Monday, 27 October 2008

Reminder needed: Online Facilitators Role?

  1. Extracts from online Article: Facilitating and Hosting a Virtual Community
    Nancy WhiteLast edited 4/03/04

    1. “The core of facilitation and hosting is to serve the group and assist it in reaching its goals or purpose
    2. "Communities are organic in nature and site owners can't make them successful or force them to grow. As site owner can only provide the fertile ground on which a community may grow, and then provide some gentle guidance to help the group thrive. Much of the challenge in fostering an online community is social, rather than technical."
    3. “Facilitators foster member interaction, provide stimulating material for conversations, keep the space cleaned up and help hold the members accountable to the stated community guidelines, rules or norms. They pass on community history and rituals”
    4. “Facilitators use their group facilitation skills to enable the group to meet it's goals. This involves a group of processes which include:
    - Entry and engagement processes which help members become active participants
    - Supporting sociability, relationship and trust building
    - Constructing, adapting and modeling norms, agreements and accountability
    - Support discussion and dialog (foster communication)
    - Support divergent, convergent and task-oriented group processes (help get work done)
    -Anticipate and work with conflict and abrasion to both allow emergence of new ideas and protect people from harassment
    -Work with full understanding of diversity in learning style, culture and personal styles
    - Understand and make visible group participation cycles and "rituals" in the online environment.
    - Summarize, harvest, weave and support appropriate content and connections “
    5. “The social host helps create an environment where the members feel comfortable to participate. Part conversationalist, part counselor, part role model and sometimes even part bouncer. They are also usually part of the conversation.
    Applications include:
    - social, conversational communities
    - helping entrants feel "at home" and acclimated in work groups and communities of practice
    - customer service
    Key skills include:
    - greeter
    - social skills
    - conversation stimulator (content, style, process)
    - sometimes utilizes a persona or a "character."
    - conflict resolution (particularly in open, public online communities)”
    6. “Facilitators are the most emulated members of a group -- no matter if they are modeling positive or negative behaviors. They are often the first members to be challenged. Integrity, patience, a good sense of humor and a love of other people will be valued in any host. And as virtual communitarian Howard Rheingold so aptly wrote, "One point of heart is worth ten points of intellect."

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