Guidelines for Facilitators

Introduction

This section contains some guidelines on the work of facilitators within the OpenMed course.

Given the active learning and decentralised approach of the course, facilitators are the cornerstones for the course to be successful, since even with the best content, without good facilitators learners will not be able to meaningfully complete their learning journey.

The OpenMed course is run through Local Learning Circles, established in all the participating universities. Each circle is coordinated by one or two Local Facilitators, who will be in charge of organising meetings, supporting learners, assessing activities.

Profile of the course learners

It is crucial for facilitators to know the expected profile of the learners of the OpenMed course. These are university educators (professors, lecturers) from any discipline, with the following required characteristics:

  • Basic ICT skills (use of computer, email, forum etc.)
  • Curiosity and willingness to learn about Open Education
  • Openness to re-think and question one’s educational practice
  • High engagement with individual and group learning activities
  • Open to constructive feedback, respectful to others
  • Willingness to work in intercultural context and awareness

Furthermore, the interaction with the facilitator is also a requirement for perspective learners, while the interaction with peers is highly encouraged but is not a strict requirement.

Profile of the facilitators

The requirements to be an OpenMed facilitator are all of the above plus:

  • Effective communication and interaction skills
  • Mastering the content and the methodology of the course
  • Good scheduler and time/task/activity manager
  • Encourager of discussion and keep the flame alive
  • Ability to provide coherent and significant assessment
  • Working command of the course platform (Sakai)
  • Open to ask for and get support and questions from-to the community
  • Sharing and-or mostly understanding the value of the open education vision

What is a facilitator supposed to do during the course?

Within the OpenMed course, facilitators are in charge of helping learners to achieve the course objectives (learner-centred approach).

If you are taking the initiative to facilitating the OpenMed OER Course, you should:

  • Organise a starting Workshop. At the beginning of the course, a starting workshop should be organised to make sure all is clear about the course and its schedule, to answer questions and to finalise project works plans, and to get together with your learners;
  • Support learners of your learning circle. During the online phase of the course, you shall support learners both in terms of course content (answering doubts and questions on the modules and on the activities) and processes (supporting timely delivery of activities, sending reminders etc.). Technical support (with the platform) will also be a task of the facilitators, with the support of UNIR;
  • Keep your learning circle alive and active. Posting updates, video and audio feed, answering comments and replies to comments, facilitating peer-learning and discussions among learners. You might also call for meetings (in person or virtually), and informal get togethers;
  • Keep the schedule of the learning circles. Follow up with deadlines, due dates and time-outs of each activity, quiz and assignment;
  • Formative assessment. Assess the activities delivered by the learners of your learning circle, ideally in no more than a week’s time;
  • Organise a closing Workshop. Ideally, a closing workshop should be organised to make sure all is clear about the course and its schedule, to answer questions and to finalise project works plans, and to celebrate learning;
  • Summative assessments. To evaluate the learning outcome of each participant at the end of the course, based on the OpenMed course rubric;
  • Write a final report about the course with results, obstacles encountered and the measures taken to address them, unexpected positive/negative outcomes, and recommendations for the future of the course.

Hints to support learners

The OpenMed facilitator is the cornerstone of the course. He/she is:

  • The person to help the learners to find the solutions to their problems;
  • A motivator, inspiring willingness to learn and curiosity;
  • A supporter to increase the level of awareness and critical reflection;
  • Both proactive and reactive (to give some room to the student to learn and choose and be proactive theirselves).

To be successful in their task, facilitators should note that:

  • High interaction with learners is recommended;
  • Each learning circle is a community of practice not a club of friends, where the main focus is competence achievement;
  • It is important to find alternative solutions for learners’ personal constraints;
  • He/se should be tracking personal context or situation of learners (no-show, low performance, etc.)