Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Facilitating Online

This is my first post regarding the Facilitating Online course I am attending this term on Wikieducator. This course is free unless you want to attend as a facilitated student. I have been very lucky (again!!) as I have been given a Mark Williams Award by the NZAFT (New Zealand Association of French Teachers). This award has allowed me to take on this course as a facilitated student.

So far we are in our second week, and I have to admit I very much enjoy it. Last Thursday night, I participated to an Elluminate session facilitated by Sarah Stewart. I had heard about Elluminate but I had never participated to any session. I am more familiar with Flashmeeting.

In this week’s activity we were asked to watch the video of Clive Shepherd called "Welcome to the virtual classroom" . This is a very well done video, easy to understand with a clear message backed up with nice and bright pictures. Among other things, it explains effectively the differences between Synchronous and Asynchronous communication. I knew those two terms, but if I had not known them the explanation given was so clear that I would know by now.

In this week’s activity I have also been asked to answer the following questions :

What do I want to learn to facilitate?

As this year I am going to teach for the first time Year 11 French (3 years into French/ the year of the first national exam) via Video Conferencing, I need to learn how to facilitate effectively a course. I can teach but I have always taught in a classroom with the students in the same room as me. The biggest problem for me I reckon is going to cater well for those students. I need to rethink the whole program and my whole teaching pedagogy. I cannot just do the same thing I do in class but online. I cannot rely anymore on my sense of humour and my funny faces to make the message go through.
Watching Clive Shepherd’s video and also taking this course online and looking at how the course has been set up, made me realise that the little ideas that I had so far on how I am going to set up my own course were not very good. So I need to read a bit more about how others are setting up their course, especially for teenagers.

What am I doing now in terms of online facilitation?

Nothing at all. Last Thursday during our first Elluminate event, Sarah told us that we will have to facilitate an event during our course. This is actually a brilliant news for me as it will give me some experience before starting with teenagers. I hope that adults would be more forgiven that 16 year olds.

What would I like to achieve ?

I would want that by the end of this course I am not only capable of facilitating an event successfully but that I will also have a clearer idea and maybe a proper plan on how to set up my Own French course.

What do I need to do to achieve this goal?

I need to follow the course consciously and I will need to read online articles and look at what other teachers have done before in order to learn from their successes and mistakes.

Photo source : http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1302/1137999449_d5ab04b27d_o.jpg


  1. Hello Florence, thank you very much for this post - it's great to hear about the things you want to achieve.

    Can I clarify one thing...when you say video conference...do you mean video conference or web conference?

    When you say the ideas you have at the moment are not very good, what were you thinking? Why weren't they any good?

    One thought I had about the mini event you need to put on for this course...why don't you aim it for your 16 year olds and invite them along? :)

    cheers Sarah

  2. Thanks Sarah

    RE Video conference I meant using VLN.

    The ideas I had were the following. I wanted to have a wikispace where students can find resources- this would be the asynchronous communication ( actually in a perfect world I would rather have a website but because it will my 1st year teaching via VLN I am not 100% sure where I am going, so I would prefer now use a platform I am very familiar with).

    My idea of the asynchronous communication was not well planned. By looking at your course I think I am going to create another page on the wiki where kids will find weekly activities and other pages where they can do other activities at their own pace.

    RE the mini event that I could be a good thing. Although I havent had time to think about it at all yet :-) Actually my Year 11 could speak to other teachers about how they want to learn :-) (cf my post earlier this week)

    thank you so much for your help