Activity Overview

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Identify potential facilitation responses to address the concerns of learners expressed during a mid-point course evaluation
  • Recommend a range of facilitation practices to support student engagement and success online

Timeframe and Mode

This asynchronous activity will take place over 5 days of the course.

Overview of Activity

The focus this week is on a case example of students’ dissatisfaction with a course taught by an instructor new to online teaching (the case study is embedded in the Week 3 page). Given data from the mid-point course evaluation and some commentary from the instructor, you are asked to guide an exploration of potential strategies or techniques that the instructor could implement to improve student learning. Although some of the issues may be related to course design, the focus should be on facilitation options.

Part 1
In the first part of this activity, you should provide some foundation for the topic to the participants. Either assign a reading from the list of Relevant Readings and Resources in the document OR write/create something that “sets the scene” for the activity. (Hint: Keep that "thing" very small and manageable for the participants.)

Part 2
Direct participants to read and analyze the case study data and situation description. The case study includes some questions to guide discussion.

Your team should decide how to engage participants in reviewing and analyzing the case study information, using the situation and "things to think about" questions. You could divide participants into small groups to analyze portions of the case study data and then share their analysis. Or you could allow time for individual reading and reflection and encourage some form of collaborative summation.

Part 3
The third part of this activity is to ask participants to consider their advice to the instructor from two different perspectives:
1.  How would you suggest the instructor could respond to the mid-point feedback from students - before the course is complete?
2.  What could the instructor do to prepare for a better teaching experience (and learning experience for students) during the next online course?

Provide a schedule of events with due dates for all parts of the activity. Ask for help from your FLO facilitator if you're having any problems envisioning how this could work.

Facilitation Tasks

Your facilitation should help participants think critically about the topic and stay “on time”:

  • post a clear, concise “launch” message in the week’s forum (direct participants to the Case Study: Mid-point Course Review and your detailed instructions and schedule)
  • monitor activities in relation to due dates - connect with participants who are lagging
  • respond to questions/confusions as quickly as possible
  • allow “space” for discussion but post prompts or clarifying questions to help the group engage in exploring relevant ideas around “instructor presence”, online learner communication and support techniques and various good practices in online facilitation. Encourage participants to share experiences and identify readings or other resources that support different facilitation responses.
  • encourage / help participants to create two lists or summaries (focused on possible facilitation responses the instructor could apply before the end of the course under review AND potential future facilitation practices and preparation the instructor could learn/use for the next online course) to post to the week’s forum
  • encourage participants to provide feedback by the weekend

Team Planning Space

You have access to a planning forum (visible to your team members and the FLO facilitators) located in the Facilitation Teams Workspace. Use this forum to ensure that all members of your team and your FLO facilitator are kept informed. The FLO facilitator can assist you in accessing features/functions of the Moodle course site and providing assistance in your scheduling and planning.

Relevant Readings/Resources

The following readings/resources from the Week 3 Overview are particularly relevant to this activity:   

  • Facilitators' Thoughts
  • Facilitation Responses
  • Effective Communication
Team Tasks
  • Connect with team members to plan the activity in your team planning forum - decide on roles and responsibilities of team members. Draw upon the support of your FLO facilitator for any pedagogical or technical assistance you may need.
  • Review the Case Study: Mid-point Course Review (found in Week 3 tabbed page).
  • Review this Activity Plan and work together to craft instructions and share facilitation tasks to support learners. Note the activity's intended learning outcomes.
  • Determine if you will involve participants in individual reading/reflection and/or divide them into small groups to discuss, then share to the larger group.
  • Choose the collaborative tool that you'd like to use (Google Doc or Moodle Wiki or the Forum).
  • Organize your team members to provide support, as you decide is necessary, throughout the week.
  • After your activity has finished, encourage participants to provide feedback by weekend.
  • Complete your FLIF individually before the next week begins.

Tools / Structures

Create an Instructions and Schedule resource which will guide participants through the steps of your activity and provide due dates for each step. You can do this in a Moodle page, a multimedia resource that you create (screencast? video?), or within the forum you have in your week. (Note: You will need to ask your FLO Facilitator to post any new resources to your activity area.) Remember that you only have 5 days; be clear about who is doing the task (i.e. individual or groups), when and where.

Collaborative Tool: Choose a collaborative tool and ensure that you include instructions for the second and third parts of the activity. Decide where participants will discuss their analysis of the case study data, collect their recommendations and create two lists:

  • recommendations the instructor could use in the second half of the course under review;
  • recommendations to help the instructor improve her practice for the next online course she teaches.

Week's Activity Forum: Post a very brief statement about the activity in the Responsive Facilitation activity forum's description (i.e. the top part) and link to your collaborative document. (Your FLO Facilitator will have to update this for you once you provide them with the text.) Summaries from the two perspectives described in Part 3 of the Overview should be posted to this forum.

Post your “launch” message as a new discussion topic to "set the scene" and invite participants to start the activity. (Remember that participants are automatically subscribed to the forum so each should receive an email after you post.)

Last modified: Friday, 23 September 2016, 12:07 PM