Rose's Study Blog

December 2, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — rosannew @ 3:49 pm

I just came across this blog in my travels. It talks about wordpress and how it is being used in an educational environment.


December 1, 2009

FOC90 Course Summary

Filed under: Uncategorized — rosannew @ 6:05 pm

This blog is a summary of the Facilitating Online course.  So let’s start at the beginning.

Online community

This was my summary of what an online community is at the beginning of the course.  An online community should be fresh so that whatever is happening is recent and current. It also needs to be active with people using it and interacting in it. Finally it needs to be relevant as people usually  have strong reasons for becoming involved in a community.

I still think this is true but it is much more than this. An online community is a meeting of the minds and acts like a support group. Sharing experiences and feelings and supporting each other has been a big part of my experience on this course.

Facilitating, moderating, or teaching

I came to the conclusion that these three roles often overlap but it appears more common for the teacher/faciltator roles to overlap than the moderator role.  Often it falls on one person to do all three but this is not really good practise.  It seems quite common for a  teacher to also be a facilitator when it comes to online and F2F learning. I feel that fitting the facilitator into the teaching model doesn’t always work that well.   Obviously when setting up a course personality and experience would have to be considered regarding the two roles and the depth of experience they have when working together.

Discussion forums

Discussion forum – Trip Advisor

I love Trip Advisor and always use their site when I am travelling. I had never visited their foum pages though so I really enjoyed discovering this side of Trip Advisor.  Their forums are not highly facilitated mainly because of the type of site that it is. The facilitation that occurs is by the users rather than by actual staff members who act as moderators. An interesting aspect to this forum is that Social networking (Twitter, My Space) is run alongside this forum.

Blog networks

I was quite blown away with the depth and the variety of the blogging communites.  Mormon Moms and Jewish communities!  Blogging communities appear to exist because there is a strong feeling of something that is shared or that people have in common that is very important to them. This is so  important to them that they want to connect with other like minded people and share their thoughts, feelings, views and opinions with them.

Wiki collaborators

My plan was to run my online conference on DimDim with Anton Pienaar as my guest speaker. I toyed with the idea of going to Skype but went back to DimDim as Skype only hosts 5 people. Anton and I were interested in exploring how learning can occur in forums and I was  planning a session along those lines. My meeting actually developed into a session on personal learning networks inspired by Joyce Seitzinger.

Virtual Worlds

I made a list on my blog of what I think you should consider when facillitating in second life. I would love others to comment on this, add or edit my list as I am talking from a purely theoretical point of view.  At this stage I feel facilitating in second life is beyond my capabilities. To read my list go to:

Social networking platforms

My favourite Social networking platform is Facebook. Partly because I am more familiar with it but also because I find it easy to use.  It is a great way to connect with people online. As far as facilitating facebook, it doesn’t really need it.   I think keeping a close eye on your page and what people post to your wall is important, so maybe it is something you moderate rather than facilitate.

Reflecting on the different kinds of online communities

Because of this course I now have a blog. This is great for me because I love to write. I have joined Twitter and renewed my aquaintance with Ning and Facebook. I have Skype and DimDim which I really like.  I have also used various types of meeting rooms and have been impressed with the amount of effective tools that are availble free of charge. I  now feel inspired to source my own PLN and use the networking tools that are all around me.

Facilitate an event for the course mini conference

Well I nearly spat the dummy when it came to facilitating my own meeting but Sarah was very encouraging! (so I appreciate that Sarah). It is much harder to actually do something than just read about it. I was also encouraged by my presenter Anton Pienaar who I felt did a great job.  All in all this was a great experience and I would certainly do many things differently if I did it again. Here is the link to the plan for my meeting:

And mycomments directly after the meeting :

Evaluate the facilitation of an online event

I learnt two huge lessions from running this online meeting.

1. Even when you think you are prepared you probably aren’t. If your gut is telling you something is wrong (and your tutor confirms it) then you should pay more attention.

2. Make sure you have your contact details available so people can contact you if they can’t get into the meeting. On the night my email wasn’t working, which didn’t help, but no excuses. Contact details would have made a big difference.

Feedback to the course

This course was the most challenging thing I have done in a long time. My biggest regret is that I didn’t throw myself into it more. I think I was a bit intimidated by the whole thing. I don’t know if there may be an easire way to ease people into the course. It did feel like I was thrown into the deep end.

Did you learn new and useful things?

I learnt so much doing this course. I can find technology a bit intimidating but the meeting rooms were so easy to use and I actually enjoyed blogging. The blogging is pretty hard though as I felt I was talking to myself most of the time. Still it is a great record of my course.

Was it challenging enough?

If anything it was too challenging. I felt like I went from my comfort zone to my panic zone in one step. Throwing people in the deep end is one way to do things but is there some way you could ease people into the course?  Maybe set up a pre-course blog that you have to contribute to. Also maybe you could  schedule some non course specific meetings around an interesting/entertaining theme that people could attend to give them an idea of what they may be in for with the course.  With second life a pre meeting showing you how to navigate around second life with your avatar could also be useful.

Did the course facilitator do a good job?

I thnik sarah was a fantastic facilitator. She kept in touch but it still felt pretty hands off. She made it very clear what was expected from us each week and she was very approchable. Her feedback on my blog postings was appreciated due to the feeling of talking to myself.

How will you apply what you have learned?

I actually feel quite inspired by this course and wish I had attended more meetings especially at the beginning. I plan to apply what I have learnt by establishing my own PLN. I have already recommended DimDim to a corporate client. Also I quite like the role of facilitator and think this is something I would enjoy doing. So I may look for a role like this sometime in the near future.

 Who would you recommend to do this course next time?

I actually would recommed this course to some of my staff as these online networking tools are definitely the way of the future. I work with a team of writers and I think it would be a great exercise for them to run their own blogs and for the team to comment on each other’s blog. I actually think it could be a really good team building exercise.

Generally I have found that this course has boosted my confidence in my job, made me more aware of online communication technologies and less intimidated by them.  I have connected with people in a positive way and I find people are generally polite, helpful and encouraging when you meet them online.

Go the team for FOC09!

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