Something new this summer … student facilitators

I’m doing my summer online course again – Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

Again, I’m having groups of students work online on a written project.  This year it’s a group research wiki on a topic in I/O Psych.

For each step of the assignment, I’m designating a student in each group as the facilitator.  All that the facilitators are responsible for are posting first and I feed them what they should post.

Here’s what I said to my Bb students:

Dear A- and O-,

I don’t know if you checked in Bb yet, but I’ve posted the first group project and I’ve made you the facilitator of your group.

 As a facilitator, I want you to facilitate and be the one who takes the initiative to post first. Giving someone this responsibility – even though it’s a small responsibility — helps the group get moving.

I’d suggest that you begin by asking (by making a post on the group’s discussion board) everyone in the group to post an introduction and then post some ideal times that they would like to meet.

If there is no ideal times which intersect, they you’ll need to suggest something more elaborate such as everyone posting all of the times when they could meet. If you can’t find an intersection then, let me know.

Thanks.

Best wishes,

Dr Ashton

The first part of the assignment was for the student to decide, on the discussion forum, when they could meet synchronously on Elluminate.  No one posted.  Three days later:

Dear A- and O-,

I’ve checked the forums.

I hope you’ve check the assignment on the group page — that will provide you with the background for what your group is doing this weekend and what I assigned you to facilitate.

I’ll be sending out an email to the whole class about checking the assignment and posting in the forum. That’s not your responsibility as facilitators, your responsibility initiate things.

Best wishes,

Dr Ashton

After this assignment was finished, I sent this email to the new set of facilitators:

Dear S- and A-,

I don’t know if you checked in Bb yet, but I’ve posted the next group project and I’ve made you the facilitator of your group.

As a facilitator, I want you to facilitate and be the one who take the initiative to post first. Giving someone this responsibility – even though it’s a small responsibility — helps the group get moving.

I’d suggest that you begin by asking (by making a post on the group’s discussion board) everyone in the group to post their understanding of the project and what are the steps to finish it.

I’ll be monitoring the forum and will help out if I think you need it. It you need help, let me know.

Best wishes,

Dr Ashton

I felt that this was good advice and a good first step because it’s the first step of most problem solving processes – discussing what is know about the problem.

The next section of the assignment marked the first time students had graded feedback on their work.  I sent this to the facilitators of the next section of the assignment:

Dear M- and A-,

You may wish to ask your group to look at my feedback from the outline and discuss it.

Best wishes,

Dr Ashton

I’ll discuss how it’s working out soon.

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About William Ashton

I'm an associate professor in the Behavioral Sciences Department and the Director of the York College Honors Program. I'm a social psychologist and currently my research project is in attribution theory, blame and sexual assault. I teach Social Psych, I/O Psych, Organizational Behavior and Research Methods.
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