Introduction> idea: online facilitation
You have the purpose for your project (you do, right? If not, lets talk. SOON!). You have analyzed the social architecture in terms of group type, size, and configuration. You have compared your personal preferences to the needs of the client you are working for. You have explored the technology.
There is one more critical element — the way we actually interact with each other and how we can make the most of that. This implies facilitation. Facilitation can be a formal role taken on by one or more people, or it can be distributed across the people and done informally and in an emergent manner. This week we will look at online facilitation in general, where it is similar and different to offline facilitation, and then explore what facilitation practices might be useful in any of the different contexts you are exploring in your groups. To “walk the talk” we are going to do an action learning experiment by having our Wednesday session fully online with each group logging in (as a group) to a Google+ Hangout. Technology may be challenging, but the real question is how we work to connect and learn together either because of, or in spite of the technology!
Let’s start with the basics. What do we mean by “facilitation” – online or offline? Read this week’s article by Nancy White, view Shahab’s interview of Nancy, and then join the week’s discussion by responding at the end of this post. This week, we think it is important to have this discussion both at your team level, but also as a group. So please pay attention to this discussion thread this week.
Discussion # 5:
We’ve offered you a definition of facilitation and some idea about how it varies across different online contexts. So now our job is to see if we can actually observe and critique this online facilitation. Think about right here, right now. What evidence have you seen of the instructors’ facilitation of this course? What evidence do you see in the communities you have been researching?
Teamwork Activity #5:
Looking at the exemplar sites you have identified for your group, what evidence is there of facilitation? What is the role of facilitation in the success of the site’s goals? Who is doing it? What appears to be working well? Analyze from your external perspective. Then try and contact someone from the site and ask them about their perspectives on the site facilitation. (Do this early in the week, ok? It can take a while to get a response!) Create a summary that will be part of your final presentation. Include your conclusions about key facilitation issues. Post your draft at on your team space and tag appropriately.
Personal Blog Reflection Prompt #5:
As you think about the learning you are embarking upon here at the university, reflect on the role that your instructors and fellow students play in facilitating yours and their learning. What are they doing? How is it facilitating learning and teamwork based on what you have experienced so far? What has been useful? What would you like to see and experience that you haven’t yet in the facilitation of this course from yourself, peers and faculty? What can you contribute as a peer facilitator? For your commenting on others’ blogs this week, maybe you notice where another colleague has contributed to your learning through their facilitation and let them know when/where it happened and how it was of value to you. Are you game for that?
Content to Share:
- Nancy’s collection of articles she’s written on online facilitation (see what attracts you!) http://www.fullcirc.com/2012/10/04/harvesting-from-my-older-posts-on-online-facilitation/