Automating Instructional Design: June 6-24, 2011

Suggested Topic for Seminar Week #2: Online Facilitation Tools

Suggested Topic for Seminar Week #2: Online Facilitation Tools

by Bill Thimmesch -
Number of replies: 4

Given all of your experience with online learning and facilitation, what best practices have you seen in higher education for online teaching and facilitation?  For example, have you used tools like Voicethread or web conferencing with any success?  How do you integrate instant messaging or live student chats to boost interaction and learning?  Please share here...


In reply to Bill Thimmesch

Re: Suggested Topic for Seminar Week #2: Online Facilitation Tools

by Sylvia Currie -
In thinking about online facilitation tools, it strikes me that an important question is: What decision processes do you go through when selecting the appropriate tools to support various learning activities?

In the context of "automating" these processes (guiding might be the right word here) are there decision-making tools that can help us? I think of useful resources like the Digital Habitats "action notebook" for community stewards, a series of checklists and questions that guide you through the decision process for community stewards. What exists for instructional designers when selecting facilitation tools?
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Suggested Topic for Seminar Week #2: Online Facilitation Tools

by Valerie Taylor -

These are a bit dated, but they are still useful. The checklist items are guided by Chickering & Gamson's perspective that the goal of a proper undergraduate education should be active, cooperative, and challenging.

The specific items were adapted from Instruction and technology: Designs for everyday learning Mehlenbacher, © 2007 Research-based recommendations for practice in online teaching and learning across five dimensions
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Suggested Topic for Seminar Week #2: Online Facilitation Tools

by B Ferrell -
There is no one checklist for selecting media/tools for learning activities.

Probably the most recent tech matrix was that of Ann Luck of Penn. It is outdated now because of the new technologies in use, but I have received permission from her to update and expand it.
The main categories were:
(Instructional Strategies)
"Low Tech"
"Medium Tech"
"High Tech"

The strategies included :
Lecture (including "guest")
Large group discussion (full class)
Small group discussion
Cooperative learning
Peer teaching
Case study method
Panel discussion
Computer-assisted instruction
Field experiences
Laboratory experiences
Role playing
(Usually 1-on-1; includes interactions w/people or technologies)
Studio (e.g. for an art course)
Concept Mapping

However, the decision for tools depends on three main factors: content,..which media has the characteristics to deliver the content and interaction best(efficient and effective), the next best ones and the cost and time factors for development. There may be a "best solution", but usually it is a compromise.

For instance, you wouldn't think of delivering role play through an audio tape, but you could by having voice content and then having the learner play the role of answering, but its not very much fun and and probably not very effective. A more colorful way would be video tape, but again, not the most engaging and feedback is again lacking. A cd/dvd could do the same thing and could be more non-linear in redoing, practice etc. The most effective, would probably be one to one with a person/group and script with feedback ( carefully delivered). But..suppose you are in Timbuktu and you have only online delivery..Well you could possibly do online audio or video conferencing
but the cost?? Also, the equipment, etc would probably not be in place or limited in tech compatibility. Again..the circumstance, cost etc. would dictate the final choice.
Newest tech option..tablets (that can call) or smart phones with video streaming possibilities. Cost..could be astronomical depending on content and phone plans. Small screens, limited.

The learner is also another issue that has to be addressed and it will NOT be the same each time.

The choice has to be based on the characteristics of the medium/tool and how it can be utilized. Sometimes thinking outside the box may be the best solution.

Ann's matrix had this so you can see the need for the updates:

Role playing

Go to Top of Page

-E-mail -LISTSERV postings -Audioconferencing -Existing software -Web-based resources (no plug-ins required) -Telnet -Audioconferencing -Existing software -Web-based resources w/plug-ins

Romiszowski is probably my favorite author for such issues in dealing with traditional media and he is mentioned often in the chapter below.

This chapter will explain the issues:




At one time SWRI had an automated media tool but it got to be too costly to maintain and update with the rapid advances in tech. They use GOSE and the military uses AIM and AIM II now. None of which are available to the public.