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CCE staff and partner reflections on our collaborative work to create schools where learning is engaging and rewarding, and every student is set up for success.

How to Facilitate a Virtual Text-Based Seminar

How to Facilitate a Virtual Text-Based Seminar

Text-based seminars in an in-person session can be powerful. Insights are shared from different perspectives and reflection allows for personal and group growth. Moving the venue to a virtual environment can be just as powerful, especially with embedded strategies for online facilitation which include careful pre-planning. We have a tool and some helpful tips to help you do just that.

Tips for Online Facilitation

1. Take some time at the beginning of the session to review basic functions of the platform. Mute, unmute, and chat features are probably the most important.

2. If you are facilitating, find a friend to help you keep track of the chat box. It’s hard to manage the conversation, technical needs and the chat box. That friend can be a student!

3. If it’s a larger group, more than 10, use the chat feature or another document for participants to write thoughts and answers.

4. If it’s a smaller group, create an order or process for participation. Sometimes we’ll have one standard order that rotates who starts first.The facilitator calls on folks when it’s their turn. Other times, we’ll ask participants to call on who will talk next. Participants can always pass if they want. Popcorning or speaking at will in virtual conversations generally doesn’t work. Ask participants to mute when it’s not their turn to speak.

5. Silence is ok. As a teacher, we are constantly assessing how our learners are reacting to information. We see it a lot on their faces and body language. Virtual environments don’t get us the same information. We have to think about howto get that information in other ways and accept the silence. A good tip for wait time, sing the alphabet in your head, if no one has spoken up it’s a good indicator folks are ready to move on.

6. Adjust protocol as it makes sense for your work. Maybe ask people to share the text reading, so one person doesn’t have to hold it all. Adjust journaling time. Always move question three to an asynchronous discussion.


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