An experienced classroom facilitator can see and hear, firsthand, how participants are behaving in a classroom. The student who shows contempt by bringing a romance novel to read. (Has happened to me!) The eager beaver working on an assignment for a different class. The tech addicts who are looking at their mobile devices every two minutes, even after you asked them to turn off their phones and pads. The extroverts who talks too much, dominating conversations and introverts who never say a word.

Online learning has its own set of challenges for both facilitators and learners. For newcomers on both sides of the virtual whiteboard, the lack of visual and verbal clues can be disconcerting. Even with a video interface, the student can feel disconnected from the facilitator and the rest of the class members, particularly if class interactions are asynchronous or if programming is recorded. And facilitators often are at a lost to know if participants are engaging or just going through the motions.

Topics include engaging with distance learners, why it is more time- intensive for facilitators, the importance of assignments, the curse of the non-supportive employer, helping students learn–not just whiz through the material with multiple clicks–and reaching out to the students who are silently struggling.

– Upgrade standards for facilitator and student participation.
– Be clear about class expectations and discard the “expediency/efficiency” mindset.
– Integrate short assignments into live classes, and push reading, writing, and research outside class time.
– Better communicate with employers and students about online class expectations.


Original broadcast April 29, 2020 

Biography ~ Pat Wagner
Pat Wagner has been a trainer and consultant for libraries since 1978 using e-mail, platforms, and now social media to serve clients across the United States (and the solar system) who she has never met face-to-face.. She presents at state and national library conferences as well as working with libraries of all types from Alaska to Florida. She has been a frequent visitor to Florida libraries and was a facilitator for the Sunshine State Library Leadership Institute for several years. Pat focuses on skills needed to support better productivity and workplace relationships, from personnel issues to strategic planning. She is known for her practical and good-humored programs.