Page 1

A Guide for E-Moderators

By participants on The Consultants-E March 2013 EModeration Course Hind Aboras, James Johnson, Maria Treadaway, Neil McLaren, Pelin Guney, Sayed Mahmoud, Susan Robinson Tutor: Janet Bianchini

A Guide for E-Moderators Chapters


Starting off online – creating a good social environment online


Working online – tutor skills for handling online chats, discussions, & content


Going deeper – the development of knowledge & content online


Rounding up – assessment & ending a course

A Guide for E-Moderators Chapter One Starting off online - creating a good social environment online by Pelin Guney

This chapter considers the importance of socialising in online courses, online tasks and tools, the role of the tutor in online socialising, and recommended reference material. Click on the link to view the PresentMe presentation Starting off online.

The Importance of Socializing 0 The "distance" in distance education is pedagogical

and social, not geographical, and that this separation between instructor and learner may be overcome through effective dialogue (i.e., instructor-learner interaction) and instructional design (i.e., structure) (Moore & Kearsley, 1996, pp. 199-203). The way to overcome the “distance� is to create a social environment.

The Importance of Socializing 0 A learning community is “a group of individuals who

collaboratively engage in purposeful critical discourse and reflection to construct meaning and confirm mutual understanding.� (Garrison, 2007)

The way to establish a collaboratively engaged group is to create a social learning environment.

The Importance of Socializing

In order to initiate learning in an online environment, first we must establish social presence.

The Importance of Socializing 0 Social presence is “the degree to which a person is

perceived as a ‘real person’ in mediated communication” (Gunawardena and Zittle, 1997, p. 9).

0 “The overall goal for creating social presence is to

create a level of comfort in which people feel at ease around the instructor and the other participants.” (Aragon,)

The Importance of Socializing 0 Who is the teacher? 0 Who are the participants? 0 What are they like? 0 Are we in this together? 0 How do I know I can trust the teachers and other

participants? 0 Will I receive it when I need help?

Establishing social presence puts the minds at ease.

The Importance of Socializing Form the online group first, then return to course work! Introduce and orientate the learners to the content, to each other, to the tutor, to the VLE.

Course Design Strategies for Creating Social Presence ď ś Develop Welcome Messages A less-than-a-minute streamed video from the course tutor in which she welcomes the students, introduces herself and provides a short overview of the course. The goal is to allow the students some opportunity to know who the instructor is prior to the start of the class and to put a face to a name.

Course Design Strategies for Creating Social Presence ď ś Include Student Profiles The student profile includes the picture of the student, e-mail and web page addresses, and a short bio. The goal is to help both the instructor and the other members of the class build a social connection with each other

Course Design Strategies for Creating Social Presence ď ś Incorporate Audio A one way audio in which the instructor broadcasts to the students or a two way audio in which both instructor and students broadcast back and forth. The goal is to create social presence by reflecting the emotions of the instructor to the students. It can also help establish the formality of the environment and the friendliness of the instructor and can encourage participation (McLellan, 1999).

Course Design Strategies for Creating Social Presence ď ś Limit Class Size Rovai (2001) suggests that a student-instructor ratio should not exceed 30:1. Beyond this, the amount of social presence that can be established between students and the instructor diminishes.

Course Design Strategies for Creating Social Presence ď ś Structure Collaborative Learning Activities Group work, group discussions, group assignments, group projects, online group debates The goal is to increase learner-to-learner interaction and remove the task of being the only source of knowledge from the course tutor.

Instructors’ Strategies for Creating Social Presence ď ś Contribute to Discussion Boards Comment on individual entries and post summaries of discussions. The discussion board takes the place of the verbal discussion and interaction that occurs in a face-to-face classroom. Therefore, instructors should not be passive but should be actively involved in the discussions taking place in this medium.

Instructors’ Strategies for Creating Social Presence ď ś Promptly Answer Email Answer student e-mail associated with a current class within twenty-four hours unless stated otherwise. Students need to feel that their messages are valued by the instructor and have the same amount of priority as any other message.

Instructors’ Strategies for Creating Social Presence  Provide Frequent Feedback Group feedback is important. But what is more important is individual feedback. Give personalized feedback on student’s assignments, participation and overall progress in the course.

Instructors’ Strategies for Creating Social Presence ď ś Strike up a conversation Students usually enter the chat room a little bit before synchronous chat sessions start. Log in early and use this time to talk with students about anything other than the class.

Instructors’ Strategies for Creating Social Presence  Share personal stories and experiences Online programs are popping up around every corner, the best ones have to establish legitimacy. One way of doing this is hiring instructors who are real, and part of conveying this “realness” is sharing these experiences.

Instructors’ Strategies for Creating Social Presence  Use humor  Use emoticons

Instructors’ Strategies for Creating Social Presence  Address students by name.  Allow students options for addressing the instructor.  Establish netiquette with your students.

Instructors’ Strategies for Creating Social Presence  Deal with technical problems at an early stage. Do not

hesitate to call your students if need be.  Detect and deal with lurkers at an early stage.

Instructors’ Strategies for Creating Social Presence Teacher’s presence comes before students’ presence.

References 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Kevin Wilcoxon, “Building an Online Community”, 2011. Nicky Hockly, “Working Together in Virtual Darkness”, 2004. Nicky Hockly, “Activities for Online Courses: The Beginning”, 2010. Garrison, D. R. “Computer Conferencing and Distance Education: Cognitive and Social Presence Issues.”, 1997. Gunawardena, C. N., and Zittle, F. J. “Social Presence as a Predictor of Satisfaction within a Computer-Mediated Conferencing Environment.” 1997. Steve Aragon, “Creating Social Presence in Online Environments”, 2003.

A Guide for E-Moderators Chapter Two Working online – tutor skills for handling online chats, discussions, & content By Maria Treadaway Neil McLaren This chapter considers participation and motivation in online courses, tutors skills for handling synchronous and asychronous work online, sample rubric(s) for course design decisions and other related areas. Optional extra reading:

Effective Online Facilitation Time Management Strategies for Online Instructors Lurking is Not a Static State Sample Rubrics and Rationales Here is a list of resources that give sample rubrics for various online tasks with a rationale for their function: This resource covers rubrics and rationales for the following tasks: Rubric for Instructor-Facilitated Online Discussions Student-led Online Discussion Participation Rubric Online Classroom Attendance and Participation Expectations Online Journal Rubric Netiquette Resources Wondering what you should do for the “participation� portion of our class?

This example discusses participation expectations, defines a substantive post, and provides other ideas for participation. gradingdiscussions.html This link outlines the rationale for grading contributions to online discussions and provides three sample rubrics with descriptors. bric.html This resource gives a marking grid for collaborative tasks. It could be used by a tutor or by other students in peer evaluation. brics.pdf This resource outlines marking criteria for online discussion boards in an A, B, C grade format with descriptions of the criteria.

This paper examines the assessment of online collaboration, using tools such as blogs and wikis. It seeks to address three questions: (1) Is online collaborative assessment educationally valid? (2) What is current practice? (3) What are the strengths and weaknesses of current practice? This is an extended article on assessment and collaboration in online learning. Link to Tutor Skills Online blog: Link to YouTube presentation:

Tutor Skills Online Asynchronous and synchronous learning

Tutor Skills Kemshal-Bell (2001)  Technical skills  Managerial skills  Facilitation skills

Facilitation 

Two perspectives:

“managing the communication of others online” (Coghlan 2001) "guide on the side" (Kempe 2001)

Facilitation skills include: Engaging the learner in the learning process, particularly at the beginning  Appropriate questioning, listening and feedback skills  Ability to provide direction and support to learners  Skills in managing online discussion  Ability to build online teams  A capacity for relationship building  Motivational skills. 

Synchronous and Asynchronous 

Skills are the same.

Synchronous is perhaps more challenging because of its ‘in the moment’ nature.

Technical Skills Familiarity and comfort using platforms (Blackboard collaborate/Moodle/Google Apps) ď‚— Knowledge of common trouble shooting measures ď‚—

Managerial Skills Basic and general netiquette to establish functional and effective online programs  Good management / coordination / organizational skills in terms of setting up any synchronous interaction  Selecting and organizing support materials for use during the chat/video conference if required 

Managerial Skills Consideration of cultural sensitivities and difficulties of managing a bigger group across countries where misunderstandings or problematic materials could cause offence  Time management and robust course design  Awareness of the needs and expectations of the learners  Keeping motivation going  Keeping tabs on student progress 

Facilitation Skills Understanding of the dynamics of online communication and interactions  Ability to inspire response by asking leading/thought provoking questions  Dealing with silences (the dread of all online moderators) and getting students to actively participate (Benfield 2000)  The importance of respecting and valuing multiple perspectives 

Facilitation Skills A mix of probes and supportive comments helps to extend conversations (Sherry et al. 2001)  Ability to tactfully refocus attention on the topic when people have gone offtopic  Ability to synthesise ideas / summarize the points  Being active and present, yet not dominating  Acknowledging contributions 

References  66

Janet Bianchini Group summary: orum/discuss.php?d=36352#p124921 uides/facilitation.html

A Guide for E-Moderators Chapter Three Going deeper – the development of knowledge & content online by Hind Aboras Sayed Mahmoud

This chapter considers course structure, course design and content of online courses as well as online course task types.

Going Deeper: Tips in Mounting Online Course Content EModMar2013 Project


WHY? This is a proposal of an online course content and a template, along with the examples, to help online tutors for designing online courses that are instructionally and pedagogically sound. The best practices are a combination of strategies, activities, design techniques, organizational tips, that is expected to be implemented successfully in online courses.

Online course content • On line Course Design Principles • Online Course Layout Design $ Organization Tips

• Online Pedagogy

Tip 1 Course Design Principles


Design, Develop,


mplement, &



“is a project management tool which helps in course's design, development, and delivery “ (COL, n.d.)

Tip 2 The Online course content layout & Organization An Example of Online Course Pages (Template)

Course developers structure the course in a well organized manner, so their participants should be able intuitively get from place to place within the course . • The content should be divided into learning units, labeled and presented in a logical manner. • They could divide these units into modules, chapters according to the course designer's needs. • The VLE template will be chosen after planning the course and the content will be uploaded . •

Online Course Map Click to open the Hyperlinks below to view the Examples of the Content page Introduction Welcome Learning Expectations Task List Course Syllabus Course Schedule

Course Structure Communication Rules

Technology Requirements Introduction Instructions

Discussion Area for Introductions Module Feedback

Online Course Map

Module 1

Module 2

• Introduction

• Introduction

• Learning Expectations

• Learning Expectations

• Task List

• Task List

• Discussion Instructions

• Discussion Instructions

• Assignment Instructions

• Assignment Instructions

• M1 Discussion

• M2 Discussion

• M1 Dropbox

• M2 Dropbox

• Module Feedback

• Module Feedback

• Module 3 ...ETC

A Blank Course Shell Follow the instructions to download an empty HTML file for your course 1. Watch the Video to enhance your knowledge about the online course layout and organization.

2. Visit COL website and download the Empty Online course shell. 1. To organize the course file ,a convention naming file should be kept

Tip 3 Online Pedagogy A Course designer needs to think about the below strategies for teaching and learning in an online environment: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Instructional strategies Discussion Strategies Guiding the Learning Formative Feedback Assessment

ďƒ˜? Some course developers argue that by adding a lot of E tools in an online course they will create an interactive learning environment. Click the icon to watch the video!!














A Guide for E-Moderators Chapter Four Rounding up – assessment & ending a course by James Johnson Sue Robinson This chapter considers issues in assessment of asynchronous and synchronous discussions, useful tools, ideas for finishing of an online course, and suggestions for ‘beyond the course’. The last part of this chapter Assessment and Round up activities is available as a PowerPoint presentation on Slideshare.

Assessment and Round Up Activities By James Johnson and Sue Robinson

We will look at: • Considerations and task types of: Asynchronous written online discussions Synchronised chat discussions • Closing activities – why and what

Assessing Asyncronised Online Discussions Considerations: •Have a set of clear criteria for the task •Develop a matrix/criteria when grading: Criteria:

Excellent (5)

Acceptable (3)

Poor (1)

Meeting the deadline

The student made the required posts by the deadline set.

The student made some of the required posts by the deadline set.

The student did not post by the required deadline set.

Quality of work

The student has clearly thought about the material and has raised interesting solutions and/or problems.

The student has written about the material, but has not offered information that was not already given in the text.

The student has not reflected on the material, or the post made is irrelevant to the topic.


The post made does not contain grammatical or spelling errors.

The post made contains very few grammatical and/or spelling errors.

The post made contains several grammatical and/or spelling errors and is difficult to understand.


Sample Rubric taken from: The Effectiveness and Development of Online Discussions by Olla Najah Al-Shalchi

 A set of guidelines for how to participate and expectations to meet the criteria  Design tasks that encourage sharing, negotiation and skills and with a real purpose/focus  Variation in task type and format should be given: video, wiki, podcast, documents, visual, spoken  Tasks can be longer than synchronous chat as participant has more time to research and think.  Regulate discussions/make them manageable and provide a two way dialogue  Keep to a time frame/length for each task

 Keep a clear record/tracking system/copy of transcript or text  To give opportunity for peer feedback  Think about use of video and audio to give feedback- more personal  Ensure cohesion

Types of tasks: many have been exemplified on this course  Tasks to give opinion, relate experiences, evaluate and use question and answers.  Responses to questions previously set/research articles

 Critiques/reviews of material  Peer feedback and evaluation  Comment on a picture/song/broadcast  Shared viewing of a video

 Making a video/podcast  To summarise the discussion  Review of case studies  Students submit a study plan to the tutor-feedback from tutor

 Using some of the Google apps: Questionnaires on how the tasks went. This helps self-correction  Get them to keep a reflective journal, this could allow for selfcorrection.  Create an e portfolio

Assessing Synchronised Chat Considerations  To assess is difficult as how do you measure ‘chat’ ?

 Synchronised chat is more informal, and so can be fragmented and hard to keep consistency  Issue of unreliable technology/internet connections  Time zone differences between students – not all will be able to participate at the same time  The chat needs to be monitored and ‘chaired’ by someone to keep the focus of the task and stop deviations from the topic. Therefore the role of the tutor is more important here.  The ‘moderator‘ needs to encourage reluctant participants or stopping over dominant ones

What to assess Synchronous Chat is very difficult to assess due to the nature of a spoken text. It could, therefore, have more focus on how they participate: This is still difficult to measure and would need criteria as mentioned above to clearly identify the levels of expected participation.

 Turn taking  Frequency of comment and participation  Does the student stay on topic  Valued points that add to the discussion and are relevant  Evidence of reading the course material in their contribution  Acknowledging other participants in the exchange and responding to their comments

 Netiquette is being followed  Their participation is helping develop the conversation – asking pertinent questions

 Are they just ‘lurking’ – not really participating  Punctuality and attendance – is there a required %  Responding productively or contributing something just to be ‘on record’

 Empower them - get them to act as moderator or summariser in a group chat and after a group chat

Type of tasks As chat is sharing and talking, the tasks need to be collaborative and either in pairs or small groups. Assessment could take any format: aural or text chat or through video. Tasks on slide 5-6 can be used for both synchronised and asynchronised but the following extra tasks could also be used for synchronised chats:  Video conferencing

 Role play – to interact with other participants  Use software such as Jing, GoToMeeting Space or Collaborate to present topics or share information  Get them to take on a moderator role within the group/changing roles to different people

CLOSING ACTIVITIES Closing the course is very important as:  Often participants feel at a loss when the course has ended as they’ve bonded with the group (particularly on longer courses)  They’ve been doing it so long it’s part of their routine.  So activities are a good way to bring everything to a close and sum up what’s been learnt/shared.

Examples of activities (1 and 2 from Nicky Hockley’s Blog Emoderation Station)  Parting gift- specific to course (something such as a favourite website, tool, picture, video clip or program to give…)  Wall wisher – to say one thing learnt from the course or what they going to do after the course  Students could complete a feedback questionnaire on the course  Self-evaluation questionnaire: where most improved would like to further develop

 Make a montage of photos with words/phrases from each participant to be remembered

 Farewell messages using Podcast or video  A farewell discussion forum (Scot Thornbury’s idea from Nicky’s blog)

 Quiz/review of course using puzzlemaker/pictures or similar  Headline points! – using Fodey -something we thought at the beginning but has now changed or improved  A farewell synchronised chat to review, test, say goodbye (as we did )

References  The Effectiveness and Development of Online Discussions by Olla Najah Al-Shalchi  Emoderation Station Blog Nicky Hockley  Assessment in the Digital Age JISC (Ros Smith podcast)  Instruction Design Tips for Online Learning by Joan van Duzer  Planning an Online Course by Curt Bonk  The Real-time Online Tutor by Clive Shepherd

A Guide for E-Moderators The Consultants-E March 2013 E-Moderation Course

Emoderation Resource Pack March 2013  

Resource pack for e-moderators

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you