3 Thoughts about Digital Facilitation
My first thought (probably not surprising) is to do with the fact that teachers around the world were thrown into becoming digital facilitators this year. For some, the transition was smooth yet for others known as digital visitors, it was quite a challenge. Observing my peers making the transition was quite interesting. Some of them didn’t think they could manage it and considered quitting their jobs, but it didn’t take long for them to adjust and become comfortable.
My second thought comes after reading Bernard Bull’s Eight Roles of an Effective Online Teacher (2013). While I do agree with his point of view, I think it also depends on different online learning environments. The roles that a digital facilitator in a Master’s degree program for instance takes on are different than those for an EFL teacher to adolescents such as myself.
My third thought is in regards to learning activities that can be performed in face-to-face learning environments versus online. It seems to me that Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes, and Garrison (2013) claim that certain activities are meant to take place in one environment or the other, however I disagree. As a facilitator, there are several activities that I have used both in person and online such as lecture, debate, games, and audio/video clips. They can be adjusted to suit one, the other, or both.
2 Questions about Digital Facilitation
Prior to COVID, I heard many people say that facilitating in a digital learning environment was not for them; that a traditional setting suited them and their students best. I wonder if being “forced” into teaching online has shown them some of the many benefits of online learning environments and changed minds?
I’m wondering how I can personally improve as an online facilitator and look forward to finding that answer in this course.
1 Metaphor/Simile about Digital Facilitation
Most of my students are twelve to fifteen years old and are very active in class. Always eager to participate. When facilitating my classes online, a lot of them changed. I had to constantly come up with new ways to keep them interested and willing to participate (and not disappear when called upon), so for me facilitating online was like operating a claw machine. I’ve been back in the physical classroom for two weeks for some of my courses and they are back to their normal, focused selves now.
Bull, B. (2013). Eight Roles of an Effective Online Teacher. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/eight-roles-of-an-effective-online-teacher/
Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Athabasca University Press. Chapter 3: Facilitation (pp. 45-61). Retrieved from https://read.aupress.ca/read/teaching-in-blended-learning-environments/section/43261c4a-6d4c-44cf-8c7f-60bc306eb03a