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

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 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 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:

Audio recording:

Video recording:

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

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