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 jamie@justinsitetraining.ca 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 educomm.ca

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 – rcmckerlich@gmail.com – 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 (bennett.gina@gmail.com). 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: