Tools / Software

List of tools used by facilitators in online consulting, learning and facilitation contexts.

BlackboardLearning management system
ConceptsDrawing / sketching
FreemindMind maps
Google DriveShared documents
GraphvizGraph drawing
Kahoot!Gamification / engagement
LinkedIn pagesProfessional / engagementhttps//
MiroOnline workshops
MoodleLearning management system
MuralOnline workshops
Office OnlineShared documents
PadletData collection / Collaboration
Power BiData visualisation
TeamsVideo conferencing
WBO Collaborative WhiteboardOnline multiuser whiteboard
ZoomVideo conferencing

Common issues with online facilitation and suggested fixes

Issues / observationsFixes / improvements
Lack of knowledge on toolsClear structure for the workshop, use of initial exercises / games / engagement activities at the start to build confidence. Particularly relevant for more complex environments such as Miro or Mural.
Cameras off, speaking to a blank screenRecognise cultural and national differences and levels of comfort with engaging / debating, and level of education and expectations of participating, e.g. Undergraduates vs mature / post-graduate students. Setting out expectations / norms at the start.
Improving engagementUse of voting / quizzes using padlet/mentimeter/Kahoot! To get participants interacting with the ideas.
System fatigue, unable to run sessions for the same amount of time as face to faceConsensus that around 2 hours is the most for an online session and it gets tiring beyond that.
Technology choicesWide range of choices available but limited by technology (e.g availability of iPads) or policy limitations, e.g. Use of approved software only. In this case, adapt usage to use Microsoft Word templates with copy / paste, share pictures taken with a smartphone to a shared space. Can create approaches that don’t require the use of specific apps such as Miro or Mural.
Use of parallel channels by students / participantsRecognise that participants may use other communication channels such as Slack, Discord, LinkedIn or messaging apps to communicate during or after sessions.
Lack of attention / disengage, checking emails or reading other material instead of focusing on the workshop.Use engagement techniques (voting/ polls) to capture attention, get people talking / interacting.
Large group sessionsUse video conferencing tools with breakout rooms, allow sufficient time for engagement and discussion, followed by feedback to the larger group.
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