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Story of an online course "Facilitating Online"


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This is the story of an open online course "Facilitating Online", developed by Leigh Blackall and Bronwyn Hegarty, and currently facilitated by myself.

The 2009 version of the course can be found here:

And discussion about the course can be found here:


Published in: Education

Story of an online course "Facilitating Online"

  1. 1. “ Facilitating Online” – the story of an open, online course Sarah Stewart Creative Commons BY Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand
  2. 3. Facilitating Online
  3. 4. Acknowledgements: Leigh Blackall and Bronwyn Hegarty
  4. 5. Open
  5. 6. Formal and Informal Enrolment
  6. 7. All material created under a Creative Commons license - can be shared, copied and re-mashed
  7. 8. Some of the countries students came from
  8. 9.   *Course was ‘closed’ in BlackBoard 0 1 24 13 15 2009 0 6 80 7 9 2008 2 2 2 7 13 2007 0 0 0 10 13 2006* 0 0 0 10 19 2005* 0 0 0 6 9 2004*             informal students who became formal informal students who completed informal students formal students who completed formal students  
  9. 10. Curriculum <ul><li>Aimed to explore </li></ul><ul><li>“ facilitation” & how to do it </li></ul><ul><li>in the online context over </li></ul><ul><li>19 weeks </li></ul><ul><li>Learning based on regular activities </li></ul><ul><li>Introduced to technologies </li></ul><ul><li>& how they could be used </li></ul><ul><li>to facilitate learning </li></ul>
  10. 11. How we delivered the course <ul><li>Wiki - course outline & planning of mini conference </li></ul><ul><li>Blog – weekly comments, summaries and news </li></ul><ul><li>Email group </li></ul><ul><li>Synchronous weekly meetings in Elluminate, mix of formal and informal </li></ul>
  11. 12. Facilitation <ul><li>Frequent contact - regular phone calls </li></ul><ul><li>Text reminders for meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Evening meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible </li></ul><ul><li>Summaries of </li></ul><ul><li>discussions </li></ul><ul><li>in course blog </li></ul>
  12. 13. Assessment <ul><li>Three assessments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflective blog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plan an online event (synchronous or asynchronous) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluate an event </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Marking carried out by loose rubric </li></ul>
  13. 14. Mini Conference <ul><li>Presentations in Elluminate, Skype, DimDim and Wiziiq </li></ul><ul><li>Asynchronous discussion and video using YouTube and blog </li></ul><ul><li>Topics: eLearning, </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter, developing a </li></ul><ul><li>PLN, technology for </li></ul><ul><li>non-profits, blogging in kindergarten… </li></ul>
  14. 15. Feedback from students <ul><li>The online event was main learning </li></ul><ul><li>Blogging is great tool for reflection - students realized that at end of the course </li></ul><ul><li>Appreciated support of the class learning community </li></ul><ul><li>More practice with technology </li></ul>
  15. 16. Challenges for students <ul><li>Chaos of technology, especially if new to online communication </li></ul><ul><li>Working out how follow what’s going on </li></ul><ul><li>Not enough ‘theory’ about how to facilitate </li></ul><ul><li>Workload </li></ul><ul><li>Technology – skills and access </li></ul><ul><li>Course was too long </li></ul>
  16. 17. What I enjoyed <ul><li>Watching self-organisation of participants </li></ul><ul><li>Discussions that were driven by students </li></ul><ul><li>Involvement of informal students </li></ul><ul><li>Mini-conference - </li></ul><ul><ul><li>diversity of subjects, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>speakers, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>communication tools </li></ul></ul>
  17. 18. Teaching or Facilitation?
  18. 19. Where to from here? <ul><li>More of a ‘generic’ focus…not just for educators </li></ul><ul><li>More emphasis on how to facilitate as opposed to the technology </li></ul><ul><li>How to work with people who are unfamiliar with technology? </li></ul>
  19. 20. Sarah Stewart [email_address] Skype: sarah.m.stewart