Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Culmination

Today marks the end of this course. With my question ‘to sink or swim? The answer : (None of the above) to surf . In this course I have seen and was introduce to different software it is quite overwhelming at first but with the help of the star facilitator Sarah Stewart. I think I could say I survived.

These are some topic we discussed in the Unit Facilitation on line :

. What is an online community? As for me to make it simple, online community is a group of people with common interest, unity develop with that interest, through the use of ICT tools.

. Facilitating, moderating, or teaching

. Discussion forums

. Blog networks

. Virtual Worlds

. Social networking platforms

. Reflecting on the different kinds of online communities

. Facilitate an event for the course mini conference

. Evaluate the facilitation of an online event

Discussion forum

I felt a bit guilty of discussion forums, I am quite passive about this. I grew up in a culture where small children are not allowed to discuss things with adult. As I child I was ordered to listen. I think until now I still carry this culture. With this course, I should be able to exchange information with CoEds –to have a Collaborative learning with them. I admit that this is my waterloo. I usually shy away from discussion. I don’t want to post just to comment on that other participants just to say…I agree or I disagree…I wanted to add more information but I always lost a word or sometime I lost time…I may not be able to add to the discussion but there are lots of things I learned from other participants.

Of Second Life

To be honest,until now I could not get around my head using second life - a virtual world. I tried joining my second lifes' name is Ilecs Cooperfield. Just to change the avatar took me heaps of time. My children gathered all around me as they are attracted to animation. I was so frustrated using it while they wanted to try it out. My son pleaded to try my amazement with just a couple of minutes he went places traded ad really explored the virtual world. I should be sitting with my children and play on the second life this coming holiday.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Of Blogging

To blog or not to blog?

My first thought about blogging is that it is only for the good writers. But as I read several blogs in different cultures it seems that it does not apply any rule….Wrong grammar or wrong spelling it does not matter as long as you ‘voice’ out what you feel. At first site it looks like a diary or journal of what ever topic you want to write.

This is not my cup of tea, I thought. Why on earth should I shout to the world what I feel/think…who cares…I am a very private person…

Then comes the eLearning which compelled me to write a blog. Here I realized that Blogging is a good tool for education. It is an open notebook(traditional) to the world. My perspective was changed…big time.

In some seminar I joined it states that when I read some of the information of blogging, it would be wise if you make your own blog intellectual specifically for eportfolio. Which is a wise advice.

Like the traditional magazines blogs come in all sort of sizes and categories. It is used in different ways.

Reflections: An Evaluation for ePortfolio Mini Conference

I was so relieved when the mini conference I facilitated was over. There were no major technical glitches, it went smoothly. I am very much indebted to ‘THE’ Facilitator of this course Ms. Sarah Stewart for being so supportive. I was in the verge of giving up the course because It seems that I am overwhelmed with the information that I have to imbibe…I was drowning with information…but our wonderful facilitator pulled me from the flood of information and showed me not only to swim but she thought me how to surf…Isn’t that cool…I was able to surf in the wave of techno world….To you Sarah, my Heartfelt gratitude , hats off to you.

The secret of the success of the conference is highly attributed to the presenter/Speaker, Ms. Bronwyn Hegarty who is indeed an epitome of an educator. With her expertise Bronwyn shared her knowledge unselfishly. A self-made as she is, yet she unpretentiously work with a rooky like me in this mini conference…To Bronwyn…my respect and admiration to you.

The beginning...I was thinking of presenting and facilitating at the same time. My plan was to talk about Retrospect : Self Analysis. I thought of this dual role as I am New to this country and I haven’t met or known of a speaker/presenter yet. The dual role idea for the Mini Conference was turned down. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as she introduced me to Bronwyn who is working with Reflective Learning. Our main communication in organizing the mini conference is through email apart from call and text messages.

Blogging and emailing through the egroup was used as a tool for promotion. My worry was ‘’what if minimal participants are member of the egroup’’. I tried looking for participants email contacts in Wiki but only found SL. So I decided to look at the email attachment of some participants, I noticed some email address of the invites so I copied them as well, assuming that they are participants that are not member of the egroup. But that was my big mistake because those are personal invites of one of the participant. Again my apology...Any way I already sent my letter of explanation as she demanded. Never the less with these invites and updates the participants are properly guided on where and when the conference is.

I was coining an idea on how to welcome the attendees in the conference room [elluminate]. My original plan was to let everybody introduce themselves but I did not push through with it. (As when Bronwyn was uploading her presentation there were heaps of slides I thought she will use all of them). I wrote a welcome note in the whiteboard, I thought that this would make the participants welcome. I also put up technical advice to check audio. And the Mini Conference sailed smoothly...Alleluia...

Most people tell me “Don’’t be too hard on yourself”. So you will be a judge on how I faired as facilitator here is the link of the recording Reflections. Also here is a link on Bronwyns three step Reflective template...

To all the Participants....Cudos.....Thank you very much

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mini Conference

ePortfolio : 3 step reflective framework

Title: How can a three-step framework entice professionals to prepare
evidence for an electronic portfolio?
Date: 8:00 PM NZ time, Monday 30th November
Venue: Elluminate, Back-up skype user name :rosceli.valdrez
Guest Speaker: Bronwyn Hegarty
Description: Bronwyn will be sharing to us one of her master piece on her Doctorate paper.
The presentation will include:
· A description of the Three-step Reflective framework;
· Initial findings from my Doctorate research;
· Examples of how the framework is being used in my teaching and research.
Facilitator: Rosceli Valdrez ( or

Who is Bronwyn? Let me count the ways…
I googled her name and to my amazement 81,000 + in .28 seconds
You can read her profile on the following blogs just to name a few:
Bronwyn Hegarty - WikiEducator

Bronwyns Work

Background of the topic
What is ePortfolio? According to Wikipedia…
An electronic portfolio, also known as an e-portfolio or digital portfolio, is a collection of electronic evidence assembled and managed by a user, usually on the Web. Such electronic evidence may include inputted text, electronic files, images, multimedia, blog entries, and hyperlinks. E-portfolios are both demonstrations of the user's abilities and platforms for self-expression, and, if they are online, they can be maintained dynamically over time. Some e-portfolio applications permit varying degrees of audience access, so the same portfolio might be used for multiple purposes.
An e-portfolio can be seen as a type of learning record that provides actual evidence of achievement. Learning records are closely related to the Learning Plan, an emerging tool that is being used to manage learning by individuals, teams, communities of interest, and organizations. To the extent that a Personal Learning Environment captures and displays a learning record, it also might be understood to be an electronic portfolio.
Students have been taught to create digital identities using presentation software or tools to create web pages. Such technologies, however, are not easily utilized by children or elderly people who lack web authoring skills or a hosted site. More recently the use of virtual learning environments (VLEs) in schools and universities has led to an increased activity in the creation of e-portfolios for a variety of reasons. Most of these e-portfolios, however, are retained within the VLE and are not easily accessed outside the VLE. This results in problems of exporting data and related interoperability issues. An alternative approach is to use a system externally hosted to any institution. This permits transition through the various stages of education and employments and even into retirement.
E-portfolios, like traditional portfolios, can facilitate students' reflection on their own learning, leading to more awareness of learning strategies and needs. Results of a comparative research between paper based portfolios and electronic portfolios in the same setting, suggest use of an electronic portfolio leads to better learning outcomes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

To Sink or Swim...

Title: To Sink or Swim...

The Idea is to have an informal discussion that revolves around sharing stories or advice to Rosceli on how to survive the flood of an overwhelming flash information about eLearning with her jurasic laptop.


Rosceli is new to eLearning. At the start of her new found career. She was excited to commit to her studies, but as the course goes on she is beleaguered with information that flows to her email and other resources. She tried to imbibe some of the information…heaps of information that almost drown her. She tried to have a hands-on experience to the new programs to her old laptop but it seems that her hardware is not ready for the high-tech information. As time goes on more and more information and knowledge must be ingested. Now Rosceli is overwhelmed and she does not know what to do. As part of the community, Please try to give her a helping hand. Sharing your experience as a learner will give Rosceli an Idea on how to survive. The story you share will some how coach her how to swim in the flood of never ending stream of information. SOS……Please… join the informal Mini conference…and help Rosceli to survive….

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

An example of an online forum

Members of this forum are Migrant of New Zealand specifically of Auckland from the Philippines.
One of the Philippine culture is group oriented which is called Bayanihan. Its literal meaning is countrymen working hand in hand. No matter how heavy the load is, if everyone work together to lift it up it is much lighter. Leaving the country you were born is appalling, struggling your way to settle on a foreign country is abysmal. With this forum it alleviates the pain of homesickness. The member will not feel like a lost sheep but a part of a herd. This is an example of online community with a social aspect.

The group started 3 years ago with a humble half a dozen of member and a moderator as the yahoo groups system requires. Now it has a whopping 1217 members. The group sometimes decide to have a physical get together. As I gathered from my interview the group needs a good facilitator. To handle the events specially during gathering as well as online discussion. Content questions from the community should be reflected back to the community to have them find their own answers.Schedule the session when as many community members can be present as possible. Verify that the meeting room has a flipchart with sufficient paper and markers. A PC, projector, and screen may also be needed for some sessions.Contact all community members prior to the session ....etal.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Teaching, Facilitating and Moderating

To begin with I sought the help of Uncle Webster to help me define these three words.
Teacher: one that teaches; especially : one whose occupation is to instruct
Teaches: to show, instruct
Instruct: 1 : to give knowledge to : teach, train2 : to provide with authoritative information or advice 3 : to give an order or command to : direct

Facilitator: one that facilitates; especially : one that helps to bring about an outcome (as learning, productivity, or communication) by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, guidance, or supervision
Facilitates: to make easier : help bring about

Moderator: 1 : one who arbitrates : mediator2 : one who presides over an assembly, meeting, or discussion: as a : the presiding officer of a Presbyterian governing body b : the nonpartisan presiding officer of a town meeting c : the chairman of a discussion group
Arbitrates: 1 archaic : decide, determine2 : to act as arbiter upon3 : to submit or refer for decision to an arbiter
Mediator: 1 : one that mediates; especially : one that mediates between parties at variance2 : a mediating agent in a physical, chemical, or biological process
mediate: acting through an intervening agency : exhibiting indirect causation, connection, or relation

The definition of these word by Uncle Webster seems is very to traditional learning, so I sought the help of Auntie Wikipedia to shade me lights on these words thru the retrospect of innovative learning.

In education, a teacher is a person who educates others. A teacher who educates an individual student may also be described as a personal tutor. The role of teacher is often formal and ongoing, carried out by way of occupation or profession at a school or other place of formal education. In many countries, a person wishing to become a teacher at state-funded schools must first obtain professional qualifications or credentials from a university or college. These professional qualifications may include the study of pedagogy, the science of teaching. Teachers may use a lesson plan to facilitate student learning, providing a course of study which covers a standardized curriculum. A teacher's role may vary between cultures. Teachers teach literacy and numeracy, or some of the other school subjects. Other teachers may provide instruction in craftsmanship or vocational training, the Arts, religion or spirituality, civics, community roles, or life skills. In some countries, formal education can take place through home schooling.
Informal learning may be assisted by a teacher occupying a transient or ongoing role, such as a parent or sibling or within a family, or by anyone with knowledge or skills in the wider community setting.
There are a variety of definitions for facilitator:
"An individual who enables groups and organizations to work more effectively; to collaborate and achieve synergy. She or he is a 'content neutral' party who by not taking sides or expressing or advocating a point of view during the meeting, can advocate for fair, open, and inclusive procedures to accomplish the group's work" - Doyle[1]
"One who contributes structure and process to interactions so groups are able to function effectively and make high-quality decisions. A helper and enabler whose goal is to support others as they achieve exceptional performance" - Bens[2]
"The facilitator's job is to support everyone to do their best thinking. To do this, the facilitator encourages full participation, promotes mutual understanding and cultivates shared responsibility. By supporting everyone to do their best thinking, a facilitator enables group members to search for inclusive solutions and build sustainable agreements" - Kaner[3]
^ Michael Doyle, quoted in Kaner, et al., 2007, p. xiii.
^ Bens, 2000, p. 5.
^ Sam Kaner and colleagues (2007) p. 32.
Forum moderator, a person given special powers to enforce the rules on an Internet forum or newsgroup



The role of the Moderator

The moderator role requires an active presence in the conference. Ideally as moderator you would check / monitor the activity in your conference several times a day.
The role of the moderator is to set the tone of the conference so that it is a place that feels welcoming.
The moderator needs to state clearly what the conference is for, keep the group focussed on this, whilst encouraging the hesitant to participate and keeping a check on the more enthusiastic contributors.
The following are the general roles and responsibilities of a moderator:
· have a clear understanding of what the conference is for and make sure everyone know what the objectives are
· be flexible
· Encourage participation
· talk to, rather than at learners
· acknowledge and welcome everyone, especially lurkers and latecomers
· respond quickly to people's first contributions
· provide and create opportunities for introductions
· reinforce good manners, and make sure you informally encourage good spelling and grammar
· handle poor netiquette privately and as soon as possible
· refer to learners by name
· invite responses from participants to express how they feel about the conference
· pace the conference, and make sure learners are aware of the time plan
· be clear about when conferences end
· Provide swift feedback

Facilitator Roles & Responsibilities
These are the general roles and responsibilities for the session facilitator:
As a session facilitator you are responsible for the process, not necessarily the content. Your overall objective is to accomplish the learning objectives for the session. This is accomplished through the use of the questions and other material contained in the learning plan for the session you are facilitating. Content questions from the community should be reflected back to the community to have them find their own answers. This is consistent with the peer-learning process being utilized. Recognize that facilitation, like any other skill, takes practice. We are all learners in this process. Seek support from others, and offer them support when they serve as group facilitators.
Review the learning plan associated with the session you are to facilitate. Pay particular attention to the learning objectives and organization of the group session. Determine if there are any areas where clarification is required.
Schedule the session when as many community members can be present as possible. Verify that the meeting room has a flipchart with sufficient paper and markers. A PC, projector, and screen may also be needed for some sessions.
Contact all community members prior to the session to verify they understand and are working toward completing the pre-session assignment.
Make sure that all new members or guests are introduced. This would be a good time for everyone to do a round of introductions. This process also needs to be repeated a number of times for new groups, until relationships begin to form.
As part of the opening introductions or as a stand alone icebreaker, pose a Question of the Day. The purpose is to focus everyone's attention while creating a relaxed environment.
Facilitate the session using the learning plan and other necessary material. It is recommended that you read Meeting Management to gain some understanding of this role.
After the session, follow up with all community members to verify they understand and are working toward completing the post-session assignment.
If there is a change of facilitators, assist the next facilitator in making a seamless transition. Offer suggestions that would benefit the next facilitator.

Teachers Roles & Responsibilities
The teacher's role is somewhat more complicated. There are several elements of responsibility that the teacher owes the students. One is in technical areas. The instructor is responsible for all the technical elements of the course design. If a student cannot download a particular graphic that the teacher has designed for a unit topic, then the instructor must be available within a timely manner (usually via email) to assist the student in diagnosing the problem and/or giving proper and specific instructions for the download and viewing. A further responsibility of the teacher is to make sure that the technical elements of the course design are not too advanced for the students' currently available technology. If students are using older computers and 56K modems, then it does the teacher no good at all to design complicated graphics (for example streaming video) that students will not be able to download and/or view. In essence, it is the teacher's responsibility to match the course design technology with the students' technical capabilities.
Another area of responsibility for the teacher is in management of the online class. This involves planning and organization tasks very similar to that of traditional f2f teaching. The course objectives, syllabus, assignments, grading policies, rules and expectations, as well as managing the text-based interaction among the students. This is not so different from the f2f classroom in the type of planning and organization that are required before the course ever begins. Lesson planning in an online class differs significantly however. Planning by the day or week is not good practice in an online class; all planning and organization must be completed and placed in the online format well before the first day of class.
Another area of responsibility in the online classroom is the instructional element of teaching. Experienced teachers use many different strategies to encourage learning through the development of different learning styles in everyday teaching/learning. There are additional strategies and skills involved in teaching online. One of the biggest challenges in making the transition from traditional to online teaching is learning new skills that are necessary for facilitating learning in a text-based environment. Those of us here at have an advantage in that we are skilled in computer-mediated communication through our use of the chatboards, chatrooms, and various meetings and conferences. I would strongly suggest that anyone considering online teaching make use of the wonderful resources here to hone CMC skills in moderating both synchronous and asynchronous learning environments. Having the opportunity to moderate and conduct online meetings here at gave me some valuable skills that I have continued to improve upon with each online class I teach.
The final responsibility that belongs to the online teacher is one that we use in traditional classrooms as well. Online teachers are responsible for the social interactions among students in an online class. Just as we do in a f2f classroom, we need to make the online learning environment friendly and inviting. Online teachers need to encourage interaction, group cohesiveness, and communication among students and between student and teacher. There are so many kinds of interaction in an online class, between student and student, student and group, student and teacher and all of this communication takes place in a text-based medium. This will be new for many students and a teacher skilled in facilitating online communication and interaction is invaluable in the online classroom.

Is there a distict dividing line between Teacher, Facilitator and Moderator.
As I read browse on the different roles of the 3 functions the more I got confused….it seems that the function overlaps with each other…
Let me illustrate it with the following image:

Moderator overlaps with the function of Facilitator as in the case of synergy. Facilitator overlaps with the function of a teacher as both are responsible with the physical attribute
of the Class virtual or not. Teacher overlaps with the function of moderator as to communication both are responsible for the viscous flow of communication all the elements(Teacher, Facilitator,Moderator and learners).
The core of the matter is the Learner . All function or responsibilities is geared to the Learning of an individual.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Online Community


Let me get back to the definition of community .Traditionally a "community" has been defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location. The word is often used to refer to a group that is organized around common values and social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household1.
Since the advent of the Internet, the concept of community no longer has geographical limitations, as people can now virtually gather in an online community and share common interests regardless of physical location or geographical location.
Thus looking at the definition of a online community, virtual community or e-community is a group of people that primarily interact via communication media such as newsletters, telephone, email, internet social network service or instant messages rather than face to face, for social, professional, educational or other purposes2. If the mechanism is a computer network, it is called an online community. Virtual and online communities have also become a supplemental form of communication between people who know each other primarily in real life. Many means are used in social software separately or in combination, including text-based chatrooms and forums that use voice, video text or avatars.

A very good video by Dr. Michael Wesch will further enhance our understanding about Online Community the title of the presentation is “An anthropological introduction to YouTube”.
With regards to the presentation Dr. Michael Wesch from Kansas State University did for the Library of Congress on June 23rd 2008. It's an interesting anthropological analysis on the effect YouTube and social media is having on the way we connect, communicate and recognize ourselves today. To understand more on what his presentation is, I got think back and search for the meaning of anthropology. According to wikipedia “Anthropology” is the study of human beings, everywhere and throughout time.
“An anthropological introduction to YouTube” is where “traditional” academic research and the new media landscape intersect. It is the anthropological perspective and study of our generation’s fascination with YouTube2
He presented a New form of community with the Interesting phenomenon, a video clip of an ‘ordinary’ user is shared and evolves and revolves around the world. It evolves because other viewers remake it remixed it as Dr. Michael terms it - unpack the impact. Revolves because it passes from one user to another and before the original user know it he is suddenly a global phenomenon…by allowing people to communicate all over the world it creates a celebration of new type of community. Thus he suggest that we have to rethink a few things. I am moved by what he said about Anthropology of Youtube integrated media scape. Media is not a content. Media is not a tool of communication. Media mediate human relationship. When media change human then relationship change..thus rethink all of this things including ourselves.
With the question of Why YouTube ? The answer: YouTubes lost of community. You tube as a medium of community don’t have a particular audience which means a context collapse. User don’t know whom they are talking to…New forms is immerging place to place to Person to person.
Yet there is what we call cultural inversion which consist of two major parts:
1. Express: individualism, independence, commercialization
2. Value: community, relationships, authenticity
You tube come on with this.
Anonymity + Physical distance+ rare& ephemeral dialogue= hatred as public performance but it is also equal to freedom to experience humanity without fear or anxiety. You tube offers this possibility.
Media not distance connect us in different ways that can sometimes feels different but sometimes that distance allows us to connect more deeply then ever before and new forms of community create new forms of self-understanding.
1 - Wikipedia 2 - CC BY-NC-SA.

Another interesting talk about online community is from the video Groups and Networks of Stephen Downes 2006.

Stephen Downes tried to identify where online Learning belongs whether to Group or Networks. Most online learner enthusiast classifies it as group but he believes that it is a network. To further explain his points he draws a line between group and Network by characterizing them.

Groups have four major elements and they are as follows:
Closed… boundary between member or non members
Distributive… with leader or starter

While Networks four major elements are:
Based on the principle of diversity
Coordinated by autonomous
Openness contributing is open rather than close...It is bound to connects bridges
Connective- nature of information flow is connective

Thus to tie up his presentation to on-line learning….he regarded online learning as a network which is based in principle of diversity…Learning is done through asynchronous way as opposed to synchronous learning.
As for me to make it simple, online community is a group of people with common interest, unity develop with that interest, through the use of ICT tools.

Pictures form and,,

Monday, July 27, 2009

About Rosceli and eLearning

The Programme - Graduate Certificate in Applied eLearning is very timely as I am thinking of what to take to upskill my career.
I am Rosceli Valdrez, Facilitator of FreeB Community Computer Training assigned in Pukekohe. (A satellite Class of MIT)
eLearning is a total break through for a working mother like me as I could work, attend to my family and study at the same time.
eLearning is the next trend in learning and it is already paving the way with MIT distance learning course. With the proximity of Pukekohe to MIT campus, eLearning will be a gateway to more courses thus more students in the grass roots. This innovation would give a lot of contribution not only to MIT but to the rural area like Pukekohe... With the knowledge of elearning, facilitator will be more competent to their role. The knowledge will encourage facilitator to contribute innovation and creativity within the work area.
It has been my passion to learn about eLearning. As a matter of fact It has been part of my Masteral study abroad but was not able to push through with it because I migrated here in New Zealand.