Preparing for Synchronous Sessions
What is synchronous online facilitation?
When people are new to online learning it's helpful to learn the terms synchronous and asynchronous.
Synchronous means "at the same time". Synchronous online learning is when people gather together in a web-based space at the same time, no matter where they are connecting from in the world. These gatherings often have a facilitator who is responsible for guiding the group's learning and process during the meeting or event. Synchronous online learning - sometimes called virtual learning - takes place mostly in platforms such as Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (web-conferencing platforms) but we can also layer in other platforms, such as wikis (e.g., Google Docs) or whiteboards (e.g., Mural, Miro), to use at the same time if we wish.
Asynchronous means "not at the same time". Asynchronous online learning often takes place in learning management systems (LMSs) such as this one (it's called Moodle), using activities such as discussion forums, polls and feedback surveys. People participate in these activities at times of their own choosing although, if the learning experience is facilitated, often it involves a cohort or class moving together through the course from week to week.