready
When we (Malcolm and Claire) tried out DimDim we found that there were big delays with the audio. As a result we will probably just have Wayne with audio and the rest of us will have to utilize the chat and the white board as our main ways to communicate.

Once you get into the room, make sure you show chat and, if you have audio/video privileges, set up your microphone, and turn off your video.

If Things Go Terribly Wrong
If we encounter technical issues and are unable to undertake the session in DimDim, we will move the class to our usual Elluminate room. This is our back-up plan. We will post on the DimDim white board and in the chat if this is our decision. If even these don't work, we will post in the Google e-mail list.

What do you think of DimDim?
You may also want to read a 2009 blog post about Sarah's impressions with an earlier version of DimDim. What are your impressions?

How to use Twitter to facilitate an online event

When you use Twitter to facilitate an online event there are a couple of things you need to do.

1. Set up a Twitter account.
2. Decide on a date and time for your event - probably an hour is a good length of time.
3. Decide on a hashtag for your event - Facilitating Online uses the hash tag #FO2011
4. Decide on couple of questions that will lead the discussions.
4. Advertise the event to your networks.

Here is a video that will shows you what a Twitter looks like.


Friday, September 3, 2010

September 13th Marketing, recruiting helpers and participants

Whether you are developing a learning activity to a group of students, attempting to recruit volunteers to a project or advertising an online event to the wider Internet, you need to think about how you market your event. Even if you are a teacher with a 'captive' audience of students, you want to be able to 'sell' your learning activity or event so that students engage with it. And don't forget the 1% rule that was mentioned in the week: "August 9th What is online facilitation?" - whilst you may get the full attention and engagement of one person, there will be other 'lurkers' who do not engage with you.

Other questions you need to consider when you are marketing your event are:

  • Is this activity or event in an open or closed environment? Do I need to target my marketing to specific people or use the Internet to spread as far and as wide as I can?
  • What networks do I need to develop and what communities do I need to access in order to market my event/activity?
  • How can I leverage or make the most of the serendipitous nature of the Internet?
  • Will the event/activity/project be free or does it have a cost involved?
  • What tools shall I use - free or proprietary tools?
    • Will the speakers/participants incur a cost?
  • How will I support people to access the technology before the event/activity?
  • How can I market my event to and support people who have minimal access to computers and the Internet?
    • Is there a place for integrating the cell phone?
    • How can I put information online in a format that can be printed cheaply for people who have limited Internet access.

Twitter is a great tool for developing synchronous networks, accessing serendipitous events and disseminating information.
1. Set up Twitter account - click here for more information.
2 Add your Twitter user name to the course "Participants" page.

  • Find the rest of the class participants on Twitter and start to follow each other.

3. Attend one of the two class meetings in Twitter. The meetings will be facilitated by Sarah Stewart. One meeting will be on Thursday 16th 20.00 hours New Zealand World Clock. The second opportunity to attend will be on Friday 17th September at 12.30 hours New Zealand World Clock. Sarah will send out information about how to do this nearer the time. Two of the questions that will be discussed are:

  • What do you need to do develop an effective online network that you can use for your online facilitation?
  • What tips can you share about online networking that will help us improve our online facilitation skills?

1. Look at this presentation by Jane Hart: Some cool tools for a hot topic. Social learning 2010.
2. Read this wiki page Online tools for collaborationand Using Web 2.0 tools.
3. Read this article: 5 Ways to Orchestrate Serendipity by Rachel Happe, 2009.
4. Reflect on your experience of using Twitter in your blog.

  • What worked well?
  • What did not go so well?
  • What skills or resources do you need to network and facilitate meetings using Twitter?
  • How do you see yourself using Twitter in the future, if at all, for online facilitation?

September 6th Working collaboratively, planning and recording decisions

Online collaboration and planning can be facilitated by a range of communication tools including blogs and wiki.

A blog can be purely a personal tool for recording decisions or reflections. But it can be much more than that. A blog can be part of a blogging network which is what we are building in this course. We each have a blog, we each should be monitoring each other's progress, and we should be commenting and cross referencing each other's posts from time to time. Hopefully by now, we ARE doing all this and are starting to see how a blogging network can function, but ours is a small and time dependent network. Real blogging networks develop over longer periods of time and include strong and weak connections between people, and a much more diverse range of topics. The online facilitator can use his or her blogging network for feedback, sharing information, as well as asynchronous discussion.

Wiki are collaborative tools and can be used for planning, implementation and evaluating events and projects. The beauty of the open wiki such as Wikieducator is the community behind the wiki that can be called on for help, opinions and support. Online communities through wikis are harder to identify as they usually focus around the creation of shared content. Wikis usually have a discussion tab with each page, and you can sometimes see community-like communication there. We will use this wiki to coordinate our mini conference so we can each experience collaboration through a wiki.

NB: An alternative collaboration tool to blogs and wiki is Google Documents.

Web Conferencing

Attend this week's course meeting on Friday 10th September 11am (World Clock). This week we will be joined by Dr Wayne Mackintosh who is a key member of the Wikieducator community. Wayne will be talking about how you can use a wiki to facilitate collaboration, organise meetings, events, projects, learning activities etc. This session will be facilitated by Malcolm and Claire.

  • This session will be held in the free web conference platform DimDim. DimDim is a tool you may be interested in if you are a business or non-profit organisation who cannot afford to pay for a propitiatory platform such as Elluminate.
  • Information about how to use DimDim here
1. Read Introduction to Blogging - part of the excellent Wordpress Codex.
2. Watch the video by CommonCraft about wiki on YouTube: Wikis in Plain English.
3. Watch this video about Google Documents on YouTube.
4. Read at least two blog posts from other course participants, join in the discussion by leaving a comment on each post.

Summary of week 7

I know I have only just back from Pakistan, but today I am off again time on holiday...where there is no Internet access. So think of me over the next days as I go through extreme withdrawal! I will be back on September 15th. In the meantime, Bronwyn Hegarty will be keeping an eye on things - don't hesitate to contact her if you have any queries.

Next week's summary
I will not be around to do the usual summary next week, so if anyone would like to do it...please do. Write the summary on your blog and then post the link to the FO2010 email group.

Next week's meeting
Your meeting next week is being facilitated by Malcolm and Claire, and overseen by Bronwyn. They are hoping to use DimDim. This may be a challenge, so please give them all your support and keep an eye out for instructions on what to do.

Break-out rooms
My key learning this week was how to use the break-out rooms in Elluminate. Willie, Jane and Karen did a brilliant job of introducing us to them. This was a first for me - I have never used them before because I have been a tad scared to do so. here were the key points for me.
  • Have someone in each room ready to start the conversation or activities.
  • Use the timer so that people know how much time they have for their activities, and to warn them when they will be taken back to the main room.
  • Ask someone from each room to feed back to the whole group what they had talked about.
  • Summarise the main points from the whole session at the end to bring everything together.
Here is the recording for you to see how things worked.

This week
Here are a few thoughts from FO2010 participants this week.

Folke sees social networking as a way to show his students that he is an authentic person. Susan has been trying to get her head around twitter, whilst Sharon has a better understanding about how blogging and comments work. Karen H wonders if her career as online facilitator has ended before it has even got going. Jillian has been having a laugh, and Willie has been cooking up a storm in her microwave.

Mark is thinking about how he can engage people in deeper critical thinking. Malcolm has found an interesting example of eLearning in the field of health promotion. Jean has been looking at how we learn using games. Lyn has found it useful to remind herself about the role of the online facilitator, and Karen believes one of the things we can do to engage people online is to make the 'place' they came to as attractive as possible.

Behave yourselves while I am away, and enjoy your experience with DimDim. Sarah

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

FO2010 Twitter and Facebook pages

Hi everyone

I deliberately did not set up "FO2010" pages in Twitter or Facebook because I thought I'd leave that up to anyone on the course who would like to take on that role. So as we're looking at websites such as Facebook this week, if anyone would like to do that, please feel free to go ahead.

Please let us know where to find the pages/accounts as soon as you can. With Facebook, have a think about which is more appropriate...a fan page or group? Sarah

Friday, August 27, 2010

August 30th Bringing a team, community, network or group together

This week we are going to think about how we bring people together so that we have someone to facilitate. Whether we are starting from scratch building a network, community or team, or working with a captive audience (so to speak) such as a group of students, we need to pay attention to how we organize, coordinate, collaborate and liaise as part of our facilitation role.

It is also worth thinking about:

  • how do we maintain momentum of the community/network/team/student group?
  • how sustainable is the community/network/team/student group?
  • how sustainable is our role of facilitator?


Social networking platforms are web services that technically facilitate social networking and community development. From Facebook to Linkedin, each social networking platform has slightly different functionality and social phenomenon.

Join the virtual class meeting in Elluminate to share your thoughts and experiences of using social media for online facilitation, or discuss any other issues or learning that have cropped up over the last couple of weeks. This session will be held on Thursday 2nd September at 16.00 hours New Zeland (World Clock) . Willie Campbell, Karen Humber and Jane Scripps will be facilitating this session.


1. Watch the video of Clay Shirkey (2008) talking about how we organise ourselves in the digital age: Here comes everybody.

2. Read the article by Beth Kanter (2009) in which she talks about how to be a network weaver: June Holley and The Art of Being Rhizomatic (The Practice of Network Weaving). Please feel free to leave a comment for Beth on this blog post (or any other for that matter). I know she'll be pleased to hear from you and enter into discussion about networking and online facilitation, especially in the non-profit sector. Once you have read the article, carry out an analysis of how good you are at network weaving to help you identify what areas and skills you need to strengthen.

3. Read the advice from Sue Waters (2009) about how to build a professional learning network: Baiting the Digital Hook to Build A Professional Learning Community!. Again, feel free to leave a comment for Sue - she is always extremely helpful.

4. Join a social networking website such as Facebook, Ning or LinkedIn. Add your user name to the course "Participants" page. Explore the social networking site, join a group or fan page, make a comment and join in conversations. Network with other course participants and discuss your experiences of social networking.

5. In your blog you may wish to document your thoughts about social networking and facilitation,

  • How can social networking platforms be used for online facilitation?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of social networking?

  • How would you use the social networking platform you have joined for online facilitation in the future?