Have you wondered if the 5-week Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) workshop is right for you? If you’re keen to become a confident and effective facilitator AND have fun doing it, then the answer is YES! Over the past 2 1/2 years, over 150 BC Post Secondary faculty have enrolled in FLO to develop their facilitation skills. Some arrived in the workshop with little online experience beyond using email and web browsers; others saw the workshop as a way to refresh and practice their skills. All graduates left with ideas to try out in their own teaching, and to pass along to their colleagues.
FLO is designed to both accommodate and benefit from distributed expertise in the workshop. We all dive in expecting to learn from others, and to achieve our goals through collaboration.
Leonne Beebe, Associate Professor from the University of Fraser Valley, went from a FLO student to a FLO facilitator. Here’s what she had to say:
What brought you to the FLO workshop?
Curiosity and opportunity. An email showed up one day inviting me to participate in the online FLO October 2014 workshop. At that time, I had been working with Gordon Jang, our UFV Ed Tech lead who was helping me to use our Learning Management System to “tech enhance” my F2F courses. I was also dealing with severe computer anxiety when using my “E-room” computer set-up with my students. Gordon encouraged me to take the FLO workshop as he and Michelle Johnson, another Ed Tech were going to take it. Since I had never taken an online course before, and I wanted to know what it would be like to be an online student – I decided to go for it.
How have you used what you learned in the workshop?
After completing my first FLO workshop, I realized three things:
- I liked learning online mainly because it provided me with the “timely” opportunity to read and write again.
- The FLO facilitators, “the Sylvias” (Sylvia Currie and Sylvia Riessner) mentored and modelled the role of online facilitator in such a way that encouraged me to want to learn more about online teaching/learning, so I signed up for the March 15 FDO (Facilitator Development Workshop).
- By completing the FLO workshop activities, I gained both confidence and competence in my computer/EdTech skills and could help my F2F students with their computer skills.
Because of my involvement as a participant/mentee and mentor/facilitator in several offerings of the FLO and FDO workshops, I was invited to participate as an “alumnus” in the FLO Redesign Sprint in February 2016. What an experience – to feel valued and validated for sharing my learning/teaching experiences. At the Festival of Learning on June, 16, I will again be sharing my “alumnus” experiences with the “Sylvias” in the Facilitation Learning Online presentation.
All this happened because I was sent and accepted an invitation to participate in the October 2014 FLO workshop.
What would you tell others about FLO and FDO?
You don’t need to be teaching online courses to find value in these workshops; the skills you learn can be applied to using online activities and resources in your F2F and hybrid courses as well. The FLO/FDO mentoring model for learning to facilitate online makes the learning not only real but realizable. As a teacher, you have the concurrent experience of being a student while also being a teacher. Through your experiences, you will develop an awareness and empathy for the learning challenges and the strategies needed for student success. You may also find one time is just the beginning…
I have asked for the opportunity for mentored facilitation with the next FLO workshop. As I become more confident and competent in my EdTech skills, the more learning experiences I want to incorporate into my F2F courses and the more I want to encourage my students to learn and use online learning skills.
Whenever the opportunity arises, I will be happy to share my online learning experiences and encourage my colleagues who want to start using online activities in their F2F, hybrid/blended and fully online classes.
Out of confusion comes clarity – based on my FLO/FDO experiences.
Spring 2016 FLO and FDO offerings:
- Facilitator Development Online (FDO) – May 9 – May 20, 2016
- Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) – May 9 – June 10, 2016
- Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) – May 23 – June 24, 2016
To find out more or register for upcoming FLO workshops, click here.