Sunday, August 1, 2010

August 2nd The 'who', 'what' and 'why' of online facilitation

It is important that we understand why we are using the online environment for communication, and how online communities and networks work before we launch into our adventures with online communication tools.

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.

Web conferencing
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. Activity
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Read "Building Online Communities" by Chromatic.
  4. 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

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