Read Course Syllabus

Joerdis Weilandt


Land Acknowledgement and Decolonization

This online course will be facilitated from the grounds of the traditional Blackfoot (Niitsitapi) Confederacy territory, on which the University of Lethbridge, our Iniskim, is located. We honour the Blackfoot people and their traditional ways of knowing in caring for this land, as well as all Aboriginal peoples who have helped shape and continue to strengthen our University community.

We, the facilitators, pledge to actively work towards decolonizing our online environment. We will follow the guidelines outlined below[1] and request that you do too:

  1. Do not act out of guilt, but rather out of a genuiine interest in challenging the larger oppressive power structures;
  2. Accept that you will make mistakes and upset people as you learn.
  3. Accept that that you will be corrected by those more knowledgeable than you. Be gracious, thank your corrector, and apply the correction.
  4. Do not let guilt overwhelm you. […] Act instead
  5. Do not burden Indigenous peoples with your feelings. Do not go to them seeking guidance or validation. It is not their job to educate you or make you feel better. Be considerate of the fact that they already carry a heavy burden of emotional labour. Do not add to it.
  6. Self-educate. Where do you live? Are you on unceded land? Are you on Treaty land? If you’re on Treaty land, that makes you part of the Treaty. Learn what your responsibilities are. If you’re on unceded land, look into why it is unceded, what that means, and how you can act in solidarity with Indigenous people in your area.
  7. Learn the terminology and use it. Don’t be afraid to practice it in regular conversation.
  8. When writing about Indigenous peoples, comply with the following guidelines from the Journalists for Human Rights’ Indigenous Style Guide.
  9. Learn how to properly pronounce Indigenous words and phrases (Youtube can be very helpful for this).

What’s the course about?

The FLOf course is designed for you to build competency in the facilitation of blended and online courses.  In this course you can apply online learning theories to the learning activities you are planning, create engaging learning activities that promote critical thinking and collaboration, and experiment with a variety of learning-facilitation strategies. Throughout the course you will also give and receive constructive feedback, work in online teams, and reflect on concepts learned in the course.

What are the overall outcomes?

When actively participating in the weekly readings, team discussions and individual learning activities, you will work towards building proficiency in:

  • facilitating engaging online learning courses.
  • integrating adult and online learning theories and principles into effective learning activities.
  • purposefully applying a variety of learning-facilitation techniques and strategies.
  • giving and receiving constructive feedback to enhance the learning experience of your online students.
  • facilitating assessments that align with the learning outcomes in your course(s).

What does learning in this course look like?

FLO courses are built on a foundation of social constructivist perspectives, infused with a recognition of the importance of evidence-based practices, the power of shared reflection and inquiry, and the need for personally meaningful learning experiences. Being collaborativist in nature, this course depends on your active participation to synthesize the information you access in this course and reflect on the applicability to your own online teaching context. In fact, many of the activities are designed to be completed in teams so as to exercise burden- and idea-sharing, promote vital professional connectedness, streamline organisation and equally distribute ownership. You will not need to worry whether teamwork will impede with your schedule. The online design can be paired with technology that will help you overcome physical barriers and enjoy the flexibility off arranging your learning with your professional needs.


Course Schedule Fall 2019

There are five modules to this course, four out of which will run for two weeks each. Every week you will be doing a set of activities that fit into the exploration of a specific aspect of the topic at hand. The estimated time investment on your parts will be about 6 hours, but it might take longer depending on prior online learning experience, novelty of the content and your personal pace of learning.

Dates Weeks Topics Lead Facilitator
September 30 – October 6 week 1 Orientation to to the course Joerdis/ Kristi
October 7 – 13 week 2 Module 1: Building Community Kristi
October 14 – 20 week 3 Module 1: Building Community Kristi
October 21 – 27 week 4 Module 2: Working with the Online Learner Joerdis
October 28 – November 3 week 5 Module 2: Working with the Online Learner Joerdis
November 4 – 10 week 6 Module 3: Online Classroom Dynamics Joerdis
November 11 – 17 week 7 Module 4: Facilitating Learning Activities and Assessments Kristi
November 18 – 24 week 8 Module 4: Facilitating Learning Activities and Assessments Kristi
November 25 – December 1 week 9 Module 5: Reflective Practice Joerdis
December 2 – 8 week 10 Module 5: Reflective Practice Joerdis/ Kristi

Each week will kick off with a personal message from us the instructors to you detailing the work ahead of you that week. We will give explanations and provide tutorials that ensure your readiness to participate in the collaborative tasks. Please take a close look at the weekly schedules to make sure you contribute to the course discussions and sharing in a timely manner that allows all participants to also build on your work and ideas.

We, the instructors, will participate in the discussions as your peers providing our experienced perspectives on the topics. After completion dates, we will provide you with constructive feedback on your submitted work and answer questions as they arise. Remember to post all course-related communication to the Open Forum in Moodle so that all of us can keep track of the stream of Q’s and A’s.


Evaluation and Assessment

This course is set up as a pass or fail course. If you commit to doing the weekly learning activities in due time, you will go out of this course with an Open Badge certifying your successful completion. As the evaluation is based on professional formative feedback, there will be no grades attached to any of the individual activities. Note that the feedback is based on holistic principles outlined in the task descriptions. By closely reading the instructions, you will acquaint yourself with the rubrics our evaluations are based on.


How can you be(come) a successful online learner?

An honest interest in high-quality facilitation of online learning is key to your success in this course. You should have a basic familiarity with personal computers – without this, the course is too frustrating.

You will also need to be open-minded about sharing details about your life, work, and other learning experiences because our online learning community will be dependent on you playing an active part in it. All sharing of personal details happens only in the context of discussing professional topics. You won’t need to disclose any private details.

In our online course, it is paramount that you have or develop an ability to communicate with your peers and us professionally, even in the absence of visual/ audio cues in the communication process.

You will need to commit a significant amount of time to your weekly studies and you cannot regard this course to be any “softer, or easier” than any other of the in-class courses. Instead this course, will demand that you plan 6-10 hours of your time every week to complete the rigorous tasks ahead of you.

You are or you want to become a critical thinker. Many of the activities in this course are designed so that you can hone your critical thinking skills. Using case studies, shared facilitation, jigsaw activities, where you will add pieces of information and knowledge to create a coherent whole, will help you develop your skills while more fully engaging in the learning process.

You will need to have the critical ability to reflect because reflection on the results of specific tasks, or on course content – is the hallmark of online learning.

Lastly, and probably most importantly, you will need to strongly believe in the fact that high-quality learning can happen anywhere and anytime.

If you need more practical advice as to how to best manage your time, contribute to teams, read strategically and communicate successfully, access this free textbook resource Learning to Learn Online.


What is the role of the facilitators in this course?

We, the facilitators, are committed to: 

  • understand who you are.
  • understand how you learn.
  • be aware of the issues that affect your lives and learning and how you bring these issues into the classroom.
  • understand what you need so we can support you in your learning.
  • understand how to assist you in your development as reflective teaching practitioners and experts in your academic disciplines.
  • find a way to involve you in the course design and evaluation process.
  • respect your rights as learners and your role in the learning process.
  • understand how to develop courses and programs with an eye to continuous quality improvement so that you stay with the learning process and can smoothly move toward your goals and objectives.

We adapt our roles to your needs  as you progress through the course.

During the first few weeks of this course, our presence will be high as we take on the roles of a community builders and guides. We welcome and engage participants, post frequent reminders, clarify curriculum, troubleshoot problems, and encourage each learner to participate and learn. We will take time to develop connections with and among learners to help develop a sense of community and mutually supportive learning.

As the course moves on and you become more familiar with the course expectations, content and environment, you will need to become more active participants in the co-creation of meaningful learning while we will take on the roles of coaches and mentors. We step back and encourage learning through the use of different questioning strategies and proven facilitation techniques. We participate in discussions but don’t lead; instead, we will highlight important concepts, weave together the ideas that you share, and post frequent summaries to help you keep track of the flow of conversations as they move in and out of the course environment.

We consider it our priority to help each of you develop your own skills and knowledge. Although we provide frequent and constructive (formative) feedback, we also encourage participants to use the self-assessment rubrics and reflective practices embedded in each course to monitor and celebrate your own achievements. We will help you stay on track and make explicit links between course activities and learning outcomes.


What is your role as a student in this course?

General Responsibilities

This course depends on you as an active participant. You will get out of it what you put in.  Doing the required readings and learning activities each week will enrich the overall learning experience for all participants in the course. Be mindful that the quality of your contributions is more important than the quantity. We encourage your curiosity for the topic of online facilitation and hope the activities provide you with opportunities to be creative and reflective.

In your Online Interactions

It is absolutely paramount that you always stay mindful of the fact that there is a person behind every written post who has feelings and can be hurt by what you say. The guidelines[2] below are compiled to assist you in your online communication.

1. It is easier to say something online when you do not have to look the person in the eye, so never post anything that you would not say to the person face-to-face.

2. Adhere to the same standars of behaviour online that you follow in real life, which includes acting ethically and following rules and regulations.

3. Respect other people’s time and bandwith:

  • Take time to understand the requirements of a discussion.
  • Do not waste people’s time by asking questions that are not relevant to the discussion or questions whose answers can readily be found in the course with a little effort.
  • Post not yet answered questions relating to the course in the Got Questions FORUM for everyone else to see.
  • Refrain from disagreements that lead to personal attacks.
  • Do not speak for other people by saying things like “We were wondering …”, “The people in the course were thinking”. This is considered a generalization which would need backing from all the people you are including in phrases like those.

4. Make yourself look good online:

  • Take time to check your spelling and grammar.
  • Reflect before posting your ideas and prepare for discussions prior to engaging in them.
  • Refrain from inappropriate language and remarks.

5. Share your knowledge by offering help to learners who have questions.

6. Help keep flame wars under control by not posting flames and not responding to flames – keep discussions professional at all times.

7. Forgive other learners’ mistakes and be patient and compassionate of all learners in the course.


What to do in case you have questions, feedback, comments?

We appreciate your questions or feedback, and invite you to share the ones relating to course specifics with us in the dedicated communication space in Moodle called the How do I …? FAQ and OPEN FORUM. There you will find a number of usual student questions answered, but if your question or comment doesn’t fall into any of the existing categories, you can start a new topic at any time. All participants in the course are subscribed to this forum to ensure the transparency all course-relevant information.

We will try to respond to your questions and comments within 24 hours during the work week and within 48 hours during the weekend.

In cases of personal matters, please reach out to either one of your instructors, Kristi and/ or me, Joerdis. We are happy to arrange for accommodations with you if you notify us ahead of time.


What’s the technology used in this course?

This course will be facilitated using a combination of the university online learning environment Moodle, our interactive course pack (within which this syllabus is one digital chapter) and freely accessible online tools. We, the instructors advocate for an ethical use of educational technology and thus resist using tools that are designed for purposes of profit-seeking, surveillance of students, and user lock-in.

We will support you in any way possible to ensure that you can use all of the suggested technology to successfully complete the respective learning activities. We hope that our deliberate choices for tools provide you an insight into the array of available (open-source) tools that value user freedom, privacy, and control. Again, we highly appreciate your feedback and invite you to leave technology-related comments in our Open Forum.

Below you find two navigation tutorials introducing to you  and our Pressbooks Course Pack and the Moodle Learning Environment System (LMS):

Our Course Pack on Pressbooks
The Moodle LMS

 


Accessibility Statement

As the creator of this course, we are committed to ensuring digital accessibility for people with disabilities. As representatives of the University of Lethbridge Teaching Centre, we are continually improving the user experience for everyone, and applying the relevant accessibility standards.

Measures to support accessibility

The U of L Teaching Centre takes the following measures to ensure accessibility of FLO – Facilitating Learning Online – Design: Employ formal accessibility quality assurance methods.

Conformance status

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) defines requirements for designers and developers to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. It defines three levels of conformance: Level A, Level AA, and Level AAA. Digital Teaching and Learning is partially conformant with WCAG 2.0 level AA. Partially conformant means that some parts of the content do not fully conform to the accessibility standard.

Feedback

We welcome your feedback on the accessibility of FLO – Facilitating Learning Online – Design. Please let us know if you encounter accessibility barriers on Digital Teaching and Learning and we will try to find solutions to the problems you face.

  • Phone: +1-403-380-1856
  • E-mail: joerdis.weilandt@uleth.ca or kristi.thomas@uleth.ca
  • Visitor address: Teaching Centre L1126 in the UofL Library
  • Twitter: @JoerdisWeilandt

Assessment approach

The University of Lethbridge assessed the accessibility of FLOf – Facilitating Learning Online – Design by the following approaches: Self-evaluation


  1. Imagining a Better Future. An Introduction to Teaching and Learning about Settler Colonialism in Canada. by Andrea Eidinger and Sarah York-Bertram. IN: Beyond the Lecture. CC-BY-SA Retrieved from https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/beyondlecture/
  2. Stavredes, T. (2011). Effective Online Teaching. Foundations and Strategies for Student Success. Jossey- Bass: San-Francisco, p.214.

License

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FLOf - Facilitating Learning Online by Joerdis Weilandt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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