Facilitation Reflection EDDL5141 Michael Nauth
I was fortunate to work with colleagues that were like-minded. We all agreed to structure the online activity in much the same way. And structure, whether explicit or implicit, is a crucial part of my philosophy of teaching and learning. Our site on ‘Webnode’ was partitioned into easy-to-follow activities, and the final assignment was clearly spelled out for the students to follow. The quizzes, the Youtube videos and the reference sites were simple to select and review and the activities followed a progressive train of thought.
The learning took place through communication and interaction. Each individual’s personal beliefs and conviction on Climate Change affected his or her own take on what was heard and seen and internalized. I feel that the online ‘space’ was fashioned in a way that was open (room for growth), bounded (channelled), and hospitable (accepting, not judging). Together we learned from the experts and from each other.
Our group followed Peavey’s ‘Strategic Questionning’, asking the right questions, creating buy-in and ownership. We managed to get the participants (students) to focus, observe, analyze, empathize, envision, and consider change and other alternatives, consequences, and obstacles, and then to plan a course to take action – the what, so what, and now what?
The technology aspects caused a few problems at first, but once we determined that we needed to meet synchronously, we were able to find solutions in ‘Webnode’ (Tzveta) and Blackboard Collaborate (Paula). Khaula and I added course content and I supplied evaluation (Paula’s rubric) and comments for the projects that we received. We were pleasantly surprised with the tremendous effort, the enthusiasm, and the creative thinking that went into the projects. Kristy used a notepad and posters, Geoff made a video walking in the snow and in his school, Kelly used Prezi, and Emily used animation. They all reported on their feedback that they learned something new (L.E.D. lights in lieu of compact fluorescent notably) and there was unanimous commitment towards improvement of stewardship, especially hybrid cars.
I learned that there is a huge amount of preparation time in relation to the amount of course time that the topic covered. ‘The four shoes’ of the instructor, social director, program manager, and technical assistant were worn well by the four of us, but they would be difficult for one person to wear. We also had to determine the ‘end’ before we could design and structure the ‘means’. In this way, the online facilitation is the same as f2f, but learning the technology ropes will take time and practice. If I were to do this again, for a small group, I would use Google Hangout as the platform for delivery of the synchronous part. Seeing each other made a more human connection. Webnode worked well for the asynchronous part and I would use that again. I would also devise a simpler checklist for the evaluation. The rubric that we used did work well for four participants, but I think that it would be onerous for a class of twenty.
Downes, S. (2005), Are the Basics of Instructional Design Changing? http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=6
Jones, J. (2002) Recapturing the Courage to Teach: An Interview with Parker J. Palmer, Teaching With Joy December 2002, http://www.teacherview.com/joyjones/dec2002.htm
Palmer, P.J. (2007). The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc. (Original work published 1998)
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