Tuesday, August 31, 2010
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
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?
Blogging and comments
One of the observations I have made over the last couple of weeks is that some of you are not replying to the comments that people are making on your blog. This may be because you haven't realised people have commented. One of the things you can do that makes things easier is to set up your blog so that you get an email every time someone leaves a comment. That way you will know there is a comment to reply to. If you do not reply, you will stifle discussion and readers will get discouraged and not return to your blog.
Here is some information from Gina Trapani about how to make a comment on a blog and here is a great post by Michele Martin that will help you encourage people to leave comments on your blog.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Once you know what you want to facilitate there are several issues you need to think about.
- What is the most appropriate approach to the event, project or discussion? Synchronous or asynchronous?
- What are the barriers to your facilitation and what are the enablers? For example, do the participants have access to the Internet bandwidth that will support your event, project or learning activity?
- What communication tools will be most appropriate? How will you ensure your participants will have access to the tools?
- What technical skills will you need as facilitator and what skills will your participants require? How will you ensure the participants have the appropriate skills?
- Is this a work or 'play' activity? Will time constraints impact on the participants' ability or motivation to attend and engage?
- If this is a work activity, will the participants' organisation, institution or employer allow them to have access to the Internet, or will institutional policies or firewalls prevent them from engaging with you?
- What are the costs to you, the participants and their employer/institution/organisation? Will the costs be prohibitive?
Another issue you need to think about is sustainability of your online facilitation. In one respect working online is more sustainable than spending large amounts of money to fly people around to attend face-to-face meetings. Developing resources and making them available online often reduces the wasteful use of paper. At the same time, there are more general questions about social sustainability to consider.
- Who's going to be involved and who is not? Who does your event or learning activity discriminate against? In other words, who cannot attend because they do not have access to a computer or the Internet?
- How do you ensure that everyone has equal opportunities for learning, communication and collaboration. Is everyone's needs being met?
- Is online the best mode of delivery? Is there another mode of delivery that is more appropriate?
- In terms of planning for the future, how do we manage eWaste?
Skype is a free tool that you download onto your computer and use for synchronous voice, text and video meetings. It is especially effective for small group or one-to-one meetings.
1. Download Skype and set up a Skype account.
2. Add your Skype details ie user name to the "Participants" page. Add course participants to your contacts list in Skype.
3. Connect with a course participant and have a one-to-one meeting. In your meeting you may wish to discuss what you have learned this week, or your experiences of using Skype.
4. Connect with several course participants and arrange a Skype conference call in which you may wish to discuss the questions that have cropped up this week. (A Skype conference call can take up to 25 people but it is preferable to have a smaller number of people to retain the quality of the call).
- How to set up a conference call in Skype. Here is a short video that shows you how to set up a conference call.
- You may wish to use Doodle to help you work out a time that is convenient to meet.
1. Read the article Building Sustainable Communities through Network Building by Valdis Krebs and June Holley (2002).
2. Watch the video of Carol Cooper-Taylor talking about "How to ... Have Successful Online Forums/Communities".
3. Read the wiki page Synchfacilitation - moderating live synchronous sessions.
4. In your blog, you may wish to reflect on your experience of using Skype.
- What worked well?
- What did not go so well?
- What skills or resources do you need to facilitate one-to-one meetings or conference calls with Skype?
- How do you see yourself using Skype in the future, if at all, for online facilitation?
I would like to thank Bronwyn Hegarty for holding the fort while I am in Pakistan, and Rayna and Jane for facilitating the session with Greg Walker, in which he talked about facilitating online courses. I understand there were a few dramas behind the scenes, but they were sorted by all involved.
Here is the Elluminate recording of Greg's session - I will turn it into an audio and video recording when I return to New Zealand.
It has been an interesting week for me. Having handed over the reins, so to speak, to Bronwyn, I have felt less immersed in the course. I feel like I have been able to take a step away from the course and take a more global view of what's happening. And it has been fascinating to see how conversations and thoughts are scattering off into all sorts of directions.
Karen is at the stage where she is still onsure what she wants to focus on. Sharon wrote a very reflective post about her experiences of facilitating Nancy White's session last week. She found it hard to 'let go' and make sense of the 'chaos' that was going on around her. Jane, Tara and Tania all reflected on what online facilitation is. Jillian and Carolyn have started a conversation about the difference between teaching and facilitation - at the moment they disagree - so do drop into Jillian's post and join the discussion because I would like to know what the rest of you think. Tracey describes facilitation as drawing ideas from a group and supporting the group to move on with the ideas.
Willie is keen to think more about the pedagogy behind online tools like Elluminate. Chris is frantically busy but found time to help Carolyn out with a technical problem. Carole is also busy setting up her online ePortfolio community of practice. Kim was inspired by Nancy White to think about how an online facilitator summarizes learning or activities.
Karen Humber has made an interesting observation about blogging - the more she engages with other blogs, the more comments she gets on her blog. This point will be emphasised when we talk about how to facilitate blogs for collaborative work. Mark has an interesting conversation starting on his blog about how you engage people in an online community once that initial flush of enthausiasm has fallen away. Claire wrote an extensive account of her experiences of attending an online conference which may be useful for those of you who are planning a live event at the end of this course.
Matt is continuing with his quest to do this course from his mobile phone. I am finding his account to be really interesting in light of the view that mobile learning is the way of the future. Malcolm kindly responded to a question I asked with a whole blog post about online facilitation and social capital. As for me, I am finding that the issues that face education are the same the world over. Sarah
Saturday, August 14, 2010
A number of international participants have been asking how much it will cost to enrol as a formal student in Facilitating Online 2010. I am really pleased to announce that we have been able to negotiate fees for international student (including Australian citizens) - $420 New Zealand....about $1,000 cheaper than normal.
If you are thinking of enrolling as a formal student, please contact Catherine Lindsay (course administrator) for more details.
Image: Money, money, money:
- eMentoring. Jenny Leigh talks to Sarah Stewart about how she uses web conferencing for eMentoring in business and non-profit organisations.
- Virtual conference. The Virtual International Day of the Midwife is an annual online conference for midwives and people interested in pregnancy and birth.
- Facilitating asynchronous discussion. Lorraine Mockford talks to Sarah Stewart about strategies for engaging students in discussion boards and people in general interest online communities.
Join this week's course meeting in the Elluminate virtual meeting room here on Friday 20th August 12.00 hours New Zealand (World Clock). This session will be facilitated by Jane Field and Rayna Dickson. Bronwyn Hegarty will be supporting the class and session.
- Greg Walker will be discussing how he facilitates online courses. Greg is an educational technology developer and distance education coordinator at the Leeward Community College, Hawaii, USA.
Summarise your learning from the last three weeks in your blog. You may wish to consider some or all of these questions.
- What is online facilitation?
- What skills do you need as an online facilitator?
- How does a facilitator build an online community or network?
- What are the key things to remember when facilitating an event, meeting or education course, especially when working with people who are new to online technology?
- What is the difference between teaching and facilitation?
- What is netiquette?
Image: Settimana Internet @ Roma - 25 giugno, Internet e Anziani
We have had a couple more people join us - Susan, Tara and Tania. I am sure they'd love it if you pop along to their blog and say 'hi', and lend them your support as they catch up with things.
Nancy's session was invaluable and I highly recommend you take the time to watch the recording if you were not at the live session. Nancy is an amazing facilitator who models everything she talks about. We learned heaps about facilitating online and how to use Elluminate. We talked about 'letting go' as facilitators... playing ....and watching the learning that emerges from the chaos. I would also like to congratulation Sharon and Carole who facilitated the session and did a very professional job. Rayna and Jane are going to facilitate next week's session.
Here is the Elluminate recording to Nancy's session - I will organise the audio and video recording when I return from Pakistan - but having said that, this is a very visual, experiential session so I think you need to watch it as opposed to listen to it.
The one thing that has stuck me this week is how complex people's lives are, and the implications for trying to organise any kind of online event. Rachel, Jade and Jo have been busy being midwives and catching babies. Gillian has been occupied with her family. Floyd is travelling around the USA. Bettie is preparing for her husband to be deployed. And Maurice has been trying to work out how to engage the educators he works with, with his other blog Flexible Learning Initiative @ Lincoln.
There is so much competition for people's time so you have to think very carefully about the thing you are trying to facilitate...you have think how you are going to capture people's attention and make the event, activity or whatever , relevant and meaningful.
A couple of people were inspired to visit Second Life following Terry Neal's talk last week. Gloria has got as far as getting her avatar all dressed up and ready to go. When Tracy went in SL, she had a very nasty experience of being bullied and attacked. Jean believes that SL provides very authentic learning opportunities. On the other hand, Kim hasn't got around to going into SL yet and has decided she does not want an avatar representation of herself - she feels it would give a false impression of who she is.
NB: Those of you who are interested in SL will have the opportunity for a guided tour later in the course.
Learning in the online environment
Several people have been reflecting on they as facilitators can support learning in the online environment. Trish was wondering how she can support her students not to procrastinate and manage information overload. Mark asked how to 'create stimulating environments for learning'. And LaDonna thought about experiential learning - how we plan, act, reflect and learn...but not necessarily in that order.
Facilitation and blogging
Last week I mentioned a blog post by Michele Martin that was really useful called "How to Blog When Your Industry or Occupation Isn't Into It". I asked Michele how she thought we can use blogs for online facilitation. She replied with another blog post called "More on Blogging When Your Industry Isn't Into It" . This is another excellent read for us because in it Michele talks about various startegies for engaging our readers, and how to facilitate blogging events.
Last but not least, Mireille is really keen to hear from anyone who is interested in practising their live facilitation skills in Elluminate - please contact Mireille on her blog if you'd like to know more about this. There are a number of resources in the course wiki for those of you who would like some tips and tricks for how to use Elluminate.
Look forward to hearing how things go next week, and might even catch up with you while I am in Pakistan. Sarah
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Visit to Pakistan
I have been asked to make a visit to Karachi, Pakistan, to work with a group of midwives in the Aga Khan University...looking at how they can develop their undergraduate midwifery program as an online package. This has come about quite quickly but is an opportunity I could not refuse. I leave New Zealand on Sunday 15th August.
Introducing Bronwyn Hegarty
I will still be available and monitoring everyone's progress, so please keep in touch - the Internet connection is probably better there than it is in New Zealand. But please be mindful that my time zone will be seven hours behind New Zealand.
If you have an urgent query and need to talk to someone by phone or face-to-face, please contact my colleague at Otago Polytechnic, Bronwyn Hegarty (0800 smartmove). Bronwyn will be facilitating next week's Elluminate meeting with Jane and Rayna.
The second week I am away (23rd - 29th August) we'll be having a play with Skype. The web conferencing for the week is getting in touch with each other with Skype. There are full instructions on how to use Skype and make conference calls on the wiki.
However, if you wish to check out Skype in the next couple of days before I go to Pakistan, please feel free to get in touch - my Skype contact name is: sarah.m.stewart
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
This session replaced the advertised seminar by David Hood. David was unable to join us, but he has invited you to drop by his various online spaces and ask him any questions you may have about facilitating non-profit organisations or campaigns.
Here are the recordings of the discussion about online identity.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
There are a number of models around that support us as we develop online facilitation skills. Nancy White has suggested we think about ourselves as a 'community technology stewards'. Gilly Salmon has developed a 5 stage model of online moderation and Ed Hootstein refers to wearing four pairs of shoes. To be effective online facilitators, we also need to understand how online communication works. In order to do this, it helps to understand the 'rules' of online communication otherwise known as 'netiquette'.Those of us who are teachers are further challenged to think about our practice, be it in the online or face-to-face environment - what is the difference between facilitating learning and the more traditional views of teaching? In other words, how do we facilitate learning compared to the traditional model of delivering content as the 'expert' to the learner who knows nothing? And how do we do this in the online environment?
Join either one or both virtual class meetings in Elluminate. Both sessions will be facilitated by one or more course participants.
- Monday 9th August 14.00 hours New Zealand time (World Clock). David Hood will be talking about how to facilitate online networks and communities, disseminate information and run campaigns in the non-profit sector. David was the project leader for the recent Nestle Campaign for the Australian office of Greenpeace. Amongst other things, David is currently working on projects including Doing Something Good and setting up The Hub Melbourne.
- Saturday 14th August 10.00 hours New Zealand time (World Clock). Nancy White will be joining us to talk about her work. Nancy is known throughout the world for her knowledge and expertise in facilitating online. Nancy is a blogger, facilitator, international speaker and co-author of the book "Digital Habitus". Nancy's work has been the foundation of this course because of her generosity in sharing her materials in an open online environment, and being very open about the lessons she has learned as she has gone along in her blog. Please come to the session prepared with questions to ask Nancy.
- The facilitators will be responsible for liaising with the speaker, managing the meeting room, reminding the course participants about the meeting, facilitating the meeting and sorting out any technical problems.
- Please feel free to volunteer to facilitate this session if you would like practice with facilitating a live web conference, or would like experience working with Elluminate.
- Read "CoP Series No 10: Stewarding Technology for Community" by Nancy White, 2009.
- Read Wearing Four Pairs of Shoes: The Roles of E-Learning Facilitators by Ed Hootstein, 2002.
- Read the Gilly Salmon's 5 stages of moderation model, 2004. Gilly's work is based in education but the stages that she proposes for online engagement apply across the board. If you would rather watch/hear Gilly talk about her model, please go to her presentation "E-moderation strategies in educational contexts", 2009. NB: The term 'moderation' is interchangeable in our context with 'facilitation'.
- Read "Netiquette" by Learn the Net, 2010.
Image: 'Parlant d'afers seriosos // Talking about Serious+Matters'
Lack of body language
One of the themes that has developed this week is the question about how you read what people are thinking in the online environment if you have no body language or visual cues to follow. Jean isn't sure how to do it and acknowledges this is a skill she needs to develop. Karen feels the skills are the same in the online environment as they are in the face-to-face setting, only amplified. Karaitiana emphasised the point that Jillian made in Friday's live session, that we need to listen to the tone of people's voices to tell us how they are feeling. Tracey feels it is important, when possible, to use audio and visual communication tools because it is so easy to mis-read what people are saying in emails.
Be all and end all?
Not everyone is enamoured of online communication and facilitation. Peter was "curmudgeonly" and questioned what he called eLearning hype. He questioned if all this online stuff is just another trend that actually makes no difference to the way we learn. Jane and Therese are feeling overwhelmed by the vast amount of information that is available online.
Online relationships and identity
A number of people talked about online relationships, especially in social networking sites such as Facebook. Willie sees social networking sites as providing us with a circle of consequential strangers. Malcolm has been inspired to reflect on the people he has relationships with and how they translate into the online environment. In terms of online identity, Michael tells a fascinating story about a Muslim woman who donned the identity of a punk in Second Life because she did not have the freedom to do this in 'real' life. Gillian talked about a person who used multiple identities in a discussion forum as a means of causing conflict. She felt that moderation was the way to deal with this issue.
After all the talk about online communication and online identity, Rachel was pleased to meet up with fellow course participant Jillian for the first time, face-to-face. And Kim is not in the least bit worried what's happening in FO2010 because she's on holiday and has come over to live it up in New Zealand for a couple of weeks. Sarah
Image: 'Desert Dandelion'
Elluminate recording - you do need to be able to access Elluminate to be able to view this.
Audio recording - useful for people who cannot download Elluminate.
Video recording - this may take a while to download.
Thanks to Chris and Jillian
Chris and Jillian did a fantastic job of facilitating this session and have raised the bar for all of us. Here are some tips that Jillian has passed on for us to think about when we come to facilitate live online sessions. Equally as timely is an article written by Tony Karrer called 19 Tips for Effective Online Conferences, which is well worth reading.
Your chance to practice facilitation of a live event
One of my strategies for this course is to give people the chance to practice facilitating a live event before the mini-conference in November. This allows you to gain experience and make 'mistakes' in a safe, supported environment, taking away the pressure when it comes to your assignments and the 'real thing'. The last 10-15 minutes of the recording above explains a little more about how this works.
- Have a look at the course schedule and decide what live event you would like to facilitate.
- Let me know by leaving a comment here or emailing me directly.
- I will let you know which event you will co-facilitate. I will be giving first refusal to the formal students. If you do not get an opportunity to facilitate one of the scheduled events, feel free to organise an event between yourselves so you can practice if you wish.
- As you can see, I have organised the speakers to the scheduled sessions. What you need to do is co-ordinate the session with your co-facilitator. You will be responsible for liaising with the speaker, managing the meeting room, reminding the course participants about the meeting, facilitating the meeting and sorting out any technical problems. I will be around to support you as facilitators.
Image: 'TIME FLIES.....................*' Niffty..
Monday, August 2, 2010
Terry would like to invite you to read the paper she wrote with Dr Clare Atkins "Working effectively in a virtual team" before the session on Friday.
Terry can be contacted via Twitter: @TerryNeal
I am still looking for two facilitators for this session. Please contact me asap if you'd like to be a facilitator on Friday, or over the next few weeks.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
The world is changing and the Internet allows people to communicate, collaborate, network and learn in a new and different way. As teachers, we have to understand that students are learning by connecting to their online network. The freedom that the Internet provides is allowing them to manage their own learning and take control of what, how and when they learn. Those of us who work for non-profit organisations need to realise the potential of the Internet to develop online communities and networks that can support each other, advocate and campaign for change. As for business people, we must understand how to connect online with our customers as well as effectively utilise online communication tools in these days of increased costs and budget squeeze.
Any number of things can be facilitated online from an email discussion list or bulletin board on Trade Me, to a real-time business meeting or Twitter campaign protesting a social issue.
The 'who' can vary from a formal class enrolled at an educational institution, to a network of people loosely connected because of a common interest or goal. Or the 'who' may be a formal community of practice made up of people who have come together with a definite purpose in mind, such as a professional organisation or group with a special interest.
Join the virtual class meeting in Elluminate on Friday 6th August 11am - 12pm New Zealand (World Clock). This session will be facilitated by one or more course participants.
- Terry Neal talking about how to facilitate virtual teams. Terry is the director of Blended Solutions and has extensive experience of project management and facilitation of national projects, including the Second Life Education New Zealand project.
- Watch the video "Did you know 4.0" which will help you start to think about the 'grand scheme of things' and where you sit as an online facilitator.
- Watch the video "Communities, networks and what sits in between" by Nancy White. Nancy is an extremely experienced online facilitator - it is worth taking time to browse her blog which contains lots of valuable resources for and about online facilitation.
- Read "Building Online Communities" by Chromatic.
- Watch the video Seven key skills of workshop facilitation by Jan Delmas, 2008. Thank you to Suzie Vesper for drawing my attention to this video. This video has a business focus in the face-to-face setting but is none-the-less relevant to us all in the online environment.
Please feel free to volunteer to facilitate this session if you would like practice with facilitating a live web conference, or would like experience working with Elluminate - I am thinking that two people is about the right number. You will be responsible for liaising with Terry, managing the meeting room, reminding the course participants about the meeting, facilitating the meeting and sorting out any technical problems. I will be around to support you as facilitators.
It will be a case of 'first come, first serve' but I will be giving priority to the formally enrolled students. Please get in touch with me as soon as possible if you would like to be a facilitator in the next three weeks. Sarah
Image: 'Climbing' cuellar