Monday, July 25, 2011

Facilitating Online- Last assessment

It is the end of the online facilitating course I have been doing for teh last two terms. It is the end of a journey I have very much enjoyed. Last week I hosted a mini event online. Here are my reflections about it following the question/ criteria asked from my course.

What went well, and what did not go so well
I thought it actually went quite well overall. I was quite relaxed and I was very happy that my mentor Rachel was here to support me if needed. I actually needed to have Rachel stepping in at one point when I asked the participants to click on a link in order to watch a Common Craft video about RSS Feed. I didn’t know that the audience could not see exactly what I could see as a host. Rachel dragged the Weblinks Box where everybody could see it. I was also quite happy that I was able to switch between boxes quite fast and that I could use the full screen option in such a way that it did not slow down the event.
How the event was organised and promoted
The event for promoted within our small community of Virtual Professional and Leadership Development. This was done by Rachel Roberts during our last online meeting, our last F2F meeting and in a virtual newsletter. So a lot of people knew this session was on. Participants had to RSVP their participation to the event in the Ning used by this community.
All the information needed to access the event was done perfectly. Each participant knew the phone number to dial in order to get the audio for the event.
support (technical and access)
One of the first participant entering the room was not sure which number to dial in order to get the audio. Using the chat box I pointed out to this person where to find all the information needed. After my explanation s/he managed to have the audio and was able to participate to the event.
relevant for the audience
I actually think that the session was relevant for the participants because each one of them asked question during the event which shows that they were involved and engaged.
Whether the event was managed and conducted smoothly - particularly noting how you handled any disruptions.
As I said earlier, I am happy with my speed going from one box to the other and using efficiently the full screen option. Unfortunately I needed help to show the audience the Weblinks box.
What efforts you made to ensure that all participants knew where they were supposed to be and when, and arrange technical support for people?
I used the chat box constantly to see if each participant knew what we were doing and I also asked them on the phone (audio) if what we were doing made sense. I had also prepared the room during the day to have everything set up in order to run the event smoothly.
How you set the stage, made introductions, explained the aims, and whether you managed to remain neutral and facilitatory
Rachel and I have set up the room during the day to have all the boxes we needed at hand and we also have spent some time to check that the video we wanted the participants to see was working well. We decided to send the audience directly on the internet and ask them to mute their phone as the internet connection was way too slow. In all this little trick worked perfectly and everybody enjoyed the video. This is something I could do next time.
As I was very prepared and that I had notes next to me it seems to me that I gave clear instructions.
How you did a round up, drew closure and indicated where recordings and other follow up materials would be made available.
As I was co hosting, Rachel took it over for the round up. She asked the participants to think about who could take next session. She also made the recording of the session and said that the next day it will be in our community ning.
Feedback from audience?
The participants seemed happy as they thanked us and asked a lot of question.
How you would do things in the future?
I think that next time, I will take time preparing the room as we did this time. It was quite good to have already everything handy. I also feel more confident as I have learned a lot of tips. I would be quite happy next time to do the recording myself as another challenge.
General comments and additions
I was very lucky to have Rachel with me as it was like being an acrobat with a safety net. I felt very secure as Rachel was here to catch me in case I needed help. For my first time as an online facilitator it was a very good idea.

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