If you’re looking to learn about how to facilitate online learning events you may wish to consider joining me for an upcoming online course I’m offering starting May 25. The course is called Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) Synchronous (FLO Synchronous for short) and it’s all about facilitating in virtual/synchronous online environments using platforms such as Zoom, Webex and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. If you’re curious about the course but have questions about it, read on.

What do you mean by the term ‘synchronous’?

Many of us in online education refer to web conferencing or virtual online events as “synchronous online”. Synchronous means “at the same time”. So FLO Synchronous will help you learn how to facilitate live online learning events where people show up to the same online place at the same time. I wish there was only one term for this mode of learning but unfortunately there’s not!

We also say “synchronous” to differentiate this type of learning from “asynchronous” online learning, which means learning that takes place (usually) over a number of weeks online, but the learners can show up to participate in the course during the week at times convenient to them.

How does the course work?

The course is three weeks long and features a combination of asynchronous and synchronous learning. The dates for the synchronous sessions facilitated by me are posted in the course description. People who choose to facilitate their own synchronous sessions in the third week of the course will provide other opportunities.

The FLO term sounds familiar to me, why is that?

Many of us have been designing and facilitating FLO (Facilitating Learning Online) courses in the post-secondary education sector here in British Columbia for many years. FLO Synchronous is just one course in the FLO “family” of courses. Other courses in the family are: FLO Fundamentals, FLO Design, and FLO MicroCourses on different topics. I am the original designer of FLO Synchronous and have facilitated it in the past through Royal Roads University and BCcampus. I also have been heavily involved in facilitating other FLO courses for many years and am one of many “FLO Enthusiasts” located across BC. I am also one of the authors of the FLO Facilitation Guide.

What is so special about this course?

Other courses may only tell you about facilitating online learning. In FLO Synchronous you’ll have a chance to actually do it. If you choose the Practicing Facilitator track of the course, you’ll have the opportunity to facilitate a short synchronous online session for myself and some of your course peers in the last week of the course. The feedback you will receive from this session will be invaluable towards your growth as an online facilitator.

Can I take this course if all I want to do is run online meetings, not online learning events?

This course is primarily focused on helping people design and facilitate learning experiences in a synchronous online mode, however, a lot of the same skills and strategies will work for those of you who simply want to facilitate online group meetings. You might wish to choose the Reviewing Participant track of this course instead of the Practicing Facilitator one, so that you can be a participant in other people’s sessions to learn from them, but not have to facilitate your own in Week 3. (If you’d like to know more about the two tracks, the course description is a good place to start.)

Why should I take this course with you?

Because I’ve been facilitating online – both asynchronously and synchronously – since 2012 and you’re going to learn both from the content that I’ve included in the course and from watching me model facilitation skills and strategies you can also “steal” for yourself! None of us is a perfect online facilitator – it’s an impossible dream if I ever heard one – and you’re going to learn from watching me being an authentic facilitator online – which might even include making mistakes that I need to recover from in the moment! Plus, I absolutely want to figure out what you need and try to get it for you. And I’m pretty great at explaining things and sharing tons of examples from my experience.

Why is your hair so short in the photo you’ve included?

Ok I’m sure you weren’t wondering that but I thought I’d include something funny here. That photo was taken a couple of years ago in my “super short’ hair phase. If you sign up for this course, you’ll get to see me in my full “pandemic hair” glory – it’s absolutely longer than it was in this photo! (And I still have the feathers art on the wall of my office, which everybody loves to comment on.)

I look forward to having you join me in FLO Synchronous starting May 25, 2020!

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