- Set your plan for facilitation early
- Facilitation plan, shared using pinned comments
- Approach to course-wide facilitation- post and pin a comment
- Changes to facilitation - unpin and pin a new comment
- Use different automated emails
- Step content - leading to supported discussions
- Supported discussions example - questions and answer steps
- Discussion steps
- Other steps
- Example step content - learner focused
- Example step content - stronger peer interaction focus
- Keep it clear
Learners need clarity on how much facilitation a course will have (if any), and when it will be available. The most common scenario is Educators, Facilitators and Mentors are available for a period of time but can’t be online 24/7 or 52 weeks of the year. Most learners do not expect replies from the team when it’s made clear to them they are unavailable or not actively monitoring the course. Clarity is the key to ensuring learners expectations are being met.
Set your plan for facilitation early
You may facilitate your course only for a few weeks, but the run is available for enrolment over a longer period of time. Learners benefit from your interaction - directly but also from reading and engaging with past interactions. Facilitation has a lifespan longer than the active period - as long as we remain clear to learners.
Facilitation plan, shared using pinned comments
Learners need clarity and we recommend giving early notice with how you plan to facilitate your course. You will be more active during certain times, such around the official ‘start date’ rather than weeks, or months, after the course run started.
Approach to course-wide facilitation - post and pin a comment
We do not recommend editing step content on a live course, especially if it’s an open step. One solution is to post a comment which outlines your plan to facilitate the course. Do this early (in Week 1, Activity 1) and pin the comment to make it appear at the top.
Changes to facilitation - unpin and pin a new comment
If, during a run, you plan to change how much facilitation you offer on a course we recommend pinning a new comment to explain this to learners. Firstly, unpin any existing comments (with a different message) and then write a new comment which explains your availability and pin it early - ideally replacing an older comment in Week 1, Activity 1.
Use different automated emails
The automatic emails are a great way to communicate with all learners who sign up to your course. They provide a space for you to send a personal, and contextual, message to them in an efficient way.
Use the Joined during extended enrolment email to show different level of facilitation
This will go to learners who join, usually, after the peak of facilitation has ended. This is because an 'always available’ course may have an enrolment window of all-year, but we do not expect you to facilitate as normal for the same period. Include messaging to learners that they can still benefit from commenting with each other, but ensure you mention that the course team will not be available during this time.
Step content - leading to supported discussions
Steps in your course may indicate that a member of the course team will respond, in any way, to one or more learner comments. With courses being made always available we recommend reviewing step content that specifically mentions such interactions and editing the content to how they may work over a longer period of time.
Supported discussions example: question and answer steps
These can remain as-is but ensure they are clear the time period where questions should be asked, and when answers were given. After this time period you may want to pin a comment thanking for contributions and stating the team will no longer be answering questions (or pointing to a new run).
Discussion steps are designed to be a natural break in the learning and a chance to reflect and review on the concepts and topics before proceeding in the course. They also tend to appear after Quizzes, Tests, Peer Review and other significant exercises or activities within a course. During an ‘always available’ period of extended course availability learners will likely use these more for meaningful discussion and may be asking for, or expecting, help and support from the educators.
We recommend reviewing the content of these discussion prompts to be sure they are clear. Learners need to know when they will get support, or not. You should be especially careful of including any content that would raise learner’s expectations of interactions with the course team.
Most steps tend to end with a call to action in the comments. With course runs being made available for much longer periods of time we recommend making stronger references to peer learning and less supported by the course team.
Example step content - learner focused
Comment below with your experiences, like and reply to other learners who have had similar, or very different experiences to you.
Example step content - stronger peer interaction focus
Comment below with your experience and try to find another learner who has had a similar or very different experience to you. Reply to one or more learners and ask them a key question to explore their experience further.
Keep an eye on your notifications, as learners reply to you you’ll get notifications and you should return to that step and respond to any questions they have raised.
Keep it clear
Your comments and step content will be different but the goal remains the same - to keep a clear message for learners on when the course is actively facilitated.