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?