Seminar facilitation

Evidence: Team teaching a seminar

Learning outcomes:

  • Plan learning opportunities most suitable to the strengths and challenges of a variety of environments
  • Develop and design intentional learning activities suitable for the appropriate environment and the learner

Here is the summary that my group wrote at the end of the experience:
    Planning and implementation of our seminar week benefited from group discussions we had about the readings and what we would like to see in terms of workload and activities. We felt that by planning this seminar collaboratively we were able to address the material using multiple strategies. Throughout our seminar planning we used Salmon’s Five Stage Model (2004) and Kear (2011) to inform our activity choices.
    We really enjoyed working with each other. Each team member contributed to planning and facilitation based on their strengths.  Respect and trust for each other was evident from the very beginning of the process and it never flagged. There were no clashes of personalities and each of us followed through in our commitment to tasks. We were able to meet f2f but much was done online. We found communicating via email a challenge, as the threads sometimes got too long.  When this happened we met as a group.
    Initially, the response to the TedTalk discussion question was slow, but we attributed this to a combination of starting on a long weekend and many students choosing to focus on their final assignment.  Our discussion question sparked some very interesting posts and sharing of concrete ideas that others can use in their classrooms.  Our team did not feel the need to respond to every single post in the discussion; rather, it was more important to “watch” the conversation and participate where necessary to keep the conversation flowing.
    Although many of our team were feeling nervous about facilitating the synchronous session, moderating the synchronous night was a very good experience.  Some team members had never used a Jigsaw format and were impressed with how well it flowed. Most of the students seemed familiar with the format; therefore, minimal facilitation was needed. We used the moderator chat to support each other during the jigsaw discussions as well as during the presentations. The cohort had good conversations with very little prompting needed from the moderators. One thing we would have done differently is to define the role of the moderators during the synchronous discussions, as at least one group seemed to want to discuss without the moderator and another group seemed to wait for moderator prompting before beginning their discussion. Using Kear (2011) as guide, we were careful to consider our learners when planning our synchronous night, so we were glad that the students responded positively.
The Padlet wall activity progressed better than expected. Most students were able to access the wall and post without difficulty. Most posted in the first day Padlet was open, but there were a few who posted later in the week. There were only two people that needed additional help getting into the wall, which had more to do with connection issues then difficulty with the tool. The resources collected were diverse and very helpful.

The seminar week:
Asynchronous activities:
1. TED Talk “3 Rules to Spark Learning”  Questions after viewing: “What are some innovative ways you have sparked learning in an online environment?”

  • This activity fits Stage 3 of Salmon’s model – Information exchange

2. Beginning of Jigsaw activity using quotes from Kear (2011) sent out to individuals on Saturday.

3. Tips, Tricks, Problems and Solutions (Padlet activity) Students asked to post their ideas for transitioning between F2F and online

  • This activity fits Stage 5 of Salmon’s model – Reflect on experiences

Synchronous activities:

1. Completion of Jigsaw activity during the Tuesday night seminar. This included two sets of breakout rooms for discussion

  • Fits stage 4 of Salmon’s model (2004) – Knowledge Construction

2. Tutorial of Padlet and introduction to final asynchronous activity “Tips, Tricks, Problems and Solutions”

Kear, K. (2011). Online and Social Networking Communities. New York, NY: Routledge.

Salmon, G. (2003). Five-stage model to teaching and learning online.  (University of Leeds, United Kingdom). Retrieved from:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *