LRNT 528

3 – 2 – 1 X 2

3 – 2 – 1 X 2

Posted By on Oct 20, 2021

The following post reexamines my earlier 3-2-1 post, Initial Thoughts. The three thoughts, two questions, and one metaphor about my previous experiences teaching online in the K to 12 public  Distributed Learning school is the same, but emphasized, through my experiences as a facilitator and a learner during four weeks where teams of LRNT 528 students facilitated a week-long course.

Three Thoughts

(1) Pedagogy versus resources

I previously identified the struggle of balancing pedagogy with reality. If anything, this struggle was exaggerated in my experiences. Unfortunately, my initial reactions have not changed through the facilitation process. This struggle was less evident these past weeks, which perhaps explains why I thoroughly enjoyed the process of being a facilitator and learner these past weeks. This heightens the importance of organizations providing time and support to let teachers teach and students learn. Table 1 compares a few features of the facilitation week versus the reality of my teaching context:

Table 1: Features of 528 Facilitation Week versus Public Distributed Learning School

Feature 528 Public DL 
Teacher to Student Ratio 1:3 1:200
Prep Time to Facilitation Time 4 weeks: 1 week 1 week: 12 weeks
Learner Experience with Technology Expert Novice
Learner Study Skills Expert Varied
Learner Communication Skills Expert Varied
Enrolment Type Set Continuous

What is most valuable in this table is that the experience felt rewarding and energizing as a facilitator during this course, as the stress was reduced through the support of a facilitation team and a small number of learners.

(2) So much potential

Originally, I mentioned how I felt inspired by the potential in educational technologies. I feel this more strongly now from witnessing and experiencing the success of various online courses. These facilitation weeks showed purposeful and effective use of technologies. Initially, I referred to a metaphor of building a plane while we fly it, now, I think a better metaphor is a pit stop during a car race. The pit crew can change tires in under 5 seconds. By practicing our skills and tools, we can more effectively and efficiently identify the needs to solve. While it’s not glamorous, innovators, like our MALAT cohort, are the pit crew for educational technologies.

(3) Mutual Learning and Teaching

The partnership between learners and teachers was emphasized again through my experiences in our facilitation weeks. This mutual learning contributed to a perceived sense of satisfaction throughout this process. In a world with internet, cell phones, VR, and endless apps, teachers cannot possibly know everything. Accepting this permits teachers and learners to work as a team to pursue personal interests and to develop core skills. This was evident as our cohort wore the facilitator “hat” and student “hat” simultaneously.

Two Questions

    1. How can the satisfaction from this experience be duplicated in the context of public DL schools?
    2. How can online facilitation reach the most disengaged learners?

One Metaphor


See-Saw by Mike Leary CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This see-saw is a metaphor for my struggle in finding the balance between managing realities versus idealities within the world of educational technologies.


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In BC’s K to 12 schools, new electronic portfolios (e-portfolios) have been introduced to assist teachers in communicating ongoing student learning. These e-portfolios are Freshgrade Connect and myBlueprint Spaces. 

Anderson, Archer, and Garrison’s (2000) Community of Inquiry (COI) is a learning theory which specifically considers online learning. COI considers three presences: teaching, learning, and social. The following infographic supports K to 12 teachers in effectively developing a Community of Inquiry (CoI) through sample tasks meant to develop the teaching, social, and learning presence.

These chosen suggestions are based on Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes, and Garrison’s principles of the teaching, social, and learning presences. The rationale is to offer varied opportunities for developing presences to suite varied learning and teaching styles. The variety offered also is intended to support presences in various stages of development and within various subjects and grades. As “[f]acilitation exists as the central activity of teaching in an educational community of inquiry that emerges from the activity between students and instructor” (Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes, & Garrison, 2013, ch. 3) it is the first presence addressed. Teaching presence is important in developing a safe and effective community to allow for learner inquiry. 


Anderson, T., Archer, W., & Garrison, D. R. (2000). Critical Inquiry in a Text-Based Environment: Computer Conferencing in Higher Education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2), 87–105. 

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).

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Initial Thoughts

    1. Pedagogy versus resources

Throughout the MALAT program, I have struggled with aligning the pedagogy versus the reality. For example in my last online facilitator role, there were approximately 200 students and 20 courses. There was also continuous enrollment so that no two students were in the same part of the course at the same time. The administrative task here impedes the ability to teach effectively.

2.  So much potential.

As I learn more about educational technologies, I feel more inspired by their incredible potential. As the expression that was so popular since the pandemic shut down schools, “We’re building the plane as it’s flying”. How can we land the plane to thoughtful reconstruct the most effective use of this technology?

3.  Mutual learning and teaching. 

To develop stronger learning communities, there needs to be a partnership between learners and facilitators.


    1. How can we work backwards to design policies and practices that reflect effective pedagogy?
    2. How can online facilitation reach the most disengaged learners?


Image source:

When thinking of a metaphor for online facilitation, I immediately pictured a wall. I started searching for images of the Berlin wall but found that too overly dramatic. Instead, online facilitation is similar to breaking the fourth wall in theatre. There is a certain fake reality that we have to first breakthrough to get to honest thoughts and reactions. The challenge is that the recipients or learners also need to take part for this to be achievable. 


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