Oct 7 – Nov 8, 2013
Introductions were posted and the community began to form….five weeks ago! Hard to believe we’re all done. SCOPE’s offering of the online instructional skills workshop model developed by Royal Roads University was a success from so many perspectives and on a number of levels.
The course was designed, similarly to the original, face-to-face ISW model, on a participatory and learner-centred way. We all joined together in an online classroom (a Moodle environment), began to form into a community and tried to support each other’s learning. Our team of excellent facilitators, led by Tracy Kelly and BJ Eib of RRU, assisted by Sylvia Currie of BCCampus and the occasional injections of thought-provoking questions from Doug Kerr, encouraged us to take risks, to try new ways of working in small groups and facilitating mini-sessions. At the end, we were 12 enthusiastic, somewhat worn-out educators who had gained some important insights into the student experience online and into our own constantly improving and evolving online teaching and facilitation skills. Our reflective journaling helped us crystallize the value of each week’s activities and the shared nuggets in the community forum “Weekly Journal Share” extended and deepened the experience as we learned from each others “aha” moments and thoughtful commentary on readings, activities and other participant’s creative endeavours.
Week 1: Getting Started
Posting introductions, getting the “lay of the land” as we navigated the richness of the Moodle course site, reviewing proposed schedules and team facilitation assignments, and completing the week’s posted readings and viewings (videos) and sharing our thoughts and learning moments on the week’s topic – online learning communities.
Week 2: Theory into Practice
This week was all about retrieving everything we believed, valued and practiced about adult learning and then expanding, questioning and sharing new insights gleaned from the weekly notes, readings and resources. Week 2 was packed with activities; two mini-sessions occurred nearly simultaneously – the Course Review Task Force and a Wiki activity about Adult Learners. Whewwww! That week just blew by (and after a long weekend as well). We didn’t get finished on time but we (the mini-session facilitators) got to know each other much better – very quickly!
Week 3: Choosing Your Tools
A fun and thought-provoking exploration of a selected group of Web2.0 and online tools that we can all add to our personal toolboxes for the next classes we teach. The readings this week were focused on online learning tools and how to divide synchronous and asynchronous learning activities. It’s an evolving field – there isn’t always an easy answer to how to utilize the tools to improve student experiences and learning rather than over-complicating the situation.
Week 4: Facilitating Online Teams
We took a really close look at team learning and discussed different ways to approach collaborative learning projects. The mini-session this week was all about helping a online learning team who had run into troubles.
Week 5: Looking Back, Looking Forward…
Reflective practice – the value is evident but there are still new ways to approach analyzing and learning from your own experience and others. I hope we all have a chance to work / learn together again sometime in the future. We had a great group of thoughtful, enthusiastic and experienced instructors. It would be great to hear what everyone did in the 6 months following this experience.
Thanks to BCCampus, SCOPE and RRU for making this ISWo available. Thanks to my cohort and facilitators for such a positive online learning experience.
Note: Royal Roads University is a supporter of open learning and open educational resources. They offer the ISWo model and resources to others at: http://oer.royalroads.ca/moodle/course/view.php?id=3