This has been an excellent course that has broadened my knowledge and opened my mind about e learning options and online facilitation. I can see that the technology is forever changing and to be an expert in this would be difficult but I do feel I am able to find my way around the elearning platforms.
A summary of my thoughts: It has been a trip and one I didn't think I was going to complete but here we are at the end.
An Online Community: http://kyleesappliedelearning.blogspot.com/2009/08/what-is-online-community.html
An online community is updated, current and shares a common goal. There is a link and a connection where people contribute in some way. I had written in the above blog that I thought an online community lacked humour. I don't think that anymore. We had a few laughs a long the way in this course, especially when it come to actually completing my online meeting. I think I got the blooper award!
Teacher, Facilitator, Moderator:
I do see these roles crossing over, you can where different hats but have to understand what tasks you complete while wearing each of these hats. A teacher imparts knowledge, A facilitator guides the process and a moderator keeps respondents on target.
Online Discussion Forums:
I didn't really have much success with online forums but I can see they would be useful. This would be an excellent place to discuss a topic and gather many opinions. I think many of these forums don't have a moderator and the posts are not always current. You don't find this out until you have signed up when the forum is closed.
Blogging and Interviewing:
I had the success with finding a blog and interviewing the writer. I found Robin Heyden who I have been in contact with throughout the course. Robin was able to present at my online meeting, (eventually). I am sure Robin and I will continue to stay in touch. This was a fantastic experience and a highlight from the course. Blogs do create a connected community and this has been created between Robin and myself through email, skype and dim dim. Blogging is a great place to think out loud, as Robin describes it. You can test your ideas and it is exciting to get comments and thoughts from others. I do think that you need to set time aside and complete your posts or you will fall behind and it is hard to catch up with your thoughts.
A Wiki is a useful place to share information and collaborate with a group of people. It was useful to find out what online meetings were being held and when. I especially liked the links to each persons meeting room/venue as it meant I didn't have to go looking for it. It was good to make sure you didn't double up on other topics and times and dates didn't clash. It was great to know that everything you needed to know about the course could be found using a wiki. I have presented information using a wiki for a course in the new year, I haven't trialled this yet but it is ready to go. I look forward to seeing how successful this is.
I never got to experiment with this enough to feel confident using this. I do now have the second life name and see where Second Life could be used in my own teaching. Second Life would definitely be useful in role playing practice teaching and working through scenarios.
Social Networking Platforms:
I haven't had much experience with social networking but do see it as being very popular among all ages and groups of people. I can see this would be great for youth and their learning as social networking could be used as a motivator. It would have to be monitored closely as students could have a negative experience and as facilitators we would rather a positive experience for our students. But a great place to keep in touch and communicate with other course participants.
Facilitating my online event:
This was a fantastic learning experience and taught me to be prepared, be flexible and hang in there. I do strive for success and this assignment did prove a challenge. Dim Dim was the online platform I managed to gain success with and what a feeling when that happened. I was really appreciative of the support from participants, Robin (my presenter) and Sarah. The process was very valuable, advertising the meeting, informing people about the topic, changes and venue, ensuring the venue was working and trying different venues. These were all valuable experiences.
Reflecting on different types of communities:
I have enjoyed using the blog and the wiki and will endeavour to use these in the future courses I facilitate. I had success with dim dim and would use this to meet online. I found Elluminate very useful and a great tool that could do many things for example share screens, use a whiteboard, demonstrate, audio and test message and much more. I would use skype to support and contact individual students but not for conferencing with more than 4 participants. Many of the students on this course provided links to new and exciting web tools that I will experiment with in the future.
I have learned many things I will use in the future. It has been excellent to experience a wide variety of tools to move forward with e learning. I had never used any of these tools so the new learning has been huge.
The information presented was clear. The facilitator was always available and approachable. Sarah offered many experiences, information, comments and ideas and helped in any way she could.
The work load was relatively high but with activities to complete regularly. They were interesting and this kept you motivated. I could have scheduled my time and stuck to this to complete my online activities. I would have liked to have spent more time reading others blogs and commenting but this year has been a busy one and this was not possible. I did follow a couple of people that I had similarities with and this was a positive. I will use some of the tools in my teaching. I would recommend that anyone with an interest in e learning complete this course.