How you met your goals (from your KWL and philosophy)
Students were motivated towards the topic we chose. It was related to their everyday lives, so it was accessible and useful for the audience. Surprising facts or concepts excite interest and provoke comments. Recognition for contributing stimulates the desire to contribute again (Andrew Feenberg and Cindy Xin).
And also participants were encouraged to introduce themselves to the rest of the students, so they can get to know each other. That makes the communication easier. Gilly Salmon says is the first step in her model, students get motivated when they introduce to each other, meet their new classmates, become part of the learning community.
We offered an online discussion which encourages participation and it encourages human relationships. Students had the opportunity to meet each other before, even if it was with a post, so they are not speaking to strangers.
Challenges you encountered and your solutions
Since I was in Spain, definitely the hour difference was a problem because we had to set an online chat to discuss the parts of our seminar. We finally found a time that suited everybody. And we also considered different ways of communication such as email which is asynchronous.
I had to find a website that was free and offered all the tools we needed for the seminar. It was hard to find something that really suited the course. Most of them were fine, but the blog tool was missing or just the administrators could post. We wanted to use the blog tool in the same website as the course and not to have 2 different sites. I found this Webnode site that offers free websites, with limitations, and it was useful for us. It actually did not have a blog, but the forum tool worked. So in this way the participants could post and the rest could reply to those posts.
When we did the online discussion my microphone was not working, and I had to use the keyboard. Sometimes you always have technical problems.
What surprised you?
The final assignment from our students was really good and they did a good job, they were really creative. I think the topic was interesting and motivating because it was based on their personal experience.
An outline of lessons learned
It is very important to put into practice what you are planning to do. Because you can design a course, but then you need to find the right tools to do it. And also, how you want to do it and think of every single detail.
An effective communication is necessary too. When we were working on the seminar, we constantly had to send emails.
What you would do differently if you were to do the project again
I think instead of using Blackboard we could have used Google Hangouts as the other group did. Even though I could not participate, I watched the recording and it seems useful and easy to use. The problem is if you have more than 10 participants you cannot do it.
If would another website or platform to build the seminar, however it is difficult to find something free.
Feenberg & Xin. Facilitation. Retrieved April 4, 2014 from http://web.archive.org/web/20080222181044/http://www.textweaver.org/facilitation.htm
Hootstein, Ed. (2002, June 1). Wearing Four Pairs of Shoes: The Roles of E-Learning Facilitators. Retrieved April 4, 2014 from http://www.astd.org/Publications/Newsletters/Learning-Circuits/Learning-Circuits-Archives/2002/Wearing-Four-Pairs-of-Shoes