Monday, 8 December 2008

Wk10_Looking for online communities-Virtual World (Catch up post)

Write a post to your blog with ideas on what sort of communities exist on Second Life and how you might operate as a facilitator for a community communicating on it.

It’s a shame that I cannot log onto and experience second life due to my poor Internet connection. I googled, read articles on Second Life and watched machinema from YouTube. All these efforts provided me a rough idea of what is Second Life.

What is second life

Second Life (abbreviated as SL) is a 3D virtual world developed by Linden Lab which launched on June 23, 2003 and accessible via the Internet. From then on, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by millions of residents from around the world.

Users, also are called Residents can to interact with each other through avatars. Each resident can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade virtual property and services with one another. Second Life is designed for users over eighteen, while Teen Second Life is used by residents aged between thirteen and eighteen.

Machinema from the link at YouTube gives introduction to Second Life. Residents can meet their friends in real world in Second Life. They can have discussion, meeting and transactions via their avatars. Residents in Second Life form different communities through their interests.

Education in Second Life

Second Life is gradually accepted and is used as a platform for education by colleges, universities, libraries and government entities. There are over one hundred regions used for educational purposes covering different topics and subjects. It is an excellent platform to deliver high quality service to world wide audience at low cost.

Dodson believes that
“Second Life constitutes a good example of ‘edutainment’ - the idea that students are more likely to learn if they are first amused.”
Suppose we can join or form a community in SL and using it as a platform to discuss or share the learning information in SL. I suppose we can help a meeting or discussion in SL so every residents of the course can interact with fellow residents. I hope I can explore Second Life soon. I am really interested and keen on it. Probably after my Internet connection is fixed, I would like to spend more time on it. I am sure it will be helpful for facilitating online communities in SL in the future for me :-)


Dodson, S. (n.d.). Is there a second life for teaching? Retrieved 12 08, 2008, from

Friday, 5 December 2008

Wks 15_16: Evaluate the facilitation of an online event

This week we reflect on the experience and make note of the things that happened and what we learned from it all

1. Preparation:

The preparation of the practice was a bit rushing for me. Thanks for the online conference I attended with Leigh and Nellie (yes, only three of us for that online meeting) and Nellie would like to help me with the topic of “Connecting Online in Developing Countries”. Leigh started sending emails to several potential guest speakers for my session. Thanks Leigh for your help ^_^

Although it was quite hard for me to organize the session while I was in China for one month holiday, you can imagine I was soooo busy in visiting families, relatives, dining with friends, shopping and dealing with all sorts of things. And I had no computer at that moment and had to go to the Internet café checking my emails and contacting with my guest speakers. With the help from Leigh and Nellie I started the preparation of the online session.

With emails send and received quite a few times between me and my guest speakers - Nellie, Minhaaj and other people. We discussed and determined the session time and decided to run an online session on WiZiQ.

Meanwhile I posted all the original thoughts on my topic and the preparation material into my blog, then into course mini-conference page, advertising the upcoming online session and invite others coming to the session. A public session is organized on WiZiQ and we posted our advertising information on WiZiQ too. And I am happy we successfully attracted more than 10 people (except me and guest speakers) attend the session. And most of them are come from developing countries, India, China, Pakistan, Mexico, etc.

When we decided to use WiZiQ as our session tool, I was not quite confident with using it – I never heard of it before. Thanks to Minhaaj and Nellie, we had a simulated meeting on WiZiQ so that I got some rough ideas on how to use it. Staff from the WiZiQ held a tutorial online for me on the day before the session started. Been trained and knowing that Nellie would work as a moderator on that session helped me a bit confident when the session started.

2. Facilitating

Nellie is very experienced and quickly finding several of us cannot talk using microphone. But still we encountered several online drop offs and a few microphones didn’t work. Even for my guest speaker – Minhaaj, his microphone didn’t work at that moment. That’s quite a bit stressful. Luckily his typing skill is excellent and he typed what he prepared in the chatting text box.

Start the session

At the beginning of the session I introduced myself and my guest speakers, briefly introduced what is going to be discussed during the session. I was happy to know many attendants were from developing countries. We started with the experience and barriers we encountered while connecting online in developing countries.

Although we met with different problems from individual computers, the start was going smoothly; people would like to share their experience. But I believe that part is a bit longer than expected. But in the session time I didn’t realize it. I was busy in listening (quite hard thou, English is not my first language, so there’s a time delay translating what I heard in English into Chinese in my mind, no matter how long or fast this period of time is), thinking of what questions or comments I should give, reading text message from chatting area… Didn’t notice time went that fast.

Move forward

Another speaker, Nalin didn’t attend the session but he asked Nellie present his notes. It’s a succeed presentation and he gave several issues currently exit in developing countries for connecting online. Many of us seemed experienced the issues more or less mentioned in Nalin’s note.

I did research the topic before we started the online session but still not as familiar with the topic as my guest speakers were. Most of the time I stepped back focused on asking questions or making comments on participants’ response. I think I was doing the facilitator’s job, although I am not satisfied with my efforts on conducting the session.

Time was not very well monitored in this session. I didn’t realize time went that fast. Nellie helped a lot to move the session forward. I am not satisfied with my questions; some of them didn’t help to conduct the session. One of the questions I asked was: “is there anybody would like to share any more information with us?” It should be more specific. I should write down the possible questions as much as I can before the session started. That might help me to ask proper questions and move the session forwards.

We met several technical problems, e.g. problems with microphone, getting offline in a sudden, etc. When I asked Minhaaj to talk as a guest speaker, he told me his microphone didn’t work at the time. But I thought he was the guest speaker and should give us more information on our topic. So I asked him to type the information. He did and I was glad to see his typing was very fast. So I read out his typing, instead of himself presenting his thoughts.

I’ve got at least two very active students. WrXianxian wanted to talk all the time and he was given several chances, but for some reason we could not hear him. Jimmy was very active in both talking and chatting with others. I shouldn’t pay too much attention to the active students while ignored other quiet ones.

Overall the participants were very keen to share their views. When we start to discuss using mobile connecting online in developing countries, everyone is willing to give their own ideas, listing the advantages and disadvantages, mainly through chatting area – everyone had the control of using chatting box, while to ensure voice quality only one person can talk at a time.

Round Up:

Thanks Nellie she knows WiZiQ quite well and she allowed everyone to access whiteboard by using their pens to write on it. It was the most exciting part of the session, people wrote down their thoughts of current issues and the possible solutions. But because I didn’t timing very well so the conclusion part for our course is a bit rushing and Nellie added extra ten minutes to complete the session.

I guess Nellie knew I was a new user to WiZiQ, so she told all the participants how to access the record of the session afterwards, which supposed to be done by me. Having an expert as Nellie was so helpful in my session J

3. Review

What was done well

I think the part that I read out Minhaaj’s typing was good. Minhaaj was supposed to present as my guest speaker, but his microphone didn’t work that day. So I asked him to type out and I read out.

For some students, e.g. Wrxianxian who were really keen to speak, I tried several times to give him chances but maybe due to technical reasons we could not hear him. But I think the effort that tried to bring him in was good.

During the session, several participants came a bit late and I briefly repeated what the session about. I found a bit tricky letting late comers know what we were doing. It could be good, but if it’s too much it could be a disruption of the session too.

Needs improve:

In the whole session I was busy listening people talking, monitoring chatting content, checking new comers and greeting them, thinking what I should do next. I was too busy in these things. And the timing was not very good so we didn't cover all the topics. I think if I get another chance to facilitate an online session, maybe I will have a list or agenda besides my, listing all the topics and questions supposed to ask, just remind me keeping on track, timing effectively and focus on all our topics. As Chase (2003)suggested ‘Constant reference to the agenda will help you concentrate on what tasks the group should be working on’

Unexpected faults happened during the session, e.g. dropping offline, microphone didn't work, etc. I should have a back up plan, like Kay and Elaine did, to deal with any unexpected situation.
There was not enough communication between me and my moderator - Nellie. I emailed her about my thoughts, I would like to start with report several interviews I’ve done in China about the topic. Probably she misunderstood what I tried to say. So at the beginning of the session while Sauvinder (WiZiQ support staff, from India) came to the class, she urged me to have an interview with him, which changed my original plan. I think it was caused by lack of communication, or maybe because of my English, still not good enough L

I am glad to have such an experience. Many things I thought I could do for granted, e.g. I thought I could multi-tasks during the session; imagine facilitating wouldn't be too hard, but I was wrong. Anyway, I learned quite a lot from the practice, and I think after more practice and review, all of us will do better as a facilitator in an online session.


Chase, P., O’Rourke, S., Smith, L., Sutton, C., Timperley, T., & Wallace, C. (2003) Effective business communication in New Zealand (3rd ed.) Auckland, New Zealand: Pearson Education. ch. 20. Meetings.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Week 14: Reflect on different kinds of online communities

Requirements for this week:
You should now have more understanding about the difference between a community, a group and a team. Also how the roles of a teacher, moderator and facilitator differ and the diverse range of skills each role needs. Spend this week reflecting on what you have learned so far about different online communities and the roles and skills required of an effective facilitator.

Community, group and team

Community is a general term for people gathered together around common purpose, goal or interests. According to wikipedia (, the definition of a group is stated as following:

sociology, a group can be defined as two or more humans that interact with one another, accept expectations and obligations as members of the group, and share a common identity. “

I believe members in a group may develop more closed relationship by having common interest, heading to same goals and more important, by interaction between group members. As
Kay indicated, a group could be formed within online community. With the group for this course group members did develop a closer relationship compared with those outside the group. As Nellium, Minhajj and I formed the team for the practice of facilitating online session, I feel in the team, each of members need to do their job properly and collaborate with other team members working towards a specific goal. Maybe in a team they have a same goal, specific task to complete, so members need to plan, organize, share and exchange information together, working together to achieve their goals. From my experience of facilitating online session, I feel the interaction and relationship between team members is more active and stronger.

Teacher, facilitator, moderator

It was a challenging topic for me before we start the practical facilitating. I am happy after that, through practice I learned more about these three roles.

We are familiar with teacher’s role. Teacher is the one delivers information, gives instructions and provides demonstration to students. Like my guest speakers I invited to my session, they prepare their speeches and deliver information on the topic to our attendance. My role as a facilitator is asking questions, directing the discussion and activities. I tried to encourage attendants to think and discuss more about the topic and by applying facilitating skills guiding attendants approaching the solutions. In my online session Nellium worked as a moderator. She stepped back and helped with technical issues, handling with speech control. She started the session, monitored the whole procedure and ended the session at the end.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Wk12-13 Facilitating an online session

This week we are required to:
Help document the conference by posting commentary to your blog.

It’s really good that we have a chance to facilitate an online session by ourselves. To me, this practice teaches me more than I expected.
I was a bit rushing in organizing this session after returned back to NZ from overseas. But thank God finally before the session started, everything had been done in time.

One of my guest speaker Nellie suggested using WiZiQ as our session platform and I had a session training me on how to use it the day before the session start. A bit rushing again :-( On the session time I worked as a facilitator and Nellie helped as a moderator.

I was so nervous when we started the session and also were surprised there were many people attended the session. Our topic was “Connecting Online in Developing Countries”, and I was so happy to know many of the attendants were coming from developing countries. So obviously the common interests gathered us together to our session.

Several students were quite active, and keen to have a chance to speak. But unfortunately we had several technical problems: one of my guest speaker’s microphone didn’t work! Imagine how anxious I was. Luckily his typing skills is excellent. So he typed and I tried to read out the words for him. Several people had the mic control but their mic didn’t work, and several offline and online again. Gosh, what a mass! So I think next time better to have a back-up plan in mind, to deal with all these unexpected situation.

I am not satisfied with my facilitating. I thought I can multi-tasks. But unfortunately on that session, it’s so hard to be multi-tasks. I had to listen to the speech (using English, instead of my first language) and make sure I didn’t miss something or misunderstood any key points. Meanwhile, monitoring the chatting and try to pick up some points from the chatting text. Also have to think about what to do next, what question should ask after the speech… I didn’t cope very well. I was too focus on the small pictures and forgot the whole picture.

When listening my session’s record (you can click the link below:
I realised the questions I asked didn’t help the session move further. We spend too much time on starting the topic, only several minutes to the conclusion part. So maybe I should be aware of the time control.

Lots of things need to be improved, and from the practical session I did learn quite a lot. It’s not as simply as I imagined. And also I feel, although as a facilitator we don’t need to be subject matter expert, but adequate research on the topic will make us more confident and help to guide the session better.

Week 11 Looking for online community: Social networking platforms

This week we are required to:
Write up a description of your experience with your chosen community (one of the three: Facebook, Ning, LinkedIn) and include ideas on how you think facilitation would work in such a context.

I’ve never been to above three communities before I start this course. Thanks Leigh this paper really brings me to a wider field of relearning and I have the opportunity to learn and experience more on communities.

One friend from this course is a member of LinkedIn and invited me to put comments on her profile. So I registered in LinkedIn and then found it a very popular platform for people to be linked and exchange all sorts of information through it.
I like the ideas of LinkedIn. Besides name, everyone has his / her own profile, most of them displayed a photo of themselves. That makes names and pictures of individuals more meaningful. The first thing after registered, I searched for different groups and joined two of them. I subscribed group news and discussions everyday. So everyday the discussion info is send to me. By reading and replying I feel I am one of a group people, thou we never meet each other, but I am connected. Now as a start, I have 2 individual linked with me. I can tell many people have hundreds links around them. Amazing!

In LinkedIn, from my experience by far, in the groups that I joined in, people keep posting advertises, articles, questions. It’s hard to apply facilitating skills in the group. Maybe we could ask questions about specific topic to help it go a bit further?

Friday, 7 November 2008

Week 9 - Planning Mini-conference

Sorry for the delay of the post. I had a very very very busy holiday in China for the last several weeks. Not handy to get online, and another main reason is – I’ve got no time to go to the Internet Café and spend hours there. Now it’s the time to catch up, thou a bit late.

Week9 – Planning Mini-Conference
This week we are required to publish the plan of mini conference.

Background information
This is the first time for me doing a course within an online community. I am happy to know various kinds of online communities and experienced quite a lot. It’s really great that I know I am connected and I can share my thoughts, my experience with my peers, get the support from them. Thx guys who visits this blog and left your comments here

Leigh introduced several of experienced wonderful online tutors. We had a really nice chat and decided our topic is “connecting online in developing countries”. I myself had the experience of been connected online in China, and another guest speaker, Minhaaj, living in Pakistan and is experienced in online teaching and face to face teaching. He knows a lot of current issues of our topic. My dear buddy, Nellie, helped a lot in the session preparation and she is a wonderful skilled online tutor, quite familiar with online teaching and knows exactly about the online learning in developing countries. I am so happy we have such a great team to work towards our goals.

Actually I myself am interested in this topic too. All the questions that I can think about at this stage are listed as followings:

  • How’s the situation in developing countries to be connected online?
  • What are the main issues connecting online in developing counties?
  • Are the barriers for us to go online the same for people in developing countries?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities for people living in developing countries to be connected online?
  • Is there any difference between the communities in developed and developing counties?
  • How to empower online communities in developing countries?

Hope from the online session we can learn more on this topic

Overview of mini conference
Title: Connecting online in developing countries
Facilitators: Joy and guest speakers: Nellie, Minhaaj

  • Explain current issue of connecting online in developing countries

  • Discuss the current situation of online communities in developing countries

  • Summarize characteristics of online communities in developing countries

  • Find out different ways to improve and empower online communities in developing countries

Guest speakers: Nellie Deutch, Minhajj


We are connected online and forming various online communities. Do you know what problems people living in developing countries meet when they try to join in online communities and maintain the connection? What is the situation of online communities in developing countries? Our guest speakers are all very experienced and skilled in this topic. Come and share your thoughts and you will get more information than you expected.

Event time:

Sat. 8th, Nov. 2008 8pm-9pm NZ time. (Sat. 8th Nov. 7am-8am GMT), Check your time here

Discussion starters
At the beginning of the session, I will introduce my guest speakers to our students. Asking all the attendants to briefly introduce themselves.
To start the discussion, I will introduce several interviews I had done in China. Then I will ask attendants to share their personal experience of online community access problems, e.g. language barrier, technical problem, Internet access, etc.

Technical support service

We’ll use WiZiQ as a platform for our online session. So all the attendants need to sign in WiZiQ. WiZiQ is an amazing online learning tool and I am totally attracted by it. We can use audio and video information for our online session and every one attend the session need a microphone (at least a headphone) to talk to others. WiZiQ provides free induction of how to use it. Student can book with their fantastic team. I had one session last night and it was fabulous – very well organized information, clear demonstration. It’s great!

WiZiQ will keep all the session information, e.g. audio recording, chatting text, white board, etc for a certain period for users to review. What a great idea!

Concerned issues
It’s a bit inconvenient for people to sign in WiZiQ before they attend the session;
The audio recording can only be played back in WiZiQ and shared on WiZiQ. Haven’t found any way to download it.


The preparation work is much more than I expected. It’s a good experience of team work, especially teamed up with people they are experienced and from various background. Great to work with them.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Week 7 -Blogosphere

1. Look at the Wikipedia entry for Blogosphere and pay particular attention to the See Also section. Read up on one of the listed blogospheres in that section and write a post to your blog that explains in your own words what a Blogging Network is and can be - cite examples.

2. Review this course as a blogging network to date. Does it connect out to a wider network, or is it insular? Does this blogging network have a facilitator or should it need one? Consider your role in helping to develop this blogging network. Finally, comment on the strengths and weaknesses as you see them, of a blogging network for online community development.

What is blogosphere? Here are several of the definition for it:

Definition of Blogosphere:Basically it was coined to describe the interconnection between the millions of blogs on the internet.

Millions of blogs and their contributors and users to a blog biosphere or ecosystem...Many blogs syndicate their content to subscribers using RSS, a popular content distribution tool.,,sid26_gci1007574,00.html

The blogosphere is a term used to describe the millions of interconnected blogs on the Internet.

The first time I have been to Global Voices Online. The goal of Global Voices Online is displayed in teh homepage as following, "Global Voices aggregates, curates, and amplifies the global conversation online – shining light on places and people other media often ignore."The declaration really attrached me. So I clicked links and read them. Then I was totally indulged in reading all the information from it! What an amazing websites! It intergrage lots of information on different topics, on almost every country in the world, and of course, info of the latest news can be read here as well.

To me, using blod and reading blogs is a new experience, only after I started this course I get more "touch" with blogs. Before that to me blogs are more private space to share infomation with friends. I never try to get into the blog network before. ALL I did is follow the links some pages that I read and read somebody's blog. This time when I tried Global Voices Online I realised a blogosphere could be so huge like Global Voices Online and could contain such a varity of topics. I added it into my favourate websites and would visit it regularly later, and I am sure I will get more acknowledge on blogoshpere.

Review this course as a blogging network to date. Does it connect out to a wider network, or is it insular?

For me as a new user of blog, and also always struggled to read all the postings and discussion at the beginning (thanks Leigh set me free by telling me it's optional to read info from google discussion group, and I did, totally ignored it ^_^). Now I only focus on reading the posts from my blog list. So as far my experience to date, the blog connections of this course is more like a group rather than community or network. Maybe to others who read and cross linked a lot it is a wider network.

Does this blogging network have a facilitator or should it need one?

This blogging network is a bit different. We have learning goals to achieve in a certain period of time. So for members dedicated into the course and would like to keep on track we have to read and post regularly and to make sure everyone is on the right track and encourage them to getting to the goals every week, we do need a facilitator to organise, encourage, give feedback and trace everyone's process.

Consider your role in helping to develop this blogging network.

Same as Kay Lewis mentioned in her blog, I am doing the similar things: posting regularly ( I am still far behind and trying to catch up now); reading and commenting others blogs (mainly those from my bloglist) etc. I am sorry to say maybe I didnt help very much on helping to develop the blogging network. I am just focus on the "small group" of my bloglist and try to be active in reading and posting, although I know I am not that active as I should be :-(

Comment on the strengths and weaknesses of a blogging network for online community development.

The most significant character of using blog for me, a new user, is that blog is more private space. I feel it's mine blog, recording all the thoughts of mine understanding. I do have a strong feeling of owning it. Sometimes I am suprised to this feeling too, especially when I examined all the content on my blog, which is nothing personal, private or sensitive. I know everyone can read my posts and leave comments on my blog but still I look after it like taking care of my baby :-) and it's mine, how wired... :-)

So this kind of privacy keep me feel safe and more comfort. But on the other hand, it's not like discussion forum, every topic is listed publicly and easy to be accessed. Blogs content is not easy to organise and displayed, the difficulty of access maybe a barrier to public awareness? Or maybe I am still not quite familiar with the way to access and visit blogs so that's why I feel it's not that handy to move from one blog to the other.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Week 6 -Discussion Forum

Task for Week 6 - Discussion Forum

1. Locate an example of an online forum and post to your blog a link to the forum with an assessment of the identifying features you might look for in an online community. Include in your post a comment or some ideas on how the forum might benefit from facilitation services - such as a coordinated event to help focus people around a particular issue, or the writing of a summary to close a thread in the forum.
2. Conclude your blog post with a list of facilitation techniques you think might be useful in assisting community communications through discussion forums generally.

Before I immigrated into New Zealand, I was living in China. A forum for people like me who are considering their immigration or are waiting for the results of their immigration application did help me a lot. The forum provides all the updated news on immigration policies. I went there to read all the latest news, essential information of the life in NZ. The most attractive part for me is that I can ask questions and I still remembered how anxious I was waiting for the answers from others in the forum. People in the forum even group up together by areas they are living and by the time they moved to NZ. They helped each other, exchange information and even made phone calls to their ‘friends’ on the forum. I really enjoyed the time when discussing and browsing on the forum. Even several years later while I am living in Auckland I still go back to the forum and help other new comers fit into the new situation. That might be the so called “sense of belonging”? It’s a shame that I cannot show you guys because the forum is in Chinese.

To complete the required task for this course, I tried another forum about travelling to China. The address is:

This forum is very well structured. You can find relevant information in different topics, and you can even choose your travel destination so all the posts relevant to your destination will be displayed.

Obviously this is a very popular forum attracted thousands of people. There are posts on travelling tips, living in different cities, general info of China, etc. And people asking and answering questions quite actively.

For the forum like this, people just come and exchange information. As a facilitator I won’t expect doing too much on it. But what I can do is maybe:

  • Providing general updated information;
  • Post information on topics that people might be interested;
  • Summarise most interested and most frequently asked questions from ‘old’ posts (maybe weeks, months or even years ago)
  • Highlight the title of ‘good’ posts (could be important notice, latest update, most popular post, useful introduction, informative post, etc…)
  • Set certain threads (e.g. most important, helpful, popular) on the top of the forum
  • For some popular topic maybe could provide cross links to other threads / forums / websites
  • Try to raise questions that is practical to the travelling
  • Encourage people post their travel stories and reviews of their experience.
  • Provide suggested travelling plan in details, e.g. details on 5 days tour in Beijing, including accommodation, transport, food, sites introduction, event information and background of each travelling sites, etc.

Any more ideas, guys? Pls leave your thoughts here ^_^

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Week 4_5 Teaching, Facilitating or Moderating?

Teacher, facilitator and moderator

As a teacher, the way knowledge is delivered is teacher-centred. Teacher provides all the learning information and explanation. Student learns in a passive way with no or less critical thinking.

Teacher has more control in the learning process. I was a teacher in China before I came to NZ. Work as a teacher in China, sometimes you need to push student to achieve the learning outcomes. Teacher does take part of responsibility to help student achieve learning goals, especially when work with young children. Maybe in NZ it’s different?

Facilitating occurs in a student-centred learning environment. The main role of facilitator is to help student achieve their learning goals; help them to find their own learning path so they can learn in their own way, and maybe in their own pace. (As mentioned in Elaine’s and Kay’s blogs). Facilitator also needs to guide student to get on right track and attain the required knowledge.

Work as a facilitator, there’s less control on the learning course content and how to deliver the course to students. Student needs to be responsible for his own study and should develop self motivation to catch up with the course and finally complete the course.

The least control in study occurs when work as a moderator. Moderator usually stops the conflict and make sure the discussion is on the right track. I would say this role is more monitoring than guidance and assistance.

When are these three roles appropriate in an online community?

In an online community, I think it’s good to give basic information and learning materials as a teacher at the beginning of the study. Then assist and helping student to do more research on specific topics as a facilitator. And help with discussions and students’ work to help student get the right information and skills. Working as a moderator, we can monitor the discussion and filter abusive or offensive information.

In our classroom students attend any booked session and learn in their own paces by themselves. I am working in the classroom as a facilitator. There’s hardly any chance to be a moderator in our classroom but more chances to work as a teacher. The role shifted between teacher and facilitator depends on student’s learning ability, problems they encounters, etc. As both Elaine and Kay mentioned in their blogs. In our classroom, when student first starts the learning and not used to the self learning environment, they need teaching on basic concepts by using examples familiar in their daily life or work or by showing them how to work on computer. When students gradually get used to the self learning style and become more independent more facilitating skills are required to help and encourage students to complete the course.

Gilly Salmon & Ken Giles (1997) state that online learning can be divided into 5 stages.

1. Access and motivation stage: Students are required to set up the system and gain access to online course.

2. Online socialisation stage: Students get to know the social environment and try to take part in it.

3. Information giving and receiving stage: Students get the huge range of online information and start to contribute.

4. Knowledge construction stage: Through interaction and collaboration students start this stage.

5. Development stage: the learner is moving towards becoming independent online.

There is a overlap among teaching, facilitating and moderating roles in an online community. For example, in the first stage I think both teacher and facilitator roles can be applied here. Tips of how to set up the system and access to the online course should be given to help students get everything ready for their study.

In stage 2, maybe more facilitating skills can be applied than teaching skills? The main goal at this stage is to encourage socialisation between students and help them get familiar on how to use the learning environment.

At stage 3, although both teaching and facilitating can be applied in this stage, for provide learning materials, maybe a teacher can do better to deliver learning materials with clear and enough explanations and extra learning material to help if necessary. At this stage, students expect a teacher rather than a facilitator to help, I guess?

When students start knowledge construction through discussion and collaboration we need to step back and allow students to start their own interaction and knowledge generation without interference from the tutor. Helping students to find their own pathway to obtain and apply the knowledge / skills.

When students become more independent and gradually increase in confidence, there is generally less intervention by tutors. So the role should be shifted to facilitator or even moderator.

Gilly Salmon & Ken Giles. (1997, Oct.). Moderating Online. Retrieved 09 03, 2008, from Berge Collins:

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Week2_3 What is online communities

Task for Week 2 & 3:
Write a post to your blog with your thoughts about the meaning of an online community and its uses. Include a list of identifying features that YOU would look for when assessing an online group or network for features which make it a community.

According the definition from (what is virtual commuinty?, 2006), online community, (also called virtual community) is a community of people sharing common interests, ideas, and feelings over the Internet or other collaborative networks. As we know community is a group of people, maybe variable in size, who come together around a common purpose, goal, or interest. They come to online community for certain reasons. Some come for same goal, or share their interests, exchange information, feeling be cared by others, etc.

Rheingold (2000) gives his definition about online community as a
“social aggregations that emerge from the Internet when enough people carry on public discussions long enough and with sufficient human feeling to form webs of personal relationships in cyberspace.”
Online community is consisted of people coming from different places or countries. There’s no geographic limitation like our traditional communities. Through the Internet technology people can form any community from different countries with different cultural background. They could communicate either synchronously, e.g. live chat online. The communication may occur asynchronously, for example, sending emails, posting on discussion forum, or leaving comments on blogs, etc.

Here are some types of activities people have enjoyed through these online connections.

  • Socialize – People come to online community to meet others, playing around, sharing stories and just taking interest in each other. Such communities may focus using bulletin boards and chat rooms, etc.

  • Information exchange - Online community attract people with same interest to form a group, where members can get more information from others. They share the information and support each other. Groups for people dealing with certain diseases, people studying together, all can form a nucleus for an online community.

  • Group together – Online community offers local communities (geographic) ways to communicate and work together. Community groups such as school groups and others have used online community to provide forums for information and discussion, helping bring groups together and creating closer connection.

  • Work together – Work groups within companies and between companies use online community to build their team, keep in touch and even work on projects together.

Thinking about online community, especially thinking of the course, facilitating online community, maybe the first question we are facing is: how to create an online community? How to motivate members engaged in community activities and discussion? Hope I will find the answers through further study.


Rheingold. (2000). Howard Rheingold's - The Virtual Community. Retrieved Aug. 18, 2008, from

what is virtual commuinty? (2006, Sep. 22). Retrieved Aug. 28, 2008, from,,sid9_gci213295,00.html

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Week 1 (28th July, 2008 -1st August, 2008) Orientation

The course of Facilitating Online Communities starts this week. I was looking forward to learn more online facilitating skills and imagined it would be very interesting and a challenge for me.

Supposing as a tutor / trainer who facilitates online community should be very familiar with the "places" that can gather people together as a community, e.g. forum, discussion board, blogs, wiki, discussion group, etc. But I am a lil bit worried. Although I am working in computing fields for years, I am still not quite familiar with above mentioned "places". For example, I spend hours to set up this blog, play around and get familiar with it. But according to the course requirement for this week, I have to set up a RSS News Reader and subscribe to the blogs of others in the class. Now I am struggling try to do it successfully. Maybe it will take a while for me to get things done...

I completed three other Applied eLearning courses online. Actually I am not "brand new" to online study. Just feel strange why I feel very stressful for this course? Is it because I am not familiar with Wiki, google group, and RSS?

I hope I can continue and successfully complete this course. I know there are several "classmates" doing the last paper enrolled into this course too. But I cannot find them... shame

Well, this week will be extremely hard for me. First, I need to be familiar with all the new tools for this course. Second, I dont want to feel be isolated, so still need to find others and maybe add their blogs into mine? Well... see how far I can go