Online Teaching and Facilitation

Facilitation is the process of enabling a group to accomplish its goals. This means ensuring the online experience of all participants is one of enriched learning, optimized by high levels of interaction and collaboration. In a nutshell, your job as Faculty is to make it easier for a group to do its work by maintaining a healthy online community. The following tips will help you to succeed.

Tips for Online Facilitation

  • Establish clear participation guidelines that participants discuss and agree to.
  • Let learners know when you will be available (virtual office hours)
  • Be clear about how participation will be evaluated and how it figures into the grading scheme for the class if appropriate.
  • Be clear about how much time is involved in participation
  • Be a good role model by being visible on at least a daily basis
  • Be willing to step in and set limits if participation is waning or is heading in the wrong direction
  • Be willing to make phone calls or emails to people who are not participating to ask why and to draw them back in
  • Most important, strive to create community (friendly, supportive environment)
  • Learn and develop the art of asking expansive questions
  • Know what you are looking for and involve yourself to help make it happen
  • Appeal to learners’ life experiences, vested interests and ambitions
  • Be careful with your wording when giving feedback as critical comments appear “less soft” when written down compared to when these comments are provided verbally
  • Direct all content discussions through the course website, but use e-mail or phone to talk to learners about personal issues.
  • Ask learners for feedback halfway through the course. You can ask them what is working, what is not, and how you might better meet their needs.

This T4T tipsheet gives some additional facilitation strategies for online facilitating.

Teaching online for the first time? If you don't have time to take the Facilitating Learning Online Workshop, this T4T tipsheet covers an overview of your RRU Moodle course and tutorials available to prepare you for the online Moodle environment.

Need ideas for activities you can do with your online class?  See the RRU Library's Online instruction activity resource guide.