Course Overview

Site: SCoPE - BCcampus Learning + Teaching
Group: Facilitating Learning Online - Synchronous FEB2017-OER
Book: Course Overview
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Sunday, 3 July 2022, 8:07 PM

Course Description

This course - Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) - Synchronous - introduces participants to best practice strategies to plan for, facilitate and follow up after facilitating synchronous online learning events. It is meant to help you enhance skills you need to confidently and effectively facilitate synchronous online learning. It is designed to provide you with opportunities to see and learn from examples of synchronous online facilitation and, if desired, practice synchronous online facilitation skills in a safe environment.

We say "if desired" in the above sentence because in this course you have a choice to engage in this course via one of two different "tracks". On one track you will review and provide feedback to your fellow course participants who choose to complete a facilitation (or co-facilitation) of a synchronous online session before the course is finished. On another track you will complete that facilitation or co-facilitation and reflect on feedback given to you. To decide which track is best for you, please visit Participant Tracks and Outcomes, the next page of this Course Overview.

FLO - Synchronous is a complementary course to Facilitating Learning Online - Fundamentals which supports facilitators to learn how to facilitate in asychronous environments. Like FLO - Fundamentals, this course builds on the fundamental principles of the Instructional Skills Workshop. These principles are:

  • participatory and learner-centred - participants form a learning community and support each other's learning
  • a safe, respectful learning environment - you will be encouraged to take risks, be creative, and learn from your mistakes
  • feedback-rich - you will be encouraged to give and receive feedback with fellow participants
  • reflective practice - you will analyze and critically reflect on the art of facilitation and your facilitation skills
  • relevant and meaningful - you will explore the future application and transferability of your learning in this course

Technical Requirements

This course is focused on planning for and facilitating with synchronous web conferencing technologies such as Blackboard Collaborate, Adobe Connect, etc. However, you do not need to have access to a synchronous web conferencing system in order to be able to take this course; one will be provided (Blackboard Collaborate).

However, you do need to:

  • be able to connect to Blackboard Collaborate
  • have a webcam for your computer
  • have a headset for your computer (or at the very least a mic and speakers but a headset is the better choice)

Participant Tracks and Outcomes

Participant "Tracks"

Participants can choose to take this course either as a Reviewing Participant or as a Practicing Facilitator. This flexibility allows you to choose what kind of learning is best for you at this time - whether you’d like to spend your time in the course discussing best practice concepts, reviewing examples of synchronous online facilitation and providing feedback, or alternatively “getting your feet wet”, planning for and facilitating a short synchronous online event and receiving feedback.

Reviewing Participants are expected to:

  • be an active participant in the course throughout its duration (see participation expectations)
  • give feedback to Practicing Facilitators as they prepare for their facilitation
  • participate in at least two synchronous online sessions of Practicing Facilitators and give feedback to them

Practicing Facilitators are expected to:

  • be an active participant in the course throughout its duration (see participation expectations)
  • plan and facilitate a synchronous online session near the end of the course, either alone or in a pair
  • participate in at least one other facilitated session by a fellow Practicing Facilitator and and give feedback to them
  • ask for feedback from Reviewing Participants and course facilitators both as you plan your facilitated session and after your session; do own reflection on session

Learning Outcomes

The following are the different sets of intended learning outcomes for the two participants tracks for this course.

Reviewing Participants track

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  1. Identify effective planning and facilitation strategies for synchronous online sessions
  2. Provide effective feedback to facilitators of synchronous online sessions
  3. Explain the importance of evaluation for synchronous online sessions
Practicing Facilitators track

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  1. Apply effective design strategies to plan for synchronous online sessions
  2. Lead synchronous online sessions using appropriate facilitation skills
  3. Use a web-based platform at a basic level to facilitate synchronous online sessions
  4. Use reflection and feedback gathering to evaluate synchronous online sessions
Course Self-Assessment Rubric

To get the maximum benefit from this course, it will be helpful for you to reference this self-assessment rubric before, during and at the end of the course. To successfully complete FLO Synchronous, we ask that you "meet" or "exceed" requirements for the criteria that pertain to all participants and to the course track that you were on (Reviewing Participant or Practicing Facilitator).

You will be asked to submit this self-assessment to course facilitators at the end of the course.

Participant Facilitation Sessions

Late in this course, depending on the "track" that you've signed up for (as explained on the previous page), you will either be:

  • Reviewing Participants: participating in and giving feedback on at least two synchronous online sessions facilitated by Practicing Facilitators, or
  • Practicing Facilitators: facilitating or co-facilitating a synchronous online session for Reviewing Participants, course facilitators and any other guests you wish to invite

This experience is a chance to practice and demonstrate - in real time - some of the concepts that we will be discussing and modelling in this course - whether you will be facilitating or giving feedback on facilitation.

For Reviewing Participants, you will need to:

  • In Week 2, respond to questions from Practicing Facilitators as they plan their facilitated sessions
  • In late Week 2/early Week 3, participate in at least two sessions being facilitated by an individual or pair of Practicing Facilitators, and complete the Facilitation Session Guide (below) during or after your session attendance
  • Give feedback to those facilitators in Week 3

For Practicing Facilitators, you will need to:

  • By the end of Week 1, decide if you are going to facilitate alone, with someone in the course, or with someone outside the course, and if co-facilitating, work with them during Week 2 to plan your facilitation
    • As part of this, you will need to decide if you are going to facilitate something in a content area (i.e. a subject you'd like to teach/explore with your participants) or if you are going to facilitate your participants through some sort of process (e.g. brainstorming), or a combination of both
  • Facilitate your session in late Week 2/early Week 3, giving advance notice to course participants/facilitators via the Booking Wiki (in the Hub)
  • Reflect on your facilitation and post your reflection in Week 3; receive feedback from course participants and facilitators
  • Participate in one other synchronous session facilitated by your course peers and provide feedback on that session

Frequently Asked Questions of Practicing Facilitators

What is the length of the session that I should facilitate?

If you are facilitating alone, your session should be approximately 15-30 minutes in length. If you are facilitating as a pair, your session should be approximately 30-45 minutes in length.

Who will attend my facilitated session?

You will need to advertise the date of your session with your colleagues and facilitators in this course via the Booking Calendar. You may also wish to ask your institution colleagues (or even family and friends!) to attend your synchronous session so that they, too, can provide you with feedback. Note: Course facilitators may not be able to attend all synchronous sessions but will give you feedback based on your request for feedback (described below) after you reflect on the session and post about it.

What should my session be about?

If you are facilitating a content area, you can choose any appropriate content subject you like that you think is ideal to fit the time frame of the session. If you are facilitating a process and not "teaching" a topic per se, then you will want to think of a focus for the session, perhaps in a question form. Use the Facilitation Session Guide (below) to help you plan.

Who should I ask questions of when planning my session?

Please ask questions of the entire class, not just the facilitators. Reviewing Participants along with the course facilitators are tasked with giving feedback as you plan your session. If you are co-facilitating with someone in the class, you will also be working with them to plan your session.

When should I facilitate my session?

You should facilitate your session sometime late in Week 2 or early in Week 3. If you want to use one of our class Collaborate Rooms to facilitate your session please book it using the Booking Calendar in the Hub. You must record your session. You are welcome to use another platform that you have access to if you don't want to use Blackboard Collaborate.

What should I do after my session?

Reflect on your session after you have facilitated, ideally with your co-facilitator if you have had one. Use the Facilitation Session Guide (below) to assist in your reflection. You may also want to read the Week 3 notes on reflection.

Ask the participants of your session to fill out a short evaluation. You can either give them the Facilitation Session Guide or use a short evaluation form that you create yourself.

Follow a 3-2-1 Feedback structure to post your reflections in the Week 3 discussion forum by the date indicated in the Course Schedule. This structure is:

  • 3 things that you thought went really well in the session in terms of your facilitation skills, technical skills or session design
  • 2 things that you weren't sure went well or that you think could be improved next time
  • 1 question that you have for the group about something specific in the session that you are wondering about or would like feedback on

To help your course peers and facilitators be able to give you feedback on certain portions of your session, please re-watch your recorded session as much as you need to and note the times that certain things occurred and post these timings in the forum with your 3-2-1 structure.

Facilitation Session Guide

Use this Facilitation Session Guide to help you plan and reflect on your session (practicing facilitator) or give feedback on the session (reviewing participants).

Participation Expectations

This course is participatory and cohort-based. To derive maximum benefit, and to be fair and supportive to your course colleagues, you need to participate fully in course activities.

We recommend that you set aside 6-8 hours per week for the course activities. Expect to participate in a mix of synchronous and asynchronous online activities throughout. In terms of the synchronous activities specifically, in order to be able to successfully complete this course, you must participate in at least:

  • two of the three synchronous online sessions hosted by course facilitators
  • two other synchronous online sessions that you will either facilitate, co-facilitate or participate in

Plan to log into the course several times each week (daily would be best) to also keep up with asynchronous course activities. This is a short course but a full one; you will have the most success if you schedule time into your calendar to complete the course and keep up your momentum with it equally over its duration.

It is important for us all to demonstrate presence in the course and contribute to it by bringing our voice to the discussions and activities (while balancing our "airtime" with that of others). Meaningful discussion posts go beyond simple "I agree"-type responses. They are thoughtful ones that often:

  • advance and open up the discussion
  • respectfully acknowledge others' way of thinking
  • make connections between course concepts and own or others' related experience
  • draw in concepts and theories from related fields of practice
  • include links to or make references to additional external resources related to the course content
  • and more!

You do not need to respond to each discussion post, but do notice whether all posts are acknowledged by someone. Your contributions to the course support your colleagues' learning; in turn, their contributions will support yours.

Lastly, please be courteous to our course community and let us know if there is something impacting your ability to be present with us in the course as expected. If you plan to be away for more than a few days you may wish to consider if this is the right time for you to take the course. Please connect as soon as possible with the facilitators if this situation arises for you.

Learning online (synchronously or asynchronously!) can be a tremendous rewarding experience. We look forward to your engagement in this learning opportunity.

Providing Effective Feedback

This course provides us all with an opportunity to give effective feedback, particularly to the Practicing Facilitators who will be asking for feedback both during the development of their session in Week 2 and after their session in Week 3.

Here are the feedback guidelines that we use in FLO - Fundamentals, which also apply to this course:

Feedback is essential to learning. It lets people know whether they are mastering the outcomes and indicates whether or not remedial or additional action is required. Feedback can also encourage learners to stretch and reach new heights. Feedback is like water or air for online learners; they need it to survive.

Feedback can be inspiring to learners. It can assist struggling learners who need more encouragement and positive reinforcement. It can also help learners better appreciate the specific strategies they need to use to improve their skill level or performance. Nevertheless, if not done with sensitivity, respect, and empathy, feedback can also be devastating. Poorly planned, or awkwardly phrased feedback can confuse and demoralize a learner.

To be effective, feedback should be positive, concrete, and specific. Feedback should also be instructive. Like asking good questions, providing feedback also enables participants to reflect on their learning and determine possible follow-up actions and strategies.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Understanding privacy

Trust is an essential part of any successful online course. Our learning relies on the exchange of honest, constructive feedback, and we need to agree that our online learning environment will be private and confidential. Always seek permission to share content posted by participants.

If, during the course, you use free online services or social media to complete course activities, please ensure that you are familiar with the levels of privacy available, how the information will be stored and shared, and that any participants you involve are also aware of these aspects. 

Thank you for doing your part.

Access to this course space

This offering is accessible to the course participants, facilitators, special assistants (individuals who are supporting or preparing to facilitate the course in the future) and, occasionally, website administrators who we may call upon to assist with technical issues and editing. You will continue to have access to the course content and participants' contributions after the end date, and for as long as this website is supported.

Course License

This course is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.