Thursday, May 04, 2017

organising for online learning: a physical space

I taught my second online course within 24 hours today. (An intern mission cohort today; a Listening in mission professional development offering yesterday). In preparation, I realised that I have never seen any information on how people prepare to teach online. The online space is totally different physically from a face to face class. I’m no expert and I’ve still got lots to learn but how do I organise myself physically?

Well, this is my desk in preparation.


On the screen is the video conferencing software ready to go. My video and microphone are turned on and the chat screen is open. As participants arrive, especially for first time users, I will get them familiar with using chat and then turning their microphone and video on and off.

On the desk in the middle is a Bible – I generally use Scripture at some point for lectio divina and to generate interaction and it is ready, open at the page.

You will notice three piles of paper.

On the left is the reading material sent to participants prior. I have a copies printed so that I know exactly what students have recieved and in case specific questions are asked of any of the reading material. I could of course have this on my computer, but I like to keep the computer screen for participants, not for searching for files.

On the far right is a folder (green) of various technical problem shooting solutions. Invariably participants have different browsers or different ways of accessing. I have some basic troubleshooting options, in case simple technical questions emerge. I have limited IT skill, so this covers the basics of login, sound and video.

On the near right is a number of documents I use to keep track of the actual tutorial. I have the names of every participant, which I use to tick off participation. It helps me check who has arrived and in making sure I miss no-one in the initial ice-breaker (name, weather in your location). It also allows me to keep track of who is speaking and ensure student voice is being equally shared. I have a pad of paper, on which I keep notes during the tutorial of what is being said. This enables to keep track of key points in discussion and if I have time after, to provide a summary of key points in the discussion as a way of enhancing feedback loops. In a face to face class, this might be on the whiteboard. I also have a lesson plan/run sheet. This helps me keep track of time. So my run sheet for the Listening in Mission taster is below. This class had 3 facilitators in 3 different geographic locations, so I was quite particular about time – down to every 3 minutes – so that we all knew how we were tracking and could remain disciplined.

Listening in Mission online taster
Wednesday, May 3rd, 4:45-5:45 pm
Hosted by Mark Johnstone Steve Taylor, Rosemary Dewerse

4:45 pm Welcome – Steve Taylor
Prayer – Rosemary Dewerse
4:50 pm Group building questions – 1 min/person
1. What is weather in your place. 
2. What word or picture or symbol to describe your community (outside the church)?
5 pm Scripture Read Luke 10 – Steve
3 questions to contemplate in silence
– as they walked into the village – I wonder what word or picture or symbol they used to describe the community 
– as they listened at table, I wonder what word or picture or symbol they used to describe the community 
– as they saw healing, I wonder what word or picture or symbol they used to describe the community 
5:09 pm A short story – how listening changed us and our mission – Mark 
5:12 pm Outline of online sessions – Steve
– Scripture 
– pre-reading 
– catch up on project ups and downs 
5:17 pm A short story – how listening changed us and our mission – Rosemary 
5:20 pm Outline of Listening project – Mark 

5:30 pm Project Q and A – Mark
5:40 pm Costs, dates, timings – Steve Taylor
Q and A. 
5:45 pm Prayer – rosemary  

So this is how I prepare. I still feel like a learner in this area. The piles give me a sense of organisation.

Posted by steve at 09:14 PM

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