Task 4.2.3. Managing and moderating the online learning environment
The 30 most important factors in managing and moderating the online learning environment in order of priority (the most important first)
1. Set clear objectives for the session.
2. Be prepared, well in advance.
3. Be objective.
4. Value participation.
5. Create a friendly, social environment.
6. Become familiar and proficient at the use of the technology – practice in advance.
7. Be prepared for technology failure – have a backup option (email, fax or telephone).
8. Prepare new students in advance and allow them to set the pace.
9. Provide an overview of timetable, procedures, expectations and decision-making norms where appropriate.
10. Encourage participants to introduce themselves.
11. Take note of students who don’t participate during the first session and contact them privately to determine why.
12. Enable students to experience the moderator role for themselves.
13. Create opportunities to sustain discussions and interactions.
14. Create a policy on communications.
15. Try different communication styles
16. Promote healthy and respectful social interactions.
17. Encourage participation through use of questions and probing.
18. Facilitate discussion – present conflicting opinions, or ask open-ended questions.
19. Ask a lot of questions, and review answers or comments providing summary comment.
20. Model appropriate online behaviour.
21. Model online intellectual discourse.
22. Contribute your own special knowledge in a collaborative fashion – don’t lecture.
23. Be responsive – remedy issues as they arise, help participants with information overload.
24. Make sure participants are comfortable with the system – hold practice sessions.
25. Build relevancy into the materials.
26. Recognize and deal with appropriate and inappropriate student input.
27. Accept ‘lurkers’, reluctant or timid students – help to draw them comfortably into discussion.
28. Don’t rely on offline materials – bring them into the online environment for discussion.
29. Be flexible in schedule to accommodate student direction, need and interest.
30. Maintain a non-authoritarian style.
LaBonte, Randy et al (2003) Moderating Tips for Synchronous Learning Using Virtual Classroom Technologies. Odyssey Learning Systems Inc. Retrieved from
http://odysseylearn.com/Resrce/text/e-Moderating%20tips.pdf [Available as an Eresource]