Saturday, August 7, 2010

August 9th What is online facilitation?

Over the last two weeks we have thought about what and why we want to facilitate, but we haven't really talked about what online facilitation actually is. The definition of facilitation in the Oxford Dictionary is to 'make easy or easier'. As online facilitators, we need to think about how we make communication, learning, task management and use of technology 'easier' for the people we are working with.

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?

Web Conferencing

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.
  1. Read "CoP Series No 10: Stewarding Technology for Community" by Nancy White, 2009.
  2. Read Wearing Four Pairs of Shoes: The Roles of E-Learning Facilitators by Ed Hootstein, 2002.
  3. 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'.
  4. Read "Netiquette" by Learn the Net, 2010.

Image: 'Parlant d'afers seriosos // Talking about Serious+Matters'


Nancy White said...

Looking forward to next week. I do want to chime in that maybe you are talking about a RANGE of roles, not just facilitation. (For example, technology stewardship is not, in my mind, the same as group facilitation!)

Talk w/y'all soon!


Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Nancy

Thanks for the comment. Maybe you can help us tease that out, then. The other questions people have is:

difference between networks and communities?
what is the in-between?
how do we present ourselves online?