• Reflect on how you can provide support, facilitation and scaffolding for students in online and blended learning environments.

This topic has been very helpful as I have been facilitating and lecturing for a year plus now and I truly value the detailed recommendations and resources shared.

For online blended learning, I will definitely refer to the 5-stage model (Salmon, 2005) of Teaching and Learning Online. I like how they even considered accessibility to students for this is something that we might intuitively neglect, since most of us have basic access to the internet or even just being on this course, it has shown that we don’t lack the tools needed to learn online. I do think the people who need these resources the most are probably those who do not even get basic access to them.

I thought the techniques cited in this article (https://sleguidance.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/BL/pages/36962474/Online+facilitation+techniques) are very useful in helping me prepare my webinars. I currently employ a few of them such as “posting the first question to break the ice”, “asking questions that are more straightforward to start with”, etc. A lot of work goes into creating the online discussion questions as I have to anticipate their responses and thought process, before reiterating over and over the final questions I would use. Working backwards helps a lot as you have to consider their perspective more.

All in all, these techniques provided do augment my practice, and they are helpful guidelines that I can share with my colleagues as well.

The Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework ((Arbaugh, Cleveland-Innes, Díaz, Garrison, Ice, Richardson & Swan, n.d.) was interesting as well. Emotional presence is still something that is quite difficult to incorporate, though I feel it comes with practice, experience, and constant reflection and reiteration of the way we facilitate online learning.

I think I have a better grasp on teaching and cognitive presences. I am a hardcore advocate of having a strong framework and teaching structure, and I design my sessions with a lot of deliberation and intention. For social and emotional presences, I try my best in creating a warm and friendly atmosphere for the students, although it can be a little challenging when students can only view you through how you appear on screen and how you project your voice, etc.

  • Are there opportunities for further development in this area, that you have identified as a result of your own experience as a learner in the ONL course and of your engagement in this topic?

As a learner in the ONL course, I was the one who did not speak up as much in the group sessions. I thought that it would be good if the facilitator(s) would be able to engage the quieter learners more, especially if there’s a group of learners from diverse backgrounds. Being in this position helped me understand how students might want to be engaged and puts me in their shoes a little more.

Topic 4: Design for Online and Blended Learning