Unit 1 | Introduction to facilitation (4 weeks)


In this unit, we will begin by exploring your own perceptions of what good facilitation is. We will bring together ideas from topics that you have studied in the past (e.g., theories of learning, learning design, design thinking) and combine them with online learning facilitation ideas (e.g., social, teaching & cognitive presence) to prepare you to design and facilitate student-centred learning experiences.

We will be situating our facilitation work around developing a learning community using the Community of Inquiry framework, which will be introduced and discussed, paying close attention to the concept of teaching presence. We will also be exploring facilitation techniques specific to both asynchronous and synchronous online learning modalities, and explore ways in which you can create a safe & inclusive facilitation space for all learners.

This is a logistically busy unit as you prepare and design your facilitation weeks. In the first half of the unit, you will connect with your facilitation team, choose a facilitation topics, and orient yourself to the course. In the second half of the unit, you will begin developing your facilitation weeks with your team and receive input from your instructor. Your goal is to have a functional module developed and ready to be delivered by the end of unit 1.

You have 2 assignments in this unit. The first individual assignment is to develop an Infographic and accompanying blog post centred around the three presences of the Community of Inquiry model. The second is a team assignment and is the completion of a facilitation plan by the end of week 4. However, before you submit your facilitation plan in week 4, one member of your facilitation team will post a draft of that facilitation plan to their blog for me to review & provide feedback on by the end of week 3.

Learning Activities

Week 1

Week 2

  • Activity 2-1: Participate in Moodle discussion
  • Activity 2-2: Attend a synchronous welcome session (date and time tbd based on results of Week 1 Doodle poll).

Week 3

  • Activity 3-1: Participate in Moodle discussion on synchronous & asynchronous facilitation
  • Activity 3-2: Teamwork designing & developing  Assignment 2
  • Activity 3-3: Test your access to Moodle Innovate. Please ensure you have access to Moodle even if you do not plan on using Moodle for your facilitation week as other teams may be using it.
  • Activity 3-4: Post a draft facilitation plan on blog.

Week 4

  • Activity 4-1: Gallery walk. View and respond to class Infographic & blog posts
  • Continue planning your facilitation week
  • Continue participating in Moodle discussions

Assignments due this Unit

Activity 1-1 | Orient yourself to the course

View the course overview video, review the course and unit schedules to get a sense of the flow of the course, and read through the course assignments.

Activity 1-2 | Test your access to Moodle

Class discussion will take place in Moodle forums. You need to check into Moodle by the end of the first week. As the course facilitator, this is the first indication that I have that you are engaged and not having technical issues with accessing the course. If you have not checked into the Moodle course shell by the end of the first week, i will be reaching out to you to make sure everything is ok.

Activity 1-3 | Record & post a short personal reflection video

Prior to doing this activity, please read the Bull (2013) course reading. After you have read the article, I would like you to record a short (maximum 3 minute) video where you reflect on a previous facilitated learning experience you have had where you found the facilitator to be exceptional or outstanding. This experience could be in a previous online or face-to-face course you have taken, a professional development workshop or training course, or some other formal or informal learning experience. Describe the experience. Upon reflection of the event, which of Bull’s eight roles did your exceptional facilitator demonstrate, and how did they demonstrate it? Other than the eight roles described by Bull, did the facilitator demonstrate any other qualities that made the event exceptional in your mind? What were they?

Once you have recorded your video, post it to the General Class Discussion Forum in Moodle.

Activity 1-4 |3-2-1 blog post

By the end of week 1, I would like you to write a blog post on your initial response to the topic of digital facilitation using a format known as 3-2-1.  There are no right or wrong answers in this activity. The blog post is meant to be a starting point that you will revisit at the end of the course to see how your own thoughts and ideas on digital facilitation have changed over the course.

Your blog post is meant to quickly capture your initial thoughts about digital facilitation and follow this 3-2-1 structure.

  • 3 initial thoughts, ideas or feelings you have about facilitation in digital environments.
  • 2 questions you have about digital facilitation.
  • 1 metaphor or simile about digital facilitation. This can be text or an image but should be something that metaphorically captures and represents your own thoughts on digital facilitation.

This is not meant to be a long activity, so keep your blog post to no more than 300 words using headings and lists to differentiate between the three sections.

Activity 1-5 | Meet your facilitation team, choose your topic, and pick a facilitation week

More details on how the facilitation weeks will be structured and a sign-up sheet for topics will be available via a Google Doc I will share in week 1 of the course.

Activity 2-1 | Participate in Moodle discussion

After you have done the week 1 and 2 course readings, you can participate in the discussion on Moodle. Our discussion will revolve around what a facilitator is and what they need to do to set the stage for a successful learning experience. We’ll also look to turn the theoretical Community of Inquiry into more practical and pragmatic items that you can work with as a facilitator.

Activity 3-1 |Participate in Moodle discussion on synchronous and asynchronous facilitation

During weeks 3 & 4 there will be a Moodle discussion on synchronous and asynchronous facilitation.

Activity 3-2 | Teamwork designing & developing  Assignment 2

This week is a planning week for you and your facilitation team. During this week, you should be meeting and communicating regularly with your teammates as you plan your week of facilitation. You should be discussing and creating learning objectives, finding and vetting appropriate content (readings, videos, etc), designing activities, and making technology decisions on platforms you will use to deliver the content. See Assignment 2 for more information.

Activity 3-3 | Test your access to Moodle Innovate

Please test your log in access to Moodle Innovate Now with your RRU credentials. Note that Moodle Innovate Now is a different Moodle platform than the one we use for our class. Moodle Innovate Now is located at https://innovate.royalroads.ca/now/ You and your team can use this as a platform to facilitate your week. Eve if you do not plan on using Moodle as your facilitation platform, please make sure that you have access to Moodle Innovate as other teams may want to use it during the weeks when you are a learner.

Activity 3-4 | Post a draft facilitation plan on one team members blog

By the end of the first week, I would like one of your team members to post on their blog a brief outline of your facilitation week plan (see Assignment 2). The plan does not need to be complete at this point, but I do want enough of an idea to get a sense as to what you are planning. Remember: don’t over-plan your week. One main activity will likely be plenty. A good week can be as simple as a good reading, interactive synchronous session, and a rich asynchronous discussion.

Activity 4-1 | Digital Gallery Walk: View and respond to class infographics and blog posts

Do a virtual gallery walk around your classmate’s blog posts and infographics. A gallery walk in a face to face classroom is an activity where content is posted on the physical walls of the classroom and the learners move from one piece of content to the next. In this case, the content is your classmates blog posts & infographics and the walls are their blogs. Review 3 or 4 infographics & posts and, when you find one that you connect with or wish to comment on, leave a comment.

As a prompt structure your comment using a simple format called “I Like, I Wonder” where you point out one thing about the infographic/blog post that you like and why, and one thing about the infographic/blog post that you are curious or wonder about. It does not have to be an extensive critique of their work. Just make a point or two about what stands out to you about their infographic and/or blog post. And if someone posts a comment on your post, remember to respond to their comment.

Note: If you are moderating comments on your blog, please allow these comments through so that I am able to see who has completed the activity. Or, if there is a reason why you do not wish the comments to be visible on your blog, please email me the comment directly so that I can be sure to give proper participation credit to the person who left the comment.