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E-Moderator Roles and Skills
Transcript of E-Moderator Roles and Skills
The online learning environment is just a "different kind of classroom for interacting with students" (Meloncon, page 33)
The shifting of space is exactly what happens in online instruction (Meloncon, page 34)
E-moderating draws on aspects of both face-to-face teaching and traditional print-based distance teaching. (Salmon 2002)
The key factor in e-moderating is that the e-moderator operates for part of the time in the electronic environment along with his or her students or learners. (Salmon, 2002)
Top Ten E-Moderator Skills
New Skills Needed to Fulfill E-Moderator Roles
"E-moderating is not a set of skills most of us have acquired vicariously through observing teachers whilst we were learning" (Salmon, 2002)
E-moderators are online facilitators - teaching and learning take place over a computer network of some kind and the interactions between people are an important form of support for the learning process. (Salmon, 2002)
Presently there are very few colleges and universities that offer training for e-moderating skills and the best methods are yet to be identified (Kearsley 2000)
Understanding e-moderator roles and as well as the knowledge and skills needed to fulfill those roles necessary first-steps
Top Eight E-Moderator Roles
Salmon and esteemed colleagues from around the world have attempted to identify and describe e-moderator roles (Goodyear, Salmon et al. 2001)
1. Process Facilitator
E-moderators are responsible for facilitating a range of online activities that are supportive of student learning (Salmon, 2001). It is similar to the conductor of a symphony making sure that there is harmony and purpose to the performance. E-moderators want to facilitate the best possible online learning experience
E-moderators oftentimes work with students on an individual basis, to offer advice or provide counseling in order to help learners get the most out of their engagement in a course. Perhaps there was a missed assignment or the quality of the work needs improvement. Private e-mails are shared with the student to provide assistance when needed.
The Keys to Successful E-Moderator Roles and Skills
Thank you for your feedback
E-moderators need to take time to design worthwhile on-line learning tasks (Salmon 2001). Course design and lesson planning are critical in creating engaging learner content and objectives.
ISD makes this happen.
5. Content Facilitator
E-moderators are concerned directly with facilitating the learners' growing understanding of course content (Salmon, 2001).
Instructor expertise as far as the subject matter is paramount in fulfilling this role.
If students are missing the mark or additional ideas need to be explored, the e-moderator offers their ideas to help students get back on track.
E-moderators set the agenda, establish netiquette, set-up norms and rules, to included the expectations for frequency of participation, minimal number of postings and the proper use of language (Hung, et al, 2005)
E-moderators provide feedback and grade student work based on criteria provided in the lessons and in the course syllabus. This is a means to provide the student with the validation of their work and learning accomplishment.
E-moderators want to provide learners with the opportunity to improve the quality of their work whenever possible. This is a learning process.
E-moderators are concerned providing relevant and engaging content that will provide learners with the opportunity for engagement and the production (synthesis) of new knowledge.
E-moderators can be considered cybrarians or topical experts (White, 2004)
These resources are very instrumental in providing the focus for the learning dialog and exchange of ideas based on individual interpretation.
E-moderators are concerned with making or helping make technological choices that improve the environment available to learners (Salmon, 2001).
E-moderators may need to demonstrate how to use online discussion forums and basic functions (Wang, 2007)
Facilitators may create warm-up forums to give participants a chance to practice to that they feel comfortable with the technology (Berge, 1995)
1. Personal Learning Network (PLN)
E-moderators need to be able to read between the lines. Word choice, being careful with humor and sensitivity are all important issues to consider.
How? Show you are really listening to your online students by picking up on points made earlier (perhaps weeks earlier) as well as choosing written words carefully to engage in true dialogue and create a comfortable learning environment (Hockley, 2014)
No one want to learn anything from uninterested or unmotivated teachers. An inspired teacher produces inspired learners. (Hockley, 2014)
How? To maintain enthusiasm for your online work ensure that you have enough time to devote to your online students, and that there is enough variety in your work to keep you engaged. And of course, experiment, learn through and reflect on your own teaching. When you keep on learning and refresh your own personal learning, creativity and inspiration will come.
5. Develop Discussions
E-moderators have the ability to explore ideas, develop arguments and promoting valuable threads. Learner interactions and dialog as well as original posts produce great results.
How? Read and write carefully, and ask good questions. This can help to make forum discussions more engaging. There is room in any online course for simple forum posts, but it’s much more engaging to read and post in a thread. (Hockley, 2014)
It’s important to know how much support to provide - when to intervene and when to hold back. You want to ensure you provide a challenge.
How? Experience, and trial and error are probably the only ways to learn this one. How much scaffolding to provide your learners will of course depend on the online group too, as well as the subject matter – e.g. how much the group already knows about it. (Hockley, 2014)
You want to put the shoe on the other foot. It is important to view the e-learning process from the perspective of the participant when developing and moderating activities. (Hockley, 2014)
How? You can demo the course you created or take some online courses in your field of interest or any subject you might want to explore. You can find out what works and what needs improvement as far as making the course a worthwhile learning experience.
E-moderators need to know their audience. Being sensitive to learners enables the moderator to respond to and make the most of different learning styles and cultural differences.
How? Do a little research on the learning cultures and learning styles of your online students, either before or at the start of the course. This can be accomplished in a warm-up activity with student introductions.
Students can also complete an open-ended questionnaire about their expectations of online learning and your course. (Hockley, 2014)
One of the most important e-moderating skill is showing up; it is about being there but not dominating the online environment. It is not about you providing your expert knowledge, rather is it allowing students to explore and learn together.
How? It’s not just about providing feedback but involves the skill of knowing when to step in to direct as well as stepping back to allow greater peer-interaction without disappearing. (Hockley 2014)
Hockly, Nicky. "Tools, tips, techniques and tweets for online moderators…." Top Ten Moderator Skills. E-Moderator Station, 6 Jan. 2010. Web. 18 June 2014. <http://www.emoderationskills.com/?p=66>.
Salmon, Gilly . "Learners Together - Home - Who wants to be an e-moderator?." Learners Together - Home - Who wants to be an e-moderator?. Ngee Ann Polytechnic, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 20 June 2014. <http://www.learnerstogether.net/home/2007/2/10/who-wants-to-be-an-e-moderator.html>.
Wang, Qiyun. "Student-facilitators' roles in moderating online discussions." British Journal of Educational Technology 39.5 (2008): 859-874. Print.
Oftentimes, online courses may lack the social element of a face-to-face class. It's important to build a learning community by building an initial socializing stage with specifically social tasks in an on-line course.
What other ways can e-moderators do to ensure that groups gel and continue to work well together?
How? Keep fueling the social aspects of the course through cafe postings or sharing photos. Not too much, not too little. You can try a friendly Monday a.m. post. Synchronous video sessions add to the social aspect of the course. Students can meet up in 3D virtual worlds such as Second Life can also greatly enhance the sense of social presence on an online course. (Hockely, 2014)
An on-line course has its own life cycle - a beginning, middle and end. It's important to be aware of each of these stages and make a conscience effort to cater to each of them.
How? At the beginning of the course, make sure to create a warm atmosphere. For the middle continue to encourage and scaffold so participants learn as much as they can. At the end of your course let participants feel a sense of achievement and closure. This is also a great opportunity to receive feedback for the course and the e-moderator from students. (Hockley, 2014)
E-moderators need to stay up-to-date and in regards to their professional growth. It's important not to get bogged down with day-to-day tasks that you neglect your own longer-term professional development. Developing an effective PLN can help e-moderators with this skill.
How? If you don’t already use Twitter, Linkedin or other professional sites. You can also subscribe and keep up to date with blogs written by professionals in your area of interests (Hockley, 2014)
The skills required for successful e-moderation support the many roles of a competent e-moderator.
The e-moderators job is essentially like that of a learning "Tour Guide" and all the participants are allowed to explore the different aspects of the "Learning Space" they are visiting. Everyone has a great visit and will have some facinating stories to tell about what they have seen and experienced.