Sunday, September 19, 2010

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

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