Resources recommended by participants in Moderate and Facilitate Online (MFO)


Lyn Ambrose: Learning Online Facilitation Online

Paper presented at the Moving Online II conference, September 2001
This paper has as a starting point Gilly Salmon's five-step model.  Lyn Ambrose goes on to explore the use of 'voice', 'tone' and 'critical thinking strategy'.
I found this paper very useful as an analytical tool in reflecting upon my own online communications.
Visit the site to see other papers presented at the conference, including a paper by Ron Oliver on the changing role of the lecturer in Online Learning.

A site which I found while browsing through the flexways site was

It has various chapters of information on topics such as Teaching, facilitating and mentoring online; designing an online course; applying instructional design ideas etc. I haven't had a great deal of time to investigate the site yet, but from what I can tell, it takes you step by step through each chapter and gives clear instructions and ideas for you to work with.

(submitted by Chantelle Smalbil)


Here is an interesting place to go to learn about practical steps to
facilitate online
. I'd like people comments on this one as it is very
I found a great jumping off point for some of the research done on online
. Check these two sites out...they are linked together and
there is lots of interesting leads to follow.

There are definitions, tools and new ideas, like e-coaching...hmmmm!

(submitted by Janet Simpson)

A page for online volunteer moderators and facilitators:
Looks like some of the links will be of use to us.
Online Facilitation,Moderation & E-Learning
This section contains information on online facilitation, links to other resources, books to read, advice on e-facilitation and information about the growing trend to online learning programmes.

(submitted by Ros Gill)
This is a pretty basic-looking resource which is a collection of links to other resources.

(submitted by Doug Cooke)

How to Succeed as an Online Facilitator Author: Audrey Choden Published on: August 8, 2000 An easy to read article that reports what experts are saying about online facilitation under the headings of :
  • Role of the online facilitator
  • Facilitator qualities and competencies
  • Online facilitation strategies

(submitted by Anthea Duthie)

This online resource has developed by Iowa State University and belongs to their educational Technology Brown Bag Lunch Series. Most of the tips refer to WebCT but are easily transferable to Blackboard and other Learning Management Systems. Don't be put off by the very simple presentation…dig deep and you will find many excellent resources regarding web design as well as pedagogy

(submitted by Catherine Pocknee)


About Adult/Continuing Education
From Kimeiko Hotta Dover, your Guide to Adult/Continuing Education
November 12, 2001
Vol. 2, #52 - ISSN: 1531-6491

Of special interest is the link to Peak Learning, a discussion on the latest findings about Adult Learning styles. You can receive regular Newsletters from this site, but beware of the plethora of banner advertising.


Fablusi (the World of Role Play Simulation) -

I have visited here many times and the resource I found most useful was the "Request a design template to create Role-play Simulation in teaching and learning".

When you request a design template you receive a substantial resource (23 pages) that guides you through the Learning Objectives, Scenario Planning, Storyboarding, Roles and Characters creation, communication structure and Assessment. For those of you into Game Playing, this one is worth looking at even if just for the Design Template.

Stephanie Burns gave a workshop in Adelaide early in 2001 (and 2002) during which she talked about her research regarding how to ensure successful outcomes for students studying online. One of the issues she discussed was how to engage students. I find her site very appealing [being a very visual learner!!]
Once in her office click on Stepanie's filing cabinet. This will take you to her newsletters. There are a couple of articles on Online Learning which I think are interesting.

(submitted by Ros Gill)

Terms of Engagement - Keeping Learners Online

This article by Jim Elsenheimer lists the elements that the author considers good 'terms of engagement'. It offers a convenient checklist of criteria that can be used to assess educational websites' level of engagement.

(submitted by Keven Cocks)




This one has me stunned. A complete "book" about e-tutoring. And it's good too.


Teaching and Learning Online; Ron Oliver Jan Herrington Edith Cowan University (ISBN 0-7298-0513-1 paper ISBN 0-7298-0513-X PDF) An excellent introduction to the area of online learning published in 2001. Subtitled: A beginners guide to e-learning and e-teaching in higher education Covers: Learning tasks, learning resources, learning supports, plus designs and strategies for design and development. Well worth buying as it is right up to date and the authors know their subject well

(submitted by Andrew Chambers)

Kwok Wing Lai at Otago University, Dunedin, NZ e-learning: Teaching and professional development with the internet (ISBN 1 877276 03 0) Wing has edited this and contains some very useful articles. His last one in 1999 was Net-working: Teaching, learning & professional development which also is very useful.

(submitted by Maureen Trebilcock)

"The Internet Manual for Teachers" - Tony Carrucan, Tony Crewe, Erica Matthews, Stephen Matthews Macmillan 1996, ISBN 0 7329 4185 7.

This book is aimed at teachers who wish to integrate internet technology into their deliveries. It is subdived into the following sections: *The Role of the Internet in Education (ie how it can advance delivery, its limitations, future potential etc) *Access- skills and knowhow (ie an overview of what the internet is, rights and responsibilities, aspects of good netiquette, email options, the WWW telnet etc). *Curriculum -strategies and resources (this section provides facilitators with ideas of how to use the internet for such things as collaborative learning, research, surveys etc).

I think the value of this book is that it not only provides facilitators with clear guidelines for what internet tools to apply with different learning strategies, but also provides practical examples illustrating how these strategies have been applied. A good book especially for those starting out.

(submitted by Ken Coles)


DEOS-L Distance Education Online Symposium This is a fabulous resource both as a mailing list and as an archive of the discussions on that list. The list is an academic list directly related to distance education. It's well worth a look:
Facilitator's Note: I heartily concur. Sometimes I think I have learnt more from DEOS than from any other source. I thoroughly recommend listservs as a superb and CURRENT method of personal professsional development.

(submitted by Andrew Chambers)


Chat Etiquette/Chat Protocol
There are some great leads here for using acronyms, polite chat and creating virtual conversation. It's a short paper (2 pages), easy to read and I found it very helpful.

(resource submitted by Anthony Waite)


Building Your Discussion Moderation Skills
This appears to be a US University site which has a focus on online teaching and learning. There are many different topics you can navigate around but I found this one to be particularly relevant to us at the moment. It looks at motivation, relationship, listening skills, genuine thoughtful involvement and group size. Again very short, one page, easy to read and most helpful.

(resource submitted by Anthony Waite)
This site looks at all stages of facilitating an effective discussion.

(resource submitted by Doug Cooke)
Title: Humanizing Online Discussions

Author: Americ Azevedo Date: Sept 2002
Short, sweet and to the point. Americ suggests that one way to be "human" online is to embrace the little slips and mistakes


I visited Found this very interesting and will try to summarise using a version of 'How to learn to host chats in Five steps'. I mentioned that this was a version because I am unfamiliar with some of the you will never be convinced this is me speaking!

Step 1 Read about it, what is a host, basic hosting concepts and actual observation of there's a concept!!
Step 2 Learn how to use the chat software...another fascinating idea! We are also advised that there are always technical that is a big one because I always seem to have a technical problem. I am running scared now team.
Step 3 Social issues ie practice specific strategies for dealing with disruptions etc.?
Step 4 Simulations - practice and take risks in controlled situations. I can cope with this one.
Step 5 Mentoring - practice in real life situation with cohost to provide coaching and feedback.



This looked really good. I visited There is a problem of course. I am note sure whether I am actually supposed to answer all the questions now to get information on the tool...or whether this is the tool. However I am assured that I will get lots of new ideas generated so something must happen. I will try it on another occasion and give you feedback. I have noticed that the user is required to enter information on their technical expertise. I am quite excited now as I can actually say yes to quite a few on the list. I really like the look of this.
Facilitator's note: It reads like a CV an online facilitator may use for applying for a job don't you think? In that sense it seems more like a self assessment tool.

(submittted by Pauline de Vries)


This site has some really great ideas on how to avoid conflict when communicating on line. It has tips to avoid misunderstangings What to do when conflict happens Some questions for facilitators It also gives a resource: Online interaction:Social Argument. The site is

(submitted by Suzie Macauley)


e-Learning Centre This looks to be a comprehensive e-Learning portal. There's lots of inforamtion about e-Learning, discussions, examples and information about conferences. Some areas are for subscribers only, but subscription is free.


The Virtual Learning Space (VLS) is an environment dedicated to learning about Communication & Information Technology (C&IT) via collaboration. I have been subscribing to the VLS newsletter for a couple of years. In that time they have organised a number of very interesting forums. In its current issue it invites participants to join a discussion on Facilitating online learning.

You can join the VLS at

(submitted by Dianne Robbie)

Computers and the Collaborative Experience of Learning Charles Crook Routledge, 1994 An oldie but a goodie. If you want to know what makes students do the things they do when it comes to online and computer based learning/collaboration this will cover a lot of territory especially relating to collaboration; with, in relation to, at, around and through computers.

(submitted by Andrew Chambers)


This resource can be used as a handout and can be the basis of a discussion regarding how to handle harassment on line. It can be found on

This is a US site and the agency they refer to only operates in the US and the legislation they refer to is US specific but the genral tips are applicable.

(submittted by Sandy Matz)


Bandler R. & Grinder J. 1979 Frogs into Princes (Moab, Utah, Real People's Press) I work with individual clients from a behavioural perspective, and I find the use of language significant, ie the words that people put out as speech often give clear indicators of their model of the world eg "I can't do it" may be reframed to "I choose not do do it" as an approach to offering a model in which the individual has more control, or power.

Bandler and Grinder also wrote The Structure of Magic l, and The Structure of Magic ll, which go into a more in-depth exploration of Neuro Linguistic Programming, but Frogs into Princes, gives a good introduction as the proceedings of a training workshop.

Is it relevant in web based learning…..I think it is , as language either in Chat, or in Discussion postings is always important.

(submitted by Christopher Kleinig)

This is an interesting article in which the writer suggests that forcing carefulness will actually be counterproductive in encouraging participation and free flowing conversation in an educational environment.

September 2001

The importance of writing badly

David Weinberger of Journal of Hyperlinked Organizations (JOHO) By David Weinberger

Elmore Leonard is my favorite summertime author, so I was quite interested in his instructions to writers in a recent article. Never use any verb other than "said" when your character speaks, Leonard advises us, and never modify "said" with an adverb of any sort. Skip the long descriptions. And get the dialogue right. Thus spake Leonard. But, it seems to me these are not rules about how to write but how to write like Elmore Leonard ... and, at the same time, how to write a parody of Elmore Leonard. A few days later I was talking with a business school professor with whom I see eye to eye on most issues. But, he finds the Internet intimidating exactly where I find it liberating: he feels inhibited about sending e-mail and posting messages because such writings have a long lifetime and thus need to be composed with the same care one would give to a journal article. No, I insisted, giving him my own version of Leonard's How to Write Good: Just dash the writings off, leave in the infelicities, and try to use a freakin' cuss word or two. Why? Precisely because all of that serves as metadata that tells the reader that she's reading quick Web jottings, not a carefully considered journal article. Obviously there are places on the Net where good writing counts and where formality is required. And, in every case, clarity of expression counts; there's a fellow on a mailing list I'm involved with who writes messages with a passion equaled only by his imprecision, so that it takes 10 follow-ups for anyone to figure out what he's talking about. "Interesting reflections," a typical response might go, "but were you talking about soy beans or empiricism?" So, of course we should write formally where required, and of course we should write clearly everywhere. But, feeling constrained to write well can impede a Net conversation as well as propel it. Slowing it down may make it more deliberative but it is more likely to make it moribund. More important, a carefully written, flawless posting can imply a fixity of meaning that shunts the conversation from potentially useful courses. Writing hastily, accepting the inevitability of flaws, results in messages that implicitly say that the writer is thinking on her feet, is open to contradiction, is excited about taking the ideas to new places. My business professor friend is correct in assuming that everything he writes on the Internet may be retrieved as part of his permanent record. But writing imperfectly will let future investigators know that these writings shouldn't be taken as fully formulated expressions of deeply held beliefs. The Net's great transformative power comes from its ability to connect us, but that power is thwarted if our every expression is--or even seems to be--fully formed. We need to see one another's inchoate ideas, the ideas that will turn out to be embarrassingly wrong. Writing them in the perfect prose of the journal article gives them a seriousness they don't deserve, like serving wieners on a silver platter. The informality conveyed by imperfect writing gives us the right metadata . . . and also frees the writer to be wrong in useful ways.

David Weinberger edits "The Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization", e-mail

site last updated 11/4/03