Over the past few weeks I have developed more of an understanding of what online facilitating actually is. It is not necessarily and soley focussed on teaching. It has been described as being the 'conductor'. Almost like a chairperson in a business meeting.
A great facilitator listens, supports, summarises, keeps time, creates a safe environment online and encourages participation.
To build an online community one needs to first develop a plan, a goal and an aim. Then consider the software or online tool that will best meet this need. For example if I simply want to keep in touch with the students and discuss specific learning attainments, then a discussion board may be appropriate. Once I advertise and motivate the students regarding this, then this will in turn create the community. Really it is about creating the place and the community follows. Hopefully the students will then take ownership. I have also learnt some tips to get students engaging appropriately on discussion boards and forums.
Although I am not lecturing face to face and the current move is away from the tradition teacher centered model this does not mean that 'teachers' or 'facilitators' are now obsolete. I have learnt that the facilitator holds the key to sucess by the way in which they structure the learning experiences.
I have learnt some things about appropriate nettiquette too. Such as;
BTW, THIS MEANS I"M SHOUTING, but if it sounds like I am being hostile I could always add a to show I am happy or smiling and a to show I am angry. If you say something funny and I respond that I am ROTFL that might be appropriate.
I will not want to say anything that might cause offense as I might start a flame war and that would be .
Thanks guys, I will BRB.