Evidence: Team Seminar Collaborate Session (Supporting Online Learning) and Seminar Newsletter (Feb. 10, 2014)
OLTD Learning Outcomes addressed:
Undertake engagement with environment through online facilitation for effective learning
- Moderation and mediation
- Understand how to build rapport and manage groups
Reflection to Support Evidence:
During 503 (January 4 – Feb 18, 2014), our cohort formed five teams to conduct learner-led seminars during our 6 weeks together. Each team prepared a 7-day learning experience, including an online seminar. Our four member team designed and conducted the final seminar on the topic of supporting online learning. The two pieces of evidence provided here are our team’s online seminar, where each team member had a speaking and guiding role, and the newsletter I created for our team.
The newsletter contained an outline of the week’s events and contact information for each of our team members. In order to entice our cohort to read over the newsletter, I used visuals such as colour, images and inspirational quotes about education. The newsletter also served to begin building rapport with our students, providing them with a photo and mini-biography of each team leader. The theme of the newsletter was incorporated into the slides used during our synchronous session, tying the 7-day course materials together as one package.
Teaching online was a new experience for me, but working with my team made the job less daunting. We were able to build a rapport with each other, and this carried us through a successful online seminar and learning week. Our team also practiced using the Collaborate environment prior to facilitating the synchronous session, so we were able to effectively use tools within the environment for effective learning. For example, I was able to clearly communicate instructions using video, audio and text, as well as move between rooms to monitor the breakout discussions and help support my teammates through the moderator chat.
The main learning activity for our synchronous session was a jigsaw. I have used this cooperative learning strategy often in a face-to-face environment, but was unsure if it could be successful in an online space. What I discovered is that through careful pre-planning and moderation of the synchronous session, an online jigsaw can be very effective.
Online facilitation requires careful planning and comfort with the environment. When the instructor has developed a rapport with their students, individual or group activities online can be very successful. An instructor must have solid moderator and mediator skills to ensure that students stay on track and learning is happening in a respectful environment. I will continue to practice my moderating and mediating skills as I incorporate more online learning in my face-to-face courses.
Team Seminar Blackboard Collaborate Session (must download Blackboard launcher to view) – Supporting Online Learning