As an online facilitator, there is also work to be done offline!
When encouraging people to come into an online community, it can be useful to supply them with a list of tips. Here is an example of what has worked well for me:
Some tips for making the most of belonging to an online community
1. Upload your photo
Upload your photo – it’s more personal and friendly, and helps to build a sense of community.
2. Assume good intent
Text can be stark and it’s possible to misread someone if you can’t hear their tone of voice or see their facial expressions- as a rule, always assume good intent!
3. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes
Think about how others may read your posts – it is easy for humorous or ‘throw away’ comments to be misunderstood.
4. Show your mood
Use emoticons so people can get a sense of your tone.
5. Respond to posts
Respond constructively to other’s posts. Nobody wants to feel like they are being ignored.
6. Keep the conversation short
Most of the time, short posts are better because they are easier to read and respond to in conversations.
7. Frequent is fun
It works better if you log on often – e.g. ten minutes, three times a week is better and more fun than once a month for two hours.
8. It’s just a chat
Do you enjoy chatting with people over coffee? Think of the conversations in the online community as the same thing – being online allows us to continue these conversations.
9. Just be you
Be yourself – there is no right or wrong way of taking part – enjoy!
Gina Revill has worked the last three years as an Education for Enterprise (E4E) in-school facilitator across 18 schools in Canterbury and the West Coast. Her enterprising approach has enabled teachers to think outside the square, and bring fresh energy into their classrooms. Gina is an associate lecturer at Middlesex University in London, teaching postgraduate teacher professional development programmes.
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