Week 2 Back Pocket Strategies (both teams)

Site: SCoPE - BCcampus Learning + Teaching
Group: Facilitating Learning Online - FEB2015-OER
Book: Week 2 Back Pocket Strategies (both teams)
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Date: Sunday, 19 May 2024, 4:44 AM


Week 2 Back Pocket Strategies (for Mini-session Facilitators)

1. Welcome Week 2 Facilitators!

In Week 2 you will notice that there are two mini-sessions:

  1. Adult Learners Online
  2. Course Review Task Force (Case Study)

The decision to engage in one or both mini-sessions will depend on how many participants are in FLO, and the size of our facilitation teams. If we decide to run with one mini-session, it will be first one, Adult Learners Online. In any case, the Course Review Task Force will remain available for those interested in reading the materials. 

"Back Pocket Strategies" are ideas, suggestions, and possibilities -- not requirements. They are intended to help – not limit – your thinking and planning your mini-session facilitation approach.

In keeping with that approach, there are intended learning outcomes for this week's mini-session. Refer to the Week 2 Overview for the full list of Intended Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria. This will guide your planning. 

back pocket

2. Mini Session: Adult Learners Online

This mini-session task asks you to explore the different challenges and benefits that adult learners encounter when they begin to learn online. What is better, different, the same? How can we, as facilitators, help adults learn more effectively (and enjoyably!) online.

This mini-session task also poses a challenge to you as facilitators. If you choose to accept the challenge (and you don't have to), we ask you to consider ways you can engage other participants and...facilitate without a forum! surprise

The idea is to challenge you to think about and use tools other than the "tried and true" discussion forum tool.

Rest assured; we value forums, it's just that they're used almost automatically, by default. The name of this game is APPROPRIATE technology use (pick the BEST tool to support your goals). Also, we're curious to see what happens when we DON'T use one. Remember, we're all experimenting here in FLO!

Goals of this activity:

Explore the opportunities and challenges of online learning as they relate to the adult learner.

Or, put differently:

  • How/can adult learners get their needs met online?
  • What affordances exist online that match up well with what we know about adult learners?
  • What challenges exist about online that are of special concern to the online adult learner?

The task for your participants:

list/compile/collaboratively write, a short summary of the benefits and challenges that online learning can bring to the adult learner.

Your task as facilitator:

Lead your participants through this process (perhaps without a forum?)

Your participants need to (in the time allotted, on a schedule that you determine):

  • read the readings for this week to get a sense of the issues surrounding learning online
  • look around for other info/sources (optional, but worth a google)
  • share their thoughts in the collaborative tool you have chosen
  • prepare a short summary of the group's conclusions.
  • give feedback on this mini-session activity

What you need to figure out (with our help, if you wish - just ask!) is how you're going to facilitate this without relying on a forum.

How are you going to nudge, prompt, encourage, cajole, support your participants? Where are you going to ask them to contribute their thoughts? 

What tools do you have besides the forum? Plan ahead in case you want to book time with the FLO facilitators to plan/discuss/get something created in Moodle, such as the wiki. Or, choose an alternative that you are familiar with or want to try.

Some extra-special advice (based on past experience)
  • Keep things simple and brief: this means the task itself, and your expectations. Your participants should create a short summary together and share it on the course page for this week. Contact us (ISWo facilitators) if you need help embedding your final summary,
  • Make your instructions VERY (very, very…) clear.

3. Mini Session: Course Review Task Force

This case highlights challenges related to the topics this week: the needs of adult learners, and learning styles.

It seems clear (from the survey data) that learners' needs aren't being met. And, because this course has had bad reviews before, we can't simply blame the instructor (who is new to online teaching). Many of us "inherit" courses designed by someone else and we have to work with it. This can mean we inherit a course that doesn't match our teaching style as well.

Your participants have been asked to review the data (course evaluations, and instructor comments), consider the things to think about, and make recommendations that are specific and draw on the readings or other relevant resources.

Goals of this activity:

Your job, as facilitator(s), is to support this whole process in the time you have (including making time for them to give you feedback on your facilitation). A forum has been created to support your facilitation this week. Is this the only tool you need? If not, talk to the FLO facilitators.

Ideas for facilitating this activity

You could follow this basic four-step process:

  1. Provide a brief overview and orientation to the topic and activities you have planned, and include any information about timeline expectations.
  2. Initiate an activity aimed at engaging participants
  3. Present carefully crafted questions and facilitate the discussion, providing clarification, supplementary instruction, guidance, coaching and feedback as required. Design questions that facilitate critical thinking, application, synthesis, close and thoughtful reading
  4. Summarize and conclude your mini-session.

You may choose to be more or less directive, including things like:

  • defining (even assigning) roles and tasks to individuals (e.g., you could split the group into "course" and "instructor" and have each focus on those 2 aspects of the case)
  • providing interim deadlines (e.g., identify key issues by X date, generate draft list of recommendations by Y date, etc)
  • deciding (or not) what shape the final product (their recommendations) should take. You could tell them to present in any format that makes sense to communicate their ideas (list, table, diagram, collage, video, narrated PowerPoint), or you could assign a format.
  • When providing choice, it's a good idea to ask your learners to commit to their choice by a certain date – this keeps you in the loop, and ensures they're on track

Above all - don't forget that your participants have a limited to time to complete the activity so keep it simple!