I’ve had a really full couple of weeks, and have had little time to devote to FO2010. I missed the last virtual meeting but I’ve at last managed to make some time and start getting back in the loop. Yesterday evening, I helped Carolyn Hastie track down a problem where the link to her blog wasn’t working on the participants’ page of the course wiki. I felt the years rolling back as I went into debug mode. Yes, I do miss being a regular IT guy! Thanks Carolyn for the kind words in your blog when you wrote up the problem and its resolution 😀
I’ve wizzed through the reading for week 4. Overall what stood out for me was that while the material was all about online education, I think there are several nuggets that can be used more generally when facilitating online. First, however, a few words about each of the resources.
CoP Series #10: Stewarding Technology for Community by Nancy White
I found sections 1 and 2 very refreshing – my old hobby horse of requirements before design. I liked the categorisation in section 2 of what types of tools support which learning activity – without naming specific examples.
I love the concept of “technology steward”. I think I do this from time to time, and I enjoy it.
It was good to see a discussion about security. My opinion is make things open unles there’s a really good reason to close them. Nancy White gives some good examples, e.g. the unconfident learner, so support that individual appropriately. But try to bring them into the open, if they’re at all willing.
I thought this was a very workable and usable model – and I think our Sarah wears all four pairs of shoes well.
I can see how this model makes sense in any online learning context, even though the description speaks mainly to asynchronous environments. As a group, I think quite a few FO2010 participants are already constructing knowledge, and I think most are at least somewhere between socialisation and information exchange.
This was not new to me, but I thought it was nicely arranged. I particularly valued the Wikipedia reference, wherein key points for me were the wide variability of what’s considered acceptable and the health warning abotu publishing (or not!) guides to acceptable practice. In my experience, best practice is now for organisations to have an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). Something for us all to think about outside FO2010.
The biggest takeaway of all for me is that we need to think about what our clients/students/participants have/want to do, and then what sorts of tools and technologies will best help them to achieve their goals.
I think understanding the concept of a technology steward and acting in that role will stand any online facilitator in good stead – whether in education or elsewhere.
From the four pairs of shoes, I think the Social Director, Program Manager and Technical Assistant pairs shoudl be worn in any online facilitation context. The Instructor is likely only to be appropriate in a learning environment.
I think Gilly Salmon’s 5 stages of moderation could be a useful model outside education for any group that’s going to be together for a while. Obviously it won’t apply for one-off sessions, which do occur quite a lot. In fact, my current day job is mostly rnning these sorts of one-off workshops.
And now, it’s off to week 5’s material in time for the next virtual meeting due to start in only a couple of hours. Nothing like last minute prep!