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" :)