Thursday, July 4, 2019

Enthusiasts moving FLO to the next level

We have another successful Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) Enthusiast Gathering under our belt. What a productive crew! 

13 enthusiasts signed up for a full day at Thompson Rivers University to share FLO experiences and hammer out ideas for ways to advance our work together. Our specific focus was on increasing adoption and inter-institutional sharing of FLO courses. 

Why do we need to change what we're doing?

The original FLO Fundamentals course was developed at Royal Roads University as part of the BCcampus Online Program Development Fund (OPDF). In 2013 BCcampus began offering FLO and then developing courses to add to the “family”. Over the years we can count 37 offerings with 659 registrations representing 22 BC post-secondary institutions, and other institutions and organizations across Canada and the US. Participants consistently report that they are satisfied or very satisfied with their experiences. 

So why are we encouraging adoption by other institutions instead of continuing to offer FLO through BCcampus? Feedback like this: 
“It is an extremely useful resource and should be required learning for anyone wanting to teach or administer online learning.” FLO participant
As successful as this program has been, we are not reaching all the faculty who need this professional development. At the same time, we struggle to reach our registration quota to run the courses on a cost-recovery basis. It's a paradox! The solution points to increased involvement by post-secondary institutions across the system. 
Leva Lee and Michelle Johnson busy with their visual interviews
As a quick recap, since our 2017 FLO Enthusiast gathering we have:
  • developed a FLO Facilitation Guide 
  • continued to offer fee-based courses using a cost recovery model 
  • provided opportunities for FLO facilitator mentorship 
  • created a new offering: MicroCourses - one-week asynchronous emergent courses related to designing and facilitating learning online 
  • included FLO offerings in the Learning Access Program for Educators (LAP-E) to open up opportunities. 
At that time we discussed phasing out the BCcampus offerings but identified the need to continue to mentor future FLO facilitators. To date 28 individuals have co-facilitated FLO courses hosted by BCcampus, of which 18 volunteered their time in exchange for mentorship. In addition, over 70 individuals, representing 21 institutions, have participated in the FLO Facilitator Development course so are ready to co-facilitate or mentor others to facilitate FLO courses. 

That's a lot of FLO facilitators! 

Why is FLO important? 

The recent public report of the 2018 national survey to track the development of online and digital learning in Canadian public post-secondary education points to several indicators that we are falling behind in preparing faculty to teach online. Tony Bates in his summary article “Is Western Canada Falling Behind in Online Learning” elaborates on the need for better faculty development and training: 
 “Inadequate training/pedagogical knowledge available for faculty in online learning was reported by 82% of the institutions in Western Canada, compared to 73% in the rest of the country. It should be noted that this comes from institutional leaders, which suggests there are systemic issues in providing this training, i.e. there are factors beyond the power of Provosts/Vice-Presidents Education that prevent better training for faculty.” 

Some seriously impressive progress!

At the FLO gathering, following activities to become acquainted with one another and with the history and current status of FLO (along with howlin' coffee and excellent snacks!), we worked through a process of:    
The beginning of our Fishbowl activity: The good, bad, ugly AND lovely!
  • hearing from those who are currently implementing or planning to adopt FLO courses in house – there is good, bad, ugly AND lovely!
  • mapping out the current state of FLO courses and processes – anything we aren’t doing? Need to rethink or abandon?
  • brainstorming ideas, actions, and recommendations, given our priority of adoption and inter-institutional sharing of FLO, and
  • contemplating our individual involvement going forward
Using the Ecocycle to plot FLO courses and process 
Our remote enthusiasts we equally involved!

Thanks to Liberating Structures and excellent facilitation by Tracy Roberts and Leva Lee, we arrived our top 10 ideas for moving the FLO project forward, several of which BCcampus is already able to technically and strategically support:

1.   Advertise in ONE place, all FLO offerings that are open to all (--> Look no further than the new TLPD Portal)

2.   Upload developed courses (OERs) to a common hub 
--> We do have SOL*R but need to revisit the issue

3.   Establish a FLO champion at each institution to spread the word amongst faculty.

4.   Pair up and co-facilitate with sister institutions.
--> Can we build on what already exists with ETUG reps?

5.   Open shadowing opportunities: Anyone can join a FLO course in exchange for offering a service (promote, facilitate, develop content, etc)

6.   Create a mailing list/discussion space for sharing of FLO ideas, stories, content, opportunities, etc 
--> We've used the BCcampus Learning + Teaching Moodle site for this in a very small and casual way. Most if not all individuals already have accounts. Build on that or rethink our use of tools to support this important community work?

7.   Involve the Teaching and Learning Counsel in arranging inter-institutional FLO offerings.

8.   Invite/foster multi-institutional co-development of FLO courses.

9.   Expand FLO considerably – international, different formats (self-paced), and preparation for teaching that isn’t socially-based academic courses.

10.Move toward FLO courses being a prerequisite for faculty planning to teach an online course.

Some of these ideas are bolder than others, no doubt! But we left the day feeling inspired to take FLO to the next level. We're confident that this next phase of the FLO project -- reduced offerings by BCcampus and increased involvement by BC post-secondary institutions -- will benefit yet more faculty and staff. 

Let's do this!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Meet the FLO Facilitators: Beth Cougler Blom

Cross posted from BCcampus News

Over the years individuals from institutions and organizations across British Columbia have taken Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) to the next level by participating in the Facilitator Development/Mentorship program and co-facilitating one or more of the FLO courses. If you are thinking about adopting FLO courses at your institution, these are the people who can help!

What got you started on this path to becoming a FLO facilitator and mentor?

In 2013 I co-facilitated my first Instructional Skills Workshop Online (ISWO) while working as an instructional designer for Royal Roads University (RRU). ISWO – which was later renamed to FLO – was “born” at RRU and I have been privileged to co-facilitate with and learn from the original developers. FLO facilitation has always been captivating to me because the courses are great examples of how engaging online learning experiences can be. When people have said to me, “I don’t like learning online” or “I don’t find learning online very engaging” I think, “Oh, you haven’t experienced online learning like I have!” Being part of the wonderful community of learners and facilitators who care deeply about outstanding learning online has been a great source of inspiration to me.

What experience and expertise do you bring to this new support role of helping others to adopt and/or facilitate FLO courses? 

I have facilitated FLO, the FLO Facilitator Development course (FDO), and one FLO MicroCourse so far with one more coming in June 2019. I developed and have facilitated within FLO Synchronous and I was an author of the recently published FLO Facilitation Guide. I was part of the FLO curriculum redesign and have contributed to the “FLO Enthusiasts” community. I was thrilled to have worked with, and been mentored by, Doug Kerr, the original developer of the Instructional Skills Workshop, upon which FLO principles are based.
I’ve been building on a career in education-related roles as an independent learning designer and facilitator since 2011. I work with higher educational institutions, non-profit organizations and other clients to design and facilitate great online and face-to-face learning experiences. As an associate faculty member at Royal Roads University I understand what it means to facilitate online in both for-credit and not-for-credit environments. I am happy to work with organizations that are interested in adopting one or more of the “FLO family” of courses.

How can people contact you?

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Meet the FLO Facilitators: Jamie Billingham

Cross posted from BCcampus News

Over the years individuals from institutions and organizations across British Columbia have taken
Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) to the next level by participating in the Facilitator Development/Mentorship program and co-facilitating one or more of the FLO courses. If you are thinking about adopting FLO courses at your institution, these are the people who can help!

Meet Jamie Billingham

What got you started on this path to becoming a FLO facilitator and mentor?

It was a long and winding path. I’ve been fascinated by how people (and organizations, communities, society) learn for decades but didn’t get really serious about learning and technology until 2004. That’s when I made a leap into higher education and began an MA in Distributed Learning. Due to life’s little potholes, twists, and turns I took a few detours and ended up with an Interdisciplinary MA by combining a passion for systems thinking (leadership studies) and learning and technology. I was fortunate enough to have bumped into FLO courses while setting up a Moodle site and developing a series of courses for a non-profit housing organization. FLO was a perfect solution to the problem of how to train facilitators working in that sector.

What experience and expertise do you bring to this new support role of helping others to adopt and/or facilitate FLO courses? 

In addition to roles as a FLO designer, facilitator, learner, and enthusiast, I have had the pleasure of adapting FLO Fundamentals for specific audiences. I think that’s one of the best things about FLO and OER in general – they are often built for adaptation.

How can people contact you? 

Email me at or send me tweet @jamiebillingham

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Meet the FLO Facilitators: Sylvia Riessner

Cross posted from BCcampus News
Over the years individuals from institutions and organizations across British Columbia have taken Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) to the next level by participating in the Facilitator Development/Mentorship program and co-facilitating one or more of the FLO courses. If you are thinking about adopting FLO courses at your institution, these are the people who can help!
Post by Sylvia Currie, Manager, Learning + Teaching

Meet Sylvia Riessner

FLO Facilitators - Sylvia Riessner

What got you started on this path to becoming a FLO facilitator and mentor?

I was part of a team at Yukon College supporting instructors to move to teach online and heard about a pilot workshop that modelled many of the powerful features of the well-known Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW). I participated in the pilot and was hooked!
I co-facilitated my first FLO workshop with Sylvia Currie in 2013 and discovered the “power of two” and the value of taking time to build community and integrate critical reflection in an online learning experience. After I moved to B.C., I went on to co-facilitate many other FLOs, FDO (FLO Facilitator Development), and contributed to the development of the curriculum. That’s what got me started, but what keeps me involved are the stories that are shared about the value of FLO courses for instructors and the positive impact on their confidence and skills in offering meaningful learning experiences online.

What experience and expertise do you bring to this new support role of helping others to adopt and/or facilitate FLO courses?

I’ve been a freelance educational developer for more than 25 years in B.C./Yukon and was an EdTech instructor at Yukon College for many years. I completed the Master of Educational Technology (MET) from UBC while working for Yukon College and have facilitated learning online and in blended modes since 2000 for a range of higher education and not-for-profit groups. My focus for the last few years has been on mentoring or co-facilitating with instructors who want to develop their online teaching confidence and skills.

How can people contact you?

Email me at sylviar at

Monday, March 25, 2019

Meet the FLO Facilitators: Ross Mckerlich

Over the years individuals from institutions and organizations across British Columbia have taken Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) to the next level by participating in the Facilitator Development courseand then co-facilitating one or more of the FLO courses. This group has come to be known as the FLO Enthusiasts.
Post by Sylvia Currie, Manager, Learning + Teaching
Meet Ross McKerlich
This is the second in our Meet the FLO Facilitators series. If you are thinking about offering FLO courses to your faculty and staff, these are the people who can help!
Ross McKerlich biking

What got you started on this path to becoming a FLO facilitator and mentor? 

I started the FLO experience as a learner, taking all the courses over a period of about a year. I then had the opportunity to co-facilitate FLO Synchronous in October 2017, and this was a hook. I loved it! Later I co-facilitated FDO and FLO Fundamentals and continue to build on my previous FLO experiences.

What experience and expertise do you bring to this new support role of helping others to adopt and/or facilitate FLO courses?

I have both the learner and co-facilitator experience in FLO, bolstered by 15 years of experience in education technology. Part of my learning journey included being mentored by one of the authors of the Community of Inquiry (COI) model, and it is great to see the COI model being applied in the FLO courses. I also appreciate the commitment to quality in the FLO Courses

How can people contact you?

Email is best – – or look for me on LinkedIn

Join the next FLO Synchronous

Ross McKerlich and Clint Lalonde will be co-facilitating the upcoming FLO Synchronous course April 1 – 19, 2019. There are still spaces available!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Meet the FLO Facilitators: Gina Bennett

Cross-posted from BCcampus News

Over the years individuals from institutions and organizations across British Columbia have taken Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) to the next level by participating in the Facilitator Development courseand then co-facilitating one or more of the FLO courses. This group has come to be known as the FLO Enthusiasts.
Post by Sylvia Currie, Manager, Learning + Teaching, BCcampus
This marks the launch of our Meet the FLO Facilitators series. If you are thinking about offering FLO courses to your faculty and staff, these are the people who can help!

Meet Gina Bennett

What got you started on this path to becoming a FLO facilitator and mentor?
Probably my interest started in 1996, the year my family moved from Nova Scotia to Kelowna. It was a tough transition for me: I didn’t know anybody and couldn’t seem to find a job. I credit the internet with saving my sanity. I was able to stay in touch with friends and colleagues from N.S. and I kept busy with some adult education courses and a little online teaching. So outside of family life, my social, professional, teaching, and learning lives were all online. One takeaway from that experience was that you can have meaningful relationships and transformational learning experiences without being physically present with the Other. And I’ve been fascinated by the art and science of making that happen for others ever since. The FLO courses are a perfect fit!
What experience and expertise do you bring to this new support role of helping others to adopt and/or facilitate FLO courses? 
For almost 19 years I was a faculty member at College of the Rockies, working to support and encourage e-learning, educational technology, academic innovation, learning-centered approaches, and faculty development generally. A lot of that work involved helping faculty make the transition from classroom-only to online instruction. Learning to use the technology was only part of the process; faculty also needed support as they learned to teach in new ways, developing skills in facilitation rather than lecturing, and mentoring rather than just delivering content. So I do understand the context! More recently, I’ve completed several FLO courses myself (including the FLO Facilitator Development course), assisted in the development of the FLO Facilitation Guide (workbook), co-facilitated one MicroCourse, and participated in several others.
How can people contact you?
The most reliable way for the first contact is via email ( I monitor my email pretty compulsively.

Gina Bennett will be facilitating the upcoming FLO Fundamentals course from April 1 – May 3, 2019 – There are still spaces available! Register today.

Learn more about FLO:

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Support a community of learning with the FLO Facilitation Guide

Cross-posted from BCcampus News

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) Facilitation Guide authored by experienced FLO facilitators Gina Bennett, Beth Cougler Blom, Sylvia Currie, and Sylvia Riessner. This guide is a companion resource for the five Facilitating Learning Online courses and a valuable addition to the resources designed to help with the FLO adoption process.
This guide will benefit individuals facilitating FLO courses as well as any course that emphasizes facilitating in a community of learners and supporting collaboration and reflective practice. It is presented with a consistent structure for each FLO course, making it easy to zone in on exactly what is relevant.
Over the next 12 months, the guide will be used by co-facilitators in each FLO course. Through this process, we will identify areas that need improving. If your institution/organization is implementing a FLO course this year, we welcome feedback!
The FLO Facilitation Guide, along with all FLO courses, is available for browsing, copying, adapting, or downloading and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Licence.

Learn more:

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

What is it like to facilitate an online MicroCourse?

Another successful FLO MicroCourse ran from Oct 29 – Nov 2, 2018, with the theme: Experience and design a community building activity. Once it wrapped up, we asked the facilitators about their experiences. Here’s what they had to say:
“I’m grateful to have been invited to do this. I wasn’t sure what would come from completing Facilitator Development Online in May. My workload at Yukon College is pretty jam-packed and a full Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) facilitation seemed daunting. Collaborating with three facilitators for a MicroCourse made this such manageable and fun work.

“These inter-provincial-territorial-institutional relationships are not easy to build! When I leave Yukon for a 3-day conference, I get to meet other teaching and learning folks face-to-face, but it can be difficult to build relationships in such a short time, with many sessions and things-to-do competing for attention. For me, co-facilitating FLO became such a meaningful way to build relationships – not only with participants, but also with co-facilitators. Even though all our communication was via tech tools (e.g. Skype, email, GoogleDocs, Kumu, Padlet, Moodle…), I feel like we made good connections because of substantial, shared work on authentic tasks – something that can be tough to do at conferences.

“I’m grateful for the chance to learn from my co-facilitators and gain practical experience. The depth of participation in the MicroCourse blew me away! I also came out realizing how much I value co-facilitation and how rare it is to have co-facilitation opportunities in online academic courses. I’m hoping to change that!” – Colleen Grandy, Faculty Development Instructor, Yukon College
“Co-facilitating the MicroCourse has been GREAT. I was a bit apprehensive beforehand and felt I hadn’t done enough preparation for this. (I think I tend to over-prepare.) I was impressed by the quality of ideas people posted within such a short timeframe.

“Obviously, FLO has hit the Goldilocks sweet spot for “just enough” direction. As a co-facilitator, I found this to be a very enjoyable experience, easy to engage such a keen group, and not overly demanding time-wise. It sure didn’t hurt that I had such fantastic co-facilitators.” – Gina Bennett, Sessional Instructor, University College of the Fraser Valley

What did the participants say?

“I was impressed with the quality of this course over such a short period of time. It was a great learning experience.”

“The topics are timely; the amount of time and involvement is flexible; participating in the building of the FLO Community of Practice is rewarding; I feel valued and validated as a Micro FLO participant. I’m just a FLO enthusiast; what can I say…”

“Fantastic online experience.”

“It was helpful to see other examples of proposed community building activities – and try them out and discuss them – and have the chance to propose my own and get feedback on it.”

One participant even offered a promotion statement!

“Experience micro-learning in a fun, fast-paced, action-packed week with FLO. Target your chosen professional development topics and learn (and practice) with knowledgeable, thought-provoking facilitators and colleagues online.”

Who are FLO MicroCourses for?

In this series we have attracted participation from across Canada and beyond, including public post-secondary, K-12, and private organizations. The courses offer:
  • An opportunity to dip into an online learning experience
  • A practice platform for designers and facilitators
  • An emergent and practical course topics.
Contact me if you have topic ideas for future offerings or would like to co-facilitate!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

E-Learning 3.0 for old fogies

I cannot lie. I think about retirement a lot. But instead of dreaming about all the free time I'll have to float around the lake, I'm actually obsessing a bit about all the things I still want to learn. So I submitted a professional development request to my employer BCcampus to take the E-learning 3.0 MOOC, facilitated by Stephen Downes.

Some of you might be thinking, wait, a PD request? MOOCs are free! And online! What are you in fact requesting? Answer: time. The request was approved the same day I submitted it. I think that says a lot about how my organization views learning online. BCcampus also offers free day care for on-location events. Ok, there's so much to say about BCcampus. Another post. :)

I love the idea of MOOCs and I'm also aware of the challenges. The first and ongoing challenge is how to situate yourself in a massive course. It's very easy to drift away but there are also many lures to keep you engaged. So far in this MOOC I'm appreciating:

1. Daily newsletters
I subscribed immediately because I know from years of experience that having things land in my inbox will remind me of what I'm supposed to be doing. That's right. Email! I've been relying on it since my first account at Simon Fraser University in the 80s. I told you I'm an old fogie.

2. A facilitator who is super busy and working his butt off to make this course happen
Why does this keep me engaged? Well partly because I've been a super busy facilitator working my butt off to make open, online events happen since the 90s. I told you I'm an old fogie.

3. Familiar faces
I'm not saying you're all old fogies out there, but I perked right up when I saw the roster of speakers.  George Siemens kicked off the course, and I've been following his work for most of my life. Just kidding, but way before twitter. It probably goes back to the first edtech listservs. I told you I'm an old fogie.

4. The hub
This is where I will come to get a pulse on the course activity. Except I'm not sure it's the right place. Where is that list of familiar faces I mentioned in #3? Where are the videos? I'm either still not convinced that this is the best model for learning, or I'm a navigationally challenged old fogie.

5. The connections
I have complete confidence that I will learn a lot in this course. Why? Because I feel connected to the topic and many of the people involved. When I'm falling out of my hammock I'll just check in with my friend Jenny Mackness!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Reflections on our first MicroCourse

In June we kicked of our first MicroCourse called "Create your course intro video".

Why MicroCourses?

There are several reasons for offering MicroCourses. Here are the top three:

  1. They're short, manageable chunks of productive learning
  2. They provide a taste before committing to a full FLO course -- active learning, peer support, outcomes-based, facilitated
  3. They provide an opportunity to practice facilitation

About the practicing facilitation part

Robin Leung, senior systems specialist at Kwantlen Polytechnic University Teaching & Learning Commons, was fresh out of the Facilitator Development Online course when he stepped up as our first facilitator. It was a wonderful experience working with Robin. Here's what he had to say:

It was an absolute privilege to be invited to co-facilitate the first ever MicroFLO course with Sylvia. I was very surprised with the opportunity, as I had just finished taking the Facilitator Development Online course (FDO) just a few weeks prior and the information was still sinking in. I was totally not ready to co-facilitate with the things going on with at work and the fact that I haven’t even taken the FLO course yet. But without hesitation, I decided to dive into the deep end of the pool. I’d figure it was an excellent opportunity for me to take what I’ve learnt from the FDO course and apply it to this MicroFLO course.
Unlike other FLO courses, the MicroFLO course focuses on one topic and is only a week’s time. I think this allows participants to focus on that particular topic and hopefully those who participates are really passionate about that specific topic also. The amount of time required to spend on the course is very flexible, but of course, the more invested, the greater the return. 
One thing I learnt from co-facilitating this MicroFLO course was to not underestimate the abundance of knowledge that is shared amongst the participants. At first, I was afraid of the lack of contribution or what if no one would respond or comment on each other’s work. I found that with co-facilitating, it is hard to gauge the need to respond or not respond to a discussion. Sometimes it is better to be silent and allow other participants to take lead or respond with an affirmation. And other times, you feel the need to take charge. 
The second thing I learnt is to be open to suggestions and feedback. Obviously, what is good to some may not be good to others. I’ve provided an example demonstrating universal design for learning, while it echoed for some, but the video sample was not perfect and some caught other parts which could be improved. I take it as every feedback is an opportunity to improve the next time. 
Lastly, I learnt that you need a co-facilitator that balances with your life well. And Sylvia was exactly that. I had a more technical background and she had more of the facilitation background. I am a night owl (catching most of the activities at night), and she’s the early riser (catching most of the activities in the day time). I think that complimented very well. 
Until the next FLO, keep flowing.


The level of participation in the course was perfect -- enough to make it interesting but not so many we felt overwhelmed. Registrants showed up from a variety of institutions, including out of province and international. As always, you expect more registrants than active participants in a free course, but the ratio was good. 11 individuals submitted video projects and all were peer reviewed.

This log was captured during the week of the course. As an open course, the resource will continued to be viewed. 

How did the participants feel about the course?

At the end of the course participants are asked to provide feedback about their experience. All reported they were satisfied or very satisfied. Here's what one videographer had to say:
Friendly congenial group and instructor energy, great feedback and this was something I had been intending to work on for a long time - the course gave me the motivation to plunge in and start making intro videos!
Overall, it was a great experience and we're looking forward to the next FLO MicroCourse, Creating and using rubrics, which runs September 17 - 21, 2018. Our facilitators will be Jacquie Harrison from Vancouver Community College and Bettina Boyle, Capilano University. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Learn by [bad] example

We just kicked off a new one-week course at BCcampus called 'Create your course intro video' today. I'm co-facilitating this FLO MicroCourse with the amazing Robin Leung, senior systems specialist at Kwantlen Polytechnic University Teaching & Learning Commons.

Robin and I decided ahead of time that he would post a good video, and I would post a video that, well, sucks. I had fun demonstrating just about every mistake you can make!

It was a risky move because I don't let on until the end that I'm intentionally making bad video. Fortunately, Christina Thomas from Yukon College got it!

I almost didn't last until the end when you let the "cat out of the bag". 

So what did I do wrong in this video? Here's a start on a list. I'll keep adding as more comments roll in:

  • Um, don't call your students "folks" or "guys"
  • My opening words, the tone, and the HAT make you think I’d rather be doing something else. 
  • I did a terrible job of lighting – never have the light behind your head. And also don't wear a hat that covers your face!
  • The background setting is nasty – ugly, dirty tarp outside the window, a pile of stuff on a bench...
  • Background noise! I grabbed a recording of dogs barking from BBC Sound Effects because my own dogs were sleeping.
  • I read my script, rustled paper, and rarely looked at the camera. 
  • I told my viewers all about course elements instead of actually show them.  
  • I used my phone and held it vertically. Never do this! Only horizontal! 
  • I move around to give that Blair Witch effect. 
What else? Can you add to the list of what NOT to do?

Sign up by Monday, June 11, 2018 (today!) if you'd like to join the fun - it's open and free.

Monday, May 14, 2018

FDO Journal - Week 1

I am currently co-facilitating the 2-week Facilitator Development Online (FDO) course with Ross McKerlich from Okanagan College. In this course, as with all FLO courses, we're all about reflective practice. Participants are asked to share out some nuggets at the end of each week. As facilitators, reading through these entries is when you really get a feel for how things are going. I highly recommend it!

Here are some of my jots about Week 1:

Co-facilitation rules!

We have a synchronous panel session scheduled this week with past FLO facilitators. They will be sharing their tips and experiences and I can bet one of them will say having co-facilitators is the best thing ever. This week Ross had a fun adventure planned with his son that would take him offline for a few days. No problem! The key is finding the best way to work together. You learn from one another, you share the workload, and you need to be efficient. Google Docs for planning works wonders for that!

Marginalia annotations

I was delighted to see participants notice, then start using, then observing the benefits of, the annotation tool. This week I used it to jot down my thoughts as I read journal posts. It can help to:

  • keep the noise level down (noticing the comments about having email subscription overwhelm here!) 
  • let folks know you're present and paying attention 
  • keep out the middle and give space/priority to participants 
  • say a lot without overthinking and spending too much time crafting responses

Creative introductions!

We had such a variety of tools and formats! Something that really stood out for me was the use of low-tech in such effective ways. One video intro was done standing in front of a whiteboard with extra info and thought bubbles drawn on it. Also, in a Flipgrid intro, a participant held up a card with "hi" handwritten on it. It seems like such a small thing, but it told me a lot about that individual.

This bugs me about FDO

The design of FDO invites a lot of quality contributions and peer review. It's fabulous. However, what I notice is that it doesn't provided opportunities to model good, inclusive dialogue. Since most replies are directly related to the original post (as opposed to weaving several posts and ideas together), there is a tendency to fall into one-to-one communication.

Ditch the prerequisite

The description of FDO lists FLO - Fundamentals as a recommended prerequisite. The first person to try taking FDO without having a FLO course under their belt was Ross McKerlich. He has since co-facilitated FLO - Synchronous and is now co-facilitating the course about how to facilitated FLO courses. This builds a good case for ditching the prereq! Now we have several participants who are diving straight into FDO, and although they confess it takes extra time and effort (okay, a lot of extra time) they're thriving in this supportive environment. Maybe even having fun! :)


We often see photos of pets, but in this FDO the cutest photos of babies have popped up. I went back to to the forum this morning to smile at one nicknamed "nugget" :)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Introducing the new FLO MicroCourses

This is cross-posted from 

Have you longed to take a Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) course, but wished it were shorter? We have just the learning opportunity to fit your schedule!

Beginning in June 2018, we will be rolling out a new series: FLO MicroCourses! These are short, single-topic, hands-on/practical and free. In one week, you will dip into the FLO experience, and leave with something practical and useful for your own teaching practice.

Topics are emergent and all related to designing and facilitating and learning online. Our first offering is:
Make Your Course Intro Video 
June 11 – 15, 2018 

You will leave this course with new ideas and skills for creating personable and informative introductory videos. In addition, you’ll receive feedback on your own course video prototype. 

Participants should expect to spend at least 5 hours for course activities during the week. Those with no prior online teaching and learning experience can expect to invest more time. Active participation will make this course successful for everyone!

Examples of future FLO MicroCourse topics include:

  • Experience and design a community building activity 
  • Using inclusive dialogue 
  • Designing a formative feedback for the instructor 
  • Designing course surveys 
  • Creating an accessible learning resource 
  • Designing assessment rubrics