The new 3-2-1 blog post – Refelction on facilitaition week

The past 8 weeks have saw a rewarding learning experience of facilitation in digital environments. In retrospect, here is the reflection and update on my previous 3-2-1 blog post (to see my original post, please click here).

Point 1: To promote interaction is the key

Unlike the initial choice in my previous post, the first point that concerns me after the 8 weeks’ learning is facilitators’ leading role in promote interaction in the digital environment. This choice comes from both my own experience involved in the course design and management over the facilitation design and the learner of the rest 3 teams. The significance of leading interaction and maintain the impetus of each participant cannot be emphasized more over the facilitation week, from the ice breaker module, to the synchronous session. It is the transition from social interaction to academic interaction and critical discourse that moves the learning community from social presence to cognitive presence and leads to deep and meaningful learning outcome (Vaughan et al., 2014).

Point 2: Facilitators’ role as a learning coach

While facilitators encouraging interaction is imperative to social and cognitive presence, their role as a cheerleader comes to me as the second key point. In the digitalized environment, students would encounter various impediments, whether these be technological problems, confusion over course content, or just lack of learning enthusiasm. All these problems had happened to me throughout the facilitation weeks, and it was where the facilitators who provided great support in dealing with all these problems. This role of learning coach is justified over the experience, it is to provide subject over to students, to teaches them to throw a spiral for themselves (Bull, 2013).

Point 3: Do not overburden learners

This point is the very one that I have ignored over the facilitation week. This is also reflected in the feedbacks of many learners. It is also one of the requirement of the facilitation assignment; however, I didn’t realize the learning pressure until I experience as a learner of other teams’ course.

2 questions you have about digital facilitation.

The two questions in my previous post still remain over the learning experience. To create a humanized digital learning community and how to create a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere in virtual classroom is still ranked as my top concern; however, I did learn from the facilitation session, both as a learner and teacher, to learn to use ice breaker strategies to start conversations among teachers and students, thus facilitating social presence. Particularly, as a learner over the facilitation week, I also learn the importance of giving special attention to individual students who are less involved in interaction.

Metaphor:

I still remain my metaphor of the role of facilitator in digital learning environment, who is expected to act as a conductor and arranger of an orchestra. In my former expectation, the facilitator should also ensure every student receives equal consideration, and I would add another point from my experience from the facilitation week: facilitators manage and ready to change the design over the implementation according to the feedbacks of different students, so as to make the course content to cater to discrete needs of individual learners.

References

Bull, B. (2013). Eight Roles of an Effective Online Teacher. Faculty Focus.

Vaughan, N. D. 1960-, Garrison, D. R. (Donn R., & Cleveland-Innes, M. T. A.-T. T.-. (2014). Teaching in blended learning environments : creating and sustaining communities of inquiry LK  – https://royalroads.on.worldcat.org/oclc/875241319 (NV-1 online resource (viii, 142 pages) : illustrations.). AU Press. http://www.deslibris.ca/ID/447286

Reflection and Personal Exprience of Informed Conflict

Photo on I-sight

I must say it is a rewardable experience to learn the conflicts and solutions in a systematic but concise way.

Among all types of conflicts that taking places, what concerns me more is relationship conflict. Such a conflict seems difficult to address, as it is caused by innate attribute or personality. While grouping students with commonalities together seems to be a remedy, it doesn’t work in small combos with only 2-3 students. And such types of small classes are very popular in customized courses in my school: fewer learners in a course offers students better learning efficacy.

In such a case, to avoid relationship conflict, I sometimes need to give special treatment to the more introverted students, who are less likely to express their frustration, for example by asking more feedbacks from them to find out how they think. In many cases, they may have a sense of inferiority when their peers show a proficiency in certain realm. My solution to cope with the feeling usually is to sharing personal learning stories featuring commonality with them.

Apart from that, I also act as an interpreter of these introverted students over discussion, help them to express what they think in a more logical way, and ask them if I am on the same track with them? By doing so, in case where relationship conflict cannot be avoid, I hope such approaches can alleviate the communication impediments. As mentioned by Shonk, 2020, teacher acting as a mediator can be of great help in dealing with this tricky conditions.

Reference

Shonk, K. (2020, October 1). 3 Types of Conflict and How to

Address Them. Program on Negotiation: Harvard Law School.

https://www.pon.harvard.edu/daily/conflict-resolution/typesconflict/

Assignment 1 | Create and share an infographic – Strategies for 3 Presences of COI

 

For teaching presence:

Strategy 1:Be present at the course site

Maintain frequency of presence via a variety of tools, whether these be virtual classrooms, emails, or texting, responding to learners’ questions in a real time manner (Boettcher, 2011).

Strategy 2:Reach out to students prior the course

Plan instruction and guide for students long before the course starts, devoting more time to guiding the students instead of preparing lessons. It helps students better prepare for the future learning (Eight Roles of an Effective Online Teacher, n.d.).

Strategy 3:Ask for feedbacks over the course

Response timely to students’ feedbacks and make adjustment when needed over the course – to treat the course in an agile model of course design, like a jazz combo (Bates, 2015) .

For Social presence:

Strategy 1:Encourage purposeful engagement

Encourage interaction, and relationships between members of the group is practical measures to maintain purposeful engagement in terms so social presence, practices regard this include setting the tone of openness, fairness, safety, and debate (Garrison et al., 2017).

Strategy 2:Establish diversified connection with students

Translate all communication ideas in the face-to-face setting to the digital environment, for example by sharing personal experiences, leaving feedbacks, synchronous conversation (SIP 10.10 Establish a Strong Social Presence Online – The Well, n.d.).

Strategy 3:Take advantage of the online discussion board.

Use online discussion board to establish conversation is a useful way for establishing social presence for all learners. Activities regarding this include asking questions, posting threads relative to courses, group discussion.

For cognitive presence:

Strategy 1:Give support for students’ understanding

Use discussions to encourage students discourse with questions so as to avoid any misunderstanding; Give directions and instructions to assist learners in moving beyond misconceptions; Provide indications of the connection of new knowledge with prior learning experience or knowledge, thus helping students understanding of new knowledge.

Strategy 2: Initiate practical application of knowledge

Use case study to help students understand the application of theoretical knowledge in addressing real-world problems.

Strategy 3:Encourage reflection

Design clear rubrics for learners’ reflection and assessment.

Organize peer-review activities to encourage students to exchange their understanding and reflection, based on precise rubrics for assessment.

Use discussions to encourage learners to share their own experience in applying what they have learned in real work contexts or their learning goals for the future.

These strategies are based on the ‘three Rs’ of student engagement presented by  Littky and Grabelle, (2004).

  1. Relevance – prompting student curiosity and making connections to previous learning and knowledge.
  2. Rigour – asking students to solve problems that are meaningful to them personally.
  3. Relationships – designing a learning environment where students can work collaboratively.

References

Bates, T. (2015). Chapter 4.7 ‘Agile’ Design: flexible designs for learning. In Teaching in the digital age.

Boettcher, J. V. (2011). Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online Quick Guide for New Online Faculty. Designing for Learning.

Eight Roles of an Effective Online Teacher. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2021, from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/eight-roles-of-an-effective-online-teacher/

Garrison, D. R., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Vaughan, N. D. (2017). Teaching in Blended learning environments – Creating and Sustaining Communities of Inquiry. In E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Framework for Research and Practice, Second Edition.

Littky, D., & Grabelle, S. 1970-T. A.-T. T.-. (2004). The big picture : education is everyone’s business LK  – https://royalroads.on.worldcat.org/oclc/57225159 (NV-1 o). Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. http://site.ebrary.com/id/10070403

SIP 10.10 Establish a Strong Social Presence Online – The Well. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2021, from https://sites.msudenver.edu/sips/sip-10-10-establish-a-strong-social-presence-online/

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

 

3 initial thoughts, ideas or feelings you have about facilitation in digital environments.

The top 3 initial thoughts about facilitation in digitalized learning environment are as follows:

The first thing that concerns me of the facilitation in digital environments is to clarify the difference between traditional lectures and Internet-based learning. While the learners of lectures are reliant on teachers’ delivering knowledge to them, those registering for online courses are more self-reliant.

Based on this understanding, the next thing to realize is the role of teachers in digital learning environments. Rather than delivering knowledge, the new role of teachers is to become a guide showing students what and how to learn independently, which is mentioned by Bull (2003) in his discussion about roles of an effective online teacher, who act as a tour guide for students in their journey to new academic fields.

The last thing that stands out to me is how to achieve the target of digital facilitation. This is the topic I have learned from LRNT524 (Innovation, Design and Learning Environments), which compares different course design theories. It is the where I need to spend more time to experiment and evaluate over this course module.

2 questions you have about digital facilitation.

The first question about digital facilitation that concerns me most is how to create a humanized digitalized environment; this is the very problem that exhausts me so far. For example, it is difficult to start topics for discussion and guide students to participate.

Another question is how to create a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere in virtual classroom, where teachers are not physically present.

1 metaphor or simile about digital facilitation. 

If I need to make a metaphor about digital facilitation, I would say the approach is more like conducting an orchestra. The facilitator acts as the same role of a conductor and arranger, who are responsible for the organization of the roles of each member of the band, making sure every one has a role to play and the whole is on the right track. In particular, the facilitator should also ensure every student receives equal consideration – just like a conductor needs to ensure every instrument has its voice in the band.

References

Bull, B. (2013). Eight Roles of an Effective Online Teacher. Faculty Focus.