First off: I still love the photo. It’s an idealistic novelty treat of a learning environment. It embodies the message that we are here to spur creativity and discovery. That’s still valid and that’s what we tried to do with our Facilitation Week. We did try to create a digital design that was familiar and accessible. We also tried to make it as human as possible. Our synchronous session featured Audrey Watters who tackled the conflict between surveillance and control on one side, and humanity and freedom on the other.
Looking at the two questions put forth in my original blog:
- How can we make digital facilitation more personal?
- Do our learning environments welcome learners or present barriers?
To address the first question: I think that we have to strive to show our humanity. We need to reach out across the bridge of our technology to communicate and connect. We tried to do that through a synchronous session. We offered honest, direct and timely feedback to learner’s debate entries on Mattermost. These were two ways we tried to be persona, but I think that there is still room to increase the personal element.
In answer to the second question, “did our learning environment welcome learners or present barriers?”, the answer is I hope so. One thing I discovered is that it’s difficult to gauge engagement. Learners will participate but how can we gauge their “buy in”. The answer is by soliciting anonymous feedback in a safe environment. I look forward to reviewing the comments. I know that this will be a learning opportunity, and that it will serve as a foundation with which to scaffold further learning, In Dr. Bernard Bull’s Eight Roles of an Effective Online Teacher, the final role is co-learner (Bull, 2013). That, for me, I have learned, is the most important factor.