ION | Illinois Online Network

Conferencing Strategies for Teaching at a Distance Discussion Questions

Question 10

What level of access should a student have to the facilitator? Why?

In online courses where critical thinking skills are emphasized and the synergy created by student participation is central to the learning experience, the facilitator should be expected to be online five to seven days a week. If developed properly, the facilitator should have the students communicating with each other within the second week of the course and with the entire class on a regular basis so that students will not expect to access the facilitator directly for all of their learning needs. The facilitator's role would be to pose questions and monitor discussions, providing feedback and additional information or resources as appropriate. This should be done on a daily basis to maintain the synergy within the Virtual Classroom. Finally, facilitators should avoid long lectures and step aside as often as possible to allow the students sufficient room to explore the course material on their own.

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