Facilitators planning

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Facilitation activities -- The first three days

The workshop is designed on the basis of the human need to try things before reading the instructions ;-) It is a supported learn-by-doing approach where instructions and activities are designed to help newbies explore the environment and get used to the navigation and how a wiki works. This can be a daunting experience for educators testing the wiki waters. Remember that for two-thirds of our new account holders -- WikiEducator is the first wiki account some of them have created (and we have the data to back this up :-). You can't learn to swim without getting your feet wet. We follow the approach suggested by "Art" Blakey, the American jazz percussionist -- "When you make a mistake, make it loud". Combine this with WikiEducators motto of "Just try it: Our community will support you" -- WE have a recipe for success! So if you see someone struggling -- which we can do in a wiki, do the neighbourly thing and help out. Next time, they will do the same for someone else.

As soon as possible: Add your introduction to the Introductions page

Day 1: In this workshop -- many participants are working ahead of schedule as not all of them are "Newbie". The main activity for day 1 is to try a wiki edit by introducing themselves (A lot easier with rich text editing than standard wiki text).

Our task as facilitators is to ensure that for every introduction posted -- there is at least one facilitator response to the welcome. Go to the Introductions page -- if you see an introduction without a response, feel free to add a welcome message -- ideally picking up on a point of interest mentioned in the intro. Remember to sign your comment :-). These do not need to participants in your "assigned" group.

Typically introductions come in over the first 3 to four days -- add the Introductions page to your Watchlist which will send an email alerting you to a new addition. If you happen to be awake and at your desk -- post a welcome response. Given that we are spread across multiple time zones -- we can almost achieve a 24/7 real time support service :-). Do what you feel is reasonable -- this is a large workshop cohort, one of our facilitators will jump in. We'll also have a community Kudos prize for the facilitator with the most edits during the course of the workshop -- should be fun.

Action -- Regularly visit the Introductions page (or use your watchlist for notifications) -- if you see a few introduction posts without a feedback message -- post one.

Day 2: This is also designed to be quite relaxed and give folk time to find their way around the wiki. Day 2 provides a little "theory" on what wikis are and how they work. We also encourage participants to contribute their ideas and thoughts on the quality of open authoring approaches. From experience in prior workshops, this discussion produces insightful reflections on the quality of education. The value of this activity is in sharing thoughts and ideas. We encourage facilitators to listen during this discussion -- rather than take any value position on the debate ( and believe me -- it can be hard sometimes!). Clarify any misconceptions related to technology and process -- but avoid taking a value position on this discussion ;-). WE are all on different points and phases of the "open" journey -- I suspect you will be pleasantly surprised by the contributions in this discussion -- fascinating -- it helps us model our focus and support during the ensuing days. I recognise that as experienced educators -- you know all about the "rules" of good facilitation -- nonetheless -- wiki's are very transparent, and if you want to really learn about democracy -- join a wiki!

(1) Continue to post responses to the Introductions
(2) If you haven't done so yet before -- skim through the course materials and links for Day 2. There is some good stuff here :-)
(3) Observe the Thoughts on quality discussion -- post clarifying points, and questions for further discussion. Avoid value judgements!

Day 3 is also pretty relaxed -- purposefully designed to give newcomers and those finding their way a little time to catch up. The activities today are to tweak personal user preferences to receive email notifications and an invitation to complete our newbie survey -- data which helps us profile the community and plan for the future. Personal intros will still be posted -- but the good news is that this will start tapering off. From a facilitation point of view -- the first three days can be busy, especially with everyone introducing themselves.

(1) Continue to post responses to the Introductions
BIG thanks for the coordinated team work so far :-) -- Our objective is to have a least one facilitator response for each personal introduction and we are doing extremely well in achieving this target.

Facilitation activities - Day 4

The first three days are designed to familiarise participants with the WikiEducator environment and community through a process of self discovery - -i.e. we have not specifically provided instruction on wiki editing skills. Day 4 is the first Day of instruction where we cover basic text formatting, lists, headings and subheadings. Participants will create a sandbox (a subpage from their user page) and the activity is semi-automated using an input box so as to avoid teaching the creation of subpages using wikitext. After Day 4, this will be at the end of business day Monday, September 26, participants will have covered the requirements for WikiApprentice Level 1 and it is possible to achieve their first certification. The discussion activity for Day 4 is to start thinking about a wiki project and participants are encouraged to sign the optional learning contract.


  1. Review the instructions and links for Day 4
  2. Continue to monitor the introductions page -- Some users who were not able to figure out how to post an edit through self-discovery will now be able to do this after Day 4's instruction.
  3. Add the discussion on ideas for a wiki project to your watchlist and provide advice, comments and suggestions for projects. Facilitators with a more intimate knowledge of community projects should add links to WikiEducator exemplars and similar projects to help generate ideas. Where possible -- try to encourage participants to "buddy up" with each other -- working together we achieve more than working alone. However, be sensitive to the fact that open collaborative work is a new concept for many participants and Newbies sometimes prefer to work alone while they gain confidence with the wiki model.
  4. Please note that we have changed the process for signing the optional learning contract. Previously we asked participants to print out the learning contract, sign the document and email the signed copies back to the facilitator. The method was cumbersome and did not take advantage of the wiki features. We now include a boiler plate text for the learning contract on the user page for the participant to sign using their wiki signature.
  5. Monitor user pages in your group -- if you see someone struggling, provide advice, support and direction under the "Feedback and notes from my WikiNeighbours" subheading. I have found it useful to link back to the relevant tutorial pages -- the tutorials provide detailed instructions and saves time when providing feedback. Please note that this workshop is based on the Rich Editor -- so please point users to the relevant Rich Text tutorials (and not the older tutorials based on standard wiki text).
  6. Monitor progress against the requirements for WikiApprentice Level 1. Participants must demonstrate bold, italics, numbered and bullet lists, headings and subheadings to qualify for this certification. These competencies should be demonstrated on the user page or sandbox. Don't forget to check the sandbox when certifying. (Facilitators will not be able to verify completion of the Newbie survey.) Any WikiEducator with a higher level certification than the one being awarded, can certify a lower level. The certification is done by completing adding the relevant wiki syntax in the Personal info box on the user page. You will see an attribute | WM= in the edit view contained within the {{Infobox_personal}} template. This stands for WikiMaster. If the user has demonstrated the required skills for this level, you insert a 1 and sign your user name (case sensitive without "[[ ]]"), for example | WM1=Mackiwg (Being WikiApprentice level 1 awarded by user Mackiwg). A level 2 Apprentice will be | WM2=Mackiwg and a WikiBuddy will be | WM3.2=Mackiwg for instance. Please monitor the outputs carefully -- it is not unusual for a user to complain when someone has been awarded the wrong certification. This is based on a "trust model" and being a wiki, we have a detailed record of all certifications awarded ;-). I suggest that the group co-ordinator does a check of the group at the end of your Monday or early Tuesday morning. There is a time lag because of the time zones -- but it usually works out fine.

Facilitation Activities - Day 5

Today participants focus on internal and external links and should add are least one internal and one external link on their user pages. Both links are a requirement for WikiApprentice Level 2 and today is one of the steps on the path to the next certification level. Today is less onerous than a full schedule on Monday and purposefully designed to give a little breathing space for participants and (facilitators) to catch up a little.


  • Do another run checking for WikiApprentice Level 1 certifications in your group.
  • Monitor progress on creating links among your group -- provide feedback if you see someone is struggling.

Facilitation Activities -- Day 6 and Day 7

For many participants, Day 6 is the most difficult session. This involves a double challenge -- uploading images to the server and grappling with the complexities of copyright. Please keep and eye on the new images upload. If you see an image which is obviously copyrighted or where the user omits to provide the relevant meta data and acknowledgements - -please delete the file with an appropriate message for the deletion. For example "Image metadata and attributions missing". In the majority of cases -- this are innocent mistakes due to ignorance on copyright. Where possible, leave a friendly note on the user page pointing out the reason for the deletion. WikiEducator does not support copyright violations and we do our best to model ethical practice and respect for copyright.


  • Wiki certifications: After Day 7 (your Thursday) -- please run a check for WikiApprentice Level 2 certifications. You should look for evidence of an internal and external link, use of a pipe (i.e. the display text for the link) and evidence of manipulating images (eg size and placement). Please note that there is an unresolved bug with the rich editor which does not consistently display captions properly -- so don't assess captions. The most common error with links is where users link to internal pages using the syntax for an external link. For example [1] -- which should be Learning4Content. Please remember to also check the user's sandbox when certifying. Skills demonstrated on the userpage and/or sandbox qualify for certification. Sometimes users delete the link from the userpage to their sandbox. In the main wiki menu on the left, there is a link in the toolbox section called "Subpages" -- this is a quick way to see if there is a sandbox linked to the relevant userpage.
  • Monitor the wiki discussions pages and respond to questions.

Facilitation Activities --- Day 9 and Day 10

The workshop is now winding down. BIG thank you again to all our facilitators. The activities for Day 9 and Day 10 do not require major facilitation interventions other than participating in the discussions and reflections on Day 10 (Final Day of the workshop).


  • Please do a final run -- on the close of your business day on Tuesday for certifications in your groups and award accordingly.

Questions thoughts and suggestions