This Facilitators Guide to Learning4Content Workshops is a work in progress.
- 1 Preparing for the workshop
- 2 Preknowledge
- 3 Reading
- 4 Reflection
- 5 Web Resources
- 6 Web Resources
- 7 Web Resources
- 8 Web Resources
- 9 Running the workshop
Preparing for the workshop
Welcome to this Facilitator's Guide to L4C face-to-face workshops! There is also plenty of more general guidance on organising and facilitating a wider range of OER workshops. You can find it in the Guidelines for Face-to-face Facilitators.
This guide focuses specifically on the Learning4Content series of 3-day face-to-face workshops.
"Hello! I have written this guide after facilitating the first two L4C workshops, held in the Oceania region. I hope you can enjoy passing on WikiEducator skills to educationalists in your region as much as I have. Please don't hesitate to contact me via my Talk page if you want any advice." Principle author David Leeming
Before we start, it's worthwhile getting up to speed on the WikiEducator itself, and researching some past workshop reports:
Gauging interest and support
If you are organising the workshop in your own country, you can find information on organising pre-workshop logistics at this page: Organizing_pre-workshop_logistics_activities.
If you are coming from a different country to where the workshop will be held, this is usually a process between the Commonwealth of Learning and each member country's COL Focal Point representative. However, if you are included in the communications, it's fine to introduce yourself and help them to understand the benefits and requirements of the workshop.
Nomination of participants
The participants will be nominated by the COL Focal Point representative of the country concerned. It is important to consult with him/her to finalise the list or participants well in advance. It is important to know who the participants will be, what their background and needs are, their IT skills levels and so on.
Make-up of the group
Again, it is the prerogative of the country's COL Focal Point and education officials to select the group. However, it is worth explaining to them that the benefits of the workshop will be most effective with a mixed group from more than one organisation. This will encourage collaboration between organisations and widen the group's perspectives in workshop activities. If need be, additional workshops can be held to meet demand from large organsiations.
Creating a page for the workshop with the Participants List
Create a Wiki page for the workshop and add the participants' details as they become known. The page should link to the Face-to-Face Workshop Schedule for your region, as shown in the example below for Oceania. Note, the page can be linked to the words "Participants List" and the page address should follow the convention Learning4Content/Workshops/Face-to-Face_schedule/L4C3, substituting the appropriate workshop code for "L4C3".
|Workshop Dates||Registration||Status||Facilitator Names||Host Country||Notes|
|Feb 18-20, 2008||Completed||Solomon Islands 1||L4C1 Workshop|
|March 11-13, 2008||Accepting registrations||Completed||PNG 1||L4C3 Workshop|
You can now create a page with a table of participants similar to this:
|NO.||NAME||DESIGNATION||ORG.||EMAIL ADDRESS||Learning Content contribution from L4C3|
|1.||Mr. Rhyno Kaitu'u||Course Writer||ABC College of H.E.||email@example.com||(this is where you will link their L4C content contribution)|
The quickest way to create the page for the workshop is as follows:
- Create a new page linked to the Schedule and using the convention as described above;
- Go to a past workshop's page such as Learning4Content/Workshops/Face-to-Face_schedule/L4C3
- Open the page for editing at the tab top of page, select and copy the entire wiki code
- Open your new page of editing and paste in the L4C3 code
- Make edits as appropriate
Ensuring all Participants have valid email acounts
In order to create a WikiEducator account, it helps to have a valid email address. You will need to communicate to them in advance, and during the workshop will be joining them to email lists so that they can enjoy follow-up support to the workshops with their fellow L4C alumni. It will save valuable time for this to be all understood and arranged before the workshop.
It is quite common for the occasional typo to creep in during this process, so send an email of introduction early on, and this will help you to correct mistakes.
You can now enter their email addresses into the participants list on the workshop Wiki page.
For various reasons, including the wish to avoid "harvesting" by spammers, some people do not like to make their main email addresses available online. It is best to ask the participants their preferences. They may wish to use alternate addresses or even open free webmail accounts specifically for the purpose. If in doubt, wait until the workshop and discuss the issue with the group before publishing them in the table.
Learning contracts and registration
Send the Learning Contracts and Registration document to all the participants, perhaps via the COL Focal Point. Send the documents in both pdf and odt format, in case they do not have access to OpenOffice, they will at least be able to print the pdf files and complete by hand.
Explain to them the purpose of the documents.
The Learning Contract is explained here: Learning4Content/Learning_contract.
The Registration form allows the participants to think a little about the workshop beforehand, and to write down some information about themselves that they can use when creating their User Pages during the workshop.
Handouts and other workshop resources
Your participants will find it very useful to have a set of printed lesson notes at hand, during and after the workshop. Please make arrangements, and/or consult with the COL Focal Point to make sure they are all printed and copied for each participant. There are over 80 pages in total so this is a significant task with up to 20 participants.
If it is not possible to print the documents in full for everyone, provide the electronic copies (pdf format) for participants to print themselves, and try to have a few preprinted copies available to share.
As the facilitator, you should print your own copies and familiarise yourself with the contents.
Venue & facilities
Ideally you will need the following facilities
- Flip chart and pens
- Whiteboard and pens
- PC speakers (if not available, see if you can bring some with you)
- Flash drive loaded with all the workshop resources (see below)
- Digital camera (if you do not have one, ask if one might be made available at the workshop)
The host organisation will be responsible for providing lunch and refreshments. It's important to provide some breathing space and break the sessions for refreshment.
Information Technology issues
The venue must have facilities suitable for up to 20 participants, including a computer for each participant with Internet connection. In practice this means a broadband connection.
Any computers with an Internet browser will be sufficient. In many countries, UPS devices for each computer are strongly recommended to avoid losing the results of hard work when an unexpected power outage occurs. OpenOffice 2.3+ and Adobe Acrobat Reader will be useful, but can be installed when you arrive, just before the workshop if need be.
Think the unexpected
In one L4C workshop, the host organisation provided 20 brand new thin client computer terminals, that connected to the IT department's application server. It was not possible to install additional software without doing so through the IT department. Luckily, the standard applications proved sufficient.
The 20 computers plus the facilitator's own computer will all require Internet access. However, a shared 256kbps connection is more than sufficient; with care it can even be workable with a 128kbps connection.
If no Internet access is available, it is still possible to train people using a Wiki installed on a local server. However, the quality of the workshop will be very much reduced if it is not possible to share the experience of exploring the range of Wikis and open resources available online.
- The WikiEducator will work fine on all common browsers and operating systems.
- Java should be enabled in the browser to allow the rich text editor to be used.
- If possible, install OpenOffice 2.3+ on each computer in advance.
IT department access policies
Your venue may be a government department or an organisation with an access policy that is enforced through the use of user accounts and firewalls. It is important to contact the COL Focal Point or representative of the host organisation in advance to identify anything that needs to be configured by the IT department in advance.
If there is such an IT policy enforced, liaise with the IT department to make sure the following are configured:
- All participants have a current user account with Internet access privileges
- You have an account as facilitator of the workshop
- What the IT department's proxy and SMTP settings are, if any, so that you can configure your own computer on arrival without delay.
- The list of sites that you will be visiting during the workshop are not blocked by the firewall (see list below)
- If the participants are using webmail accounts, can the firewall policy be configured to temporarily allow these sites for the workshop.
You may plan to use your own laptop in the workshop, or to use one provided.
If you are using your own laptop, you can pre-configure it before the workshop.
It will help if you have everything easily at hand when you run the workshop.
- Have a folder, maybe on the desktop, with all your slide shows and resources in one place, arranged in sub-folders. This makes it easy to produce copies for people, or to transfer to another computer if needed, using a flash drive. If you are not bringing your own computer to the workshop, have all the resources on a flash drive or CD.
- Download both pdf and odt formats of resource documents (listed below)
- Run through your presentations for each session and lesson of the workshop, and bookmark all the websites you plan to use. This includes important pages of the WikiEducator, so that you don't have to search or type in URLs but can jump quickly to the desired page. This is easily done using Firefox's Bookmark menu. Create a bookmark folder for your workshop and save all the important sites in it. You can start with the suggestions in the "Web Resources" below.
- If you are not using your own computer - and even if you are, it is a good idea in case you have to transfer to another machine - you can quickly copy all the bookmarks to another computer using the MozBackup utility. Regardless of whether you are bringing your own computer, run MozBackup and backup your default Firefox profile and save it with your resource files.
- Install Open Office version 2.3 or higher (2.2. does not include the wiki export feature). If you are not using your computer, make sure you bring the install file on a flash drive or CD.
- You will have noted in the above, that Firefox is the most convenient browser to use. For this reason, download the latest version of the Firefox install file in case you have to switch computers.
Here is a list of WikiEducator pages and other web sites that you will use in the workshop and should bookmark in your browser for easy reference. You can add to this list - feel free to edit this page.
- Get made a manager
- Pre-join participants
Pre workshop checklist
- Run through agenda
- Run through introduction PowerPoint and slideshow
- Set up browser bookmarks (list)
- Arrange transport
- Internet access at hotel
- Visit venue
- Checklist on handouts etc
- Verify IT and facilities
- Test facilitator laptop with projector and Internet access
Running the workshop
- Customise to suit participants
- Aim for most of day 3 on contributions
- Aim to complete to Lesson