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:
http://node1.nirvanix.com/authorgenBackup/authorgen/recordings/119/4613/%20116200813554AM27/Recording/Index.html
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.

28 comments:

Kay Lewis said...

Hi Joy
Well done! I have to say Elaine and I experienced very similar things and I agree with all your comments - especially: not feeling fully prepared; trying to multi-task - I ended up being the 'guest speaker' and Elaine was the facilitator and the only way she could distract me was to hold BIG pieces of paper in front of me to try to grab my attention - we were using Elluminate and I found it almost impossible to talk and to monitor the text chat! Plus, like you, I had no idea of the time. Elaine also stated she would have felt a little more confident had she known a little more about our topic!

The experience as you say though, has been a fabulous lesson and has taught us so much.

Joy said...

Thanks Kay. I was smiling when reading that Elaine was holding a piece of paper try to get ur attention. hehe... I can imagine you could not discuss on site and had to communicate that way ^_^

It is a really good lesson for us all. I learned more than just reading the learning materials through the practice.

It was a stress for first practice, but lots of fun now when review it ^_*

Elaine Dittert said...

Just read both your comments, made me smile too remembering waving those BIG pieces of paper in front of Kay trying to catch her attention!
You are so right Joy in that the practice was so much better than any theory could have done. What better way to find out what a facilitator does than to try and be one!
Joy I tried to listen to your event but I kept getting thrown out. Not sure if it was just my computer being difficult! Glad however to hear that like us you learned a lot from the experience.
Perhaps we will meet online again next year?
Take care
Elaine

Leigh Blackall said...

Kay has made a great suggestion for the next course.. one that will give participants an opportunity to experience facilitation earlier on...

I'm going to set up regular weekly Elluminate sessions (and somehow get more people in the course to attend them :) and pass the facilitation role for those sessions around.

We'll see if that get's an a-ha drop sooner, or if it gets people bunkering down on their teaching ideas more... ;)

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