Monday, August 30, 2010

A strong example of health promotion using e-learning.

Found this slideshare from Cathy Moore which I find to be a strong example of health promotion using e-learning on Mattybees main blog .

I'm looking for more exampes of peopel doing amazing scalable Health Promotion 2.0

It has strong links with our FO2010 e-session week starting .

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What is online facilitation?

We were asked to summarise your learning so far in our blog.

This a bit late. I’ve had a hard time getting to this task with kids parties and political parties in our general election. We had a great result for my team, The Greens.

The most important learning for me so far has been that I have a clearer idea of what I need to learn and how to go about that learning.

What is online facilitation?

I’ve been into facilitation for a long time. I wrote a book back the early 1990s that had chapter on facilitation of meetings. Well before that I was doing workshops on meeting skills built around facilitation. I was also doing workshops on concepts of networking and net weaving way back in 1988.

My very first experiences of virtual facilitation was using a “bridge” to hold a teleconferences back in 1985 with people who where interested in forming a national Greens party. This was well before telephone companies offered this service. You needed to go to someone who had an expensive hi-tech device called a “bridge” that linked all the individual calls together.. We were lucky that a technology steward at one of the local universities pointed us towards this technology. I remember the bills for a hook up in of people in six capital cities were comparable to one airfare to Sydney from Brisbane.

Now going on teleconference is often a mundane experience. One to be endured. But I do recall the feelings of the new teleconference bridge. I recall the thrill of the new possibilities from a new technology. I feel that thrill about the Web 2.0 again.

I first started online facilitation in the early days of email. I participated and played a leading role in a swarm of public and a private email groups that debated the best way to form a national Greens Party in Australia.

We joke we got a black belt in cat herding from what we learned from that process.

Curiously, I have not used a lot of online facilitation skills, other than in teleconferences since I started working for Queensland Health.

So I guess I’ve done a lot of online facilitation and found and developed theories and concepts to help myself along.

I seem to have a wider conception of what online facilitation is than most in this course. Also seem to I want to put online facilitation of communities to a wider and more ambitious range of uses than most.

Some of my learning I will use in my professional life and others in my activist and volunteer in NGOs life.

Some of the things that I’m exploring with online facilitation include:

* Promoting social connection (social capital) between people in a geographical community
* Improving community governance and create more effective and responsive services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other newly emerged ethnic communities.
* A self help online community for carers and people experiencing chronic illness.
* Communities of Practice.
* Organising F2F events with social media for families of small children.
* Online advocacy campaigns using viral methods.
* Selling health promotions products, ideas or marketing health related behaviour change.
* Use of social media in planning, consultation and even research.
* Using social media o project development and management.

What skills do you need as an online facilitator?
You need a wide range of skills.
* Generic facilitation skills
* Keep learning
* Play.
* Adapt previous skill and knowledge.
* Understand the tools and help others with them
* Barriers facilitators and risks.
* The ability to plan an coherent session.

My mindmap set out long list of related skill that come in handy in online facilitation.

How does a facilitator build an online community or network?

You need to have suitable purpose/problem in mind. Online tools need to be appropriate to this.

You need to pick the right online tools for the purpose and context. This might mean not using the best but the best fit with the community.

You need enough people for the online community to reach a critical mass. There is no magic number but you do need readiness to use the online tools and to work on the focus problem. You will need a core group of champions.

You will need to be persistence and responsive. You need to Do it and keep doing it. If you strategies need to change, Recognise they need to change.

You need ask questions and listen. Social media is about two communication. Prepared to invest time and effort in doing this.

* You need to acknowledge people for their contribution.
* You need to keep people on topic. The topic might take its own course but as facilitator you need to wisely influence the process so that it get the results that are wanted/needed. (Needed by whom? Wanted by whom?)
* You need to summarise previous discussions and decisions and test for agreement about the main points to at least allow others to give their versions..
* You need to establish social norms via rules and customs and you need to police them. Light policing is probably better than nuclear options.
* You need to model a respectful tone and the norms and skills people need to participate in an effective online community..
* It helps to throw in interesting things into an online discussion and ask for comment.
* You need to be interactive not a broadcaster.
* It is important to use the old publicity skills. Call people, send emails ect, put up posters. What does it take to let people know and to get them interested?

What are the key things to remember when facilitating an event, meeting or education course, especially when working with people who are new to online technology?

* Remember and be prepared it can all turn to Custard.
* Attempt to understand the risks.
* Use the facilitators to over the barriers.
* Explain and help people over the barriers. Screenr is a good tool for this.
* It takes practice to master the tools.
* F2F skills and know need to be modified.

What is the difference between teaching and facilitation?
Teaching and facilitation are just words- contested words.

There is a lot ferment and research and theorising about what good educational practice means in a new online world.

Online tools create new pedagogical possibilities. Teaching is not what it was when I studies teaching at the ends of 1970s.

It is more participatory and learning is co-constructed, and situated. Learning is also becoming more flexible.

I feel it’s a case of change or become irrelevant. Consumer expectations have changed and we need to adapt our methods. The teacher as the expert has been undermined by move to technology. Learning has become more interactive, more responsive, and punters have many more choices.

Learners have needs and are demanding new methods. Web 2.0 has precipitated a powershift between teachers/schools and the consumers of their services.

I really enjoyed this wiki on new understanding about e-learning:

What is netiquette?

Netiquette is etiquette in the online world.

Like F2F etiquette, netiquette is a constant flux and is culturally constructed.

Netiquette has the same purpose as F2F etiquette. It si about putting people
at ease. When people are at ease they can learn and perform better. They can also enjoy more.

Netiquette like etiquette consists of rules and customs and social norms so people can cooperate achieve social goods they value.

Netiquette also arrises out the technical issues surrounding online tools.

One of the reasons you don’t hit reply all button to some emails is that it can bring down the email system.

Poor netiquette can waste peoples time, and hog shared resources. Sending big files as attachments can clog up someone system.

There is also tendency to be crueller online than people are face to face. I think this might be related to the perceived lack of consequences There is a greater social distance and reduced empathy.

The lack of social cues can mean people take offence when none was intended.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Online facilitation as Building Social Capital

Social capital is a emerging concept. There are various definitions and understandings and no agreement as to what it is, how to measure it and how to change it. It seems to really important for health and many other social outcomes such a educational and social order outcomes but some troubling questions remain.

Social capital is not an easy idea to explain as it could be a course in and of itself. It is the subject of many Phds already.

Because of all this, it not clear what is the best way to improve social capital for those individuals and communities who have low social capital.

In short some people live in communities with rich social connections and a high degree of trust and social order. Such people and communities tend to get on and do well. They tend to be happy and healthy.

In communities with the opposite, people struggle and you have higher rates of illness, school failure and other nasty social problems such as crime.

But is all this causative or a just an association?

What caused what?

After all you don't have to go to uni to know that the wealthy healthy people move to the good neighbourhoods and the poor and sick get to live in the crappy parts of town in the crappy houses.

Also you can debate if social capital is something individuals have or something only communities have?

And can you build social capital from low to high and improve outcomes of concern?

Or to improve social capital do we need to reduce things like crime, improve wealth(financial capital) and education (Human capital), Health (Human capital) to improve social capital and if this is the case is there much point to the concept of social capital.

Social capital could be a trendy new term to talk about social issues without talking about tuff issues such as human rights, discrimination or economic inequality. Such tuff topics can question our own privilege and leave our own self serving bias untroubled.

Anyway we know that when people have social connections that feel good, tend to be healthier, engage in healthy behaviors, and they feel they can solve problems and give it a go and they can use their social connections to help them solve problems. Pretty significant stuff. Apple pie.

Similarly we know that if there is social order, people feel safe. They can feel in control and they can take risks. You can benefit from this risk taking. Even if you fail, social capital can buffer you from any lasting harm.

You also need to feel safe in order for the brain to be able to work effectively. Learning requires a trust and a feeling safety.

Feeling safe is related to people's perceptions, their experience and to norms and rules of a community.

We know some people have connections with many similar people (People who only have relationships with people of a similar background, eg same ethnic group, same education or age backgrounds).

This is called bonding social capital. This can be quite harmful or helpful depending on the dynamics. (I know I said that above that social capital was apple pie.)

Others have what is termed bridging social capital, links with dissimilar people. This is really useful for solving problems.

Think of a learning group when everyone has the same background vs a diverse group. People might be a little out of their comfort zone but the learning can be much more dynamic and deep.

The Nazi party made lots of bonding social capital for their in groups and excluded others. The Nazi were not big on bridging social capital, particularly across ethnic groups.

Ultimately the Nazi's lost the war as their social capital fell apart.

I hope you can see how building and shaping the dynamics of social capital is a core role of online facilitators.

When a leader in group can facilitate ways in which the group can can make collective decisions, the group can become alive. It has control and whole new dynamic emerge. The capacity of groups to engage in self governance is also a part of what makes up high social capital.

All questions welcome?

Google scholar throws up the main theories and key pubs very well.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Risks, Barriers, Facilitators & the way forward to Online Communities

This is a Mindmap that I made up reflecting my understanding of some the Risks, Barriers, Facilitators that I might be facing.

It also Mindmaps other considerations such a return on investment (ROI), project management and adapting a host of F2F skills to the new online world we find ourselves in.

You might need to save the image and open on image software on your computer to view all the detail.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Using Online Networks to promote social connectedness

In my work in health promotion, I am concerned about social isolation.

Other buzz words include social capital, social inclusion, social connectedness, and loneliness.

Every now and again one sees something that really underscores how much we can underestimate something we know is critically important.

Have a look at this new reserch. This table and this meta analysis on health impact of social isolation really was a surprise to me in the scale of the positive impacts.

A Scientific America magazine article on the research is also available.

In short, good interpersonal social networks are more crucial to physical health than exercising or a low BMI . Same goes for much of the other health messages out there. The table shows that social relationships are more influencial than smoking more than 15 cigerettes per day or drug treatment for hypertension.

To quote, "These findings indicate that the influence of social relationships on the risk of death are comparable with well-established risk factors for mortality such as smoking and alcohol consumption and exceed the influence of other risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity. "

The conclusion to me- in your work, being teaching or health care, or any other- Take account of social connection-it matters. Build social capital.

As for what I hope to learn out this F0201o, I wonder everyday, "How can we use tools like Facebook, Twitter and Ning to promote healthy social connections?"

I have found useful background on loneliness at the UKs Mental Health Foundation.

I'm worried about internet addiction, links between use of the internet and depression.

I'm excited by newer social networking tools such a Facebook.

Ideas and leads welcome?

I’d value a good question if you don’t have part of the answer.

And look after your social connections while doing this course.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Stocktaking my relationships

Yesterday, stimulated by this FO2010 course, I did my first professional relationships stock-take.

I’ve been based in Toowoomba for 5 years and been working in mental health promotion for over 13 years.

I’m also fairly introverted. I’m predisposed towards quality relationships over quantity of relationships.

Anyway, I seem to have around quality 200 professional relationships with people out there in human services and the education sector that are relevant to my current work directions.

By this term, I think they know my name, value me because my reputation and they would give freely of their time and resources to help me and my projects.

As I’m teaching my kids say: “I’m a lucky duck”.

The task before me is better link with these people via social media. To do this I'm having a good hard think about our relationships and F2F and e-connections.

Our Online Personal Brands and Reputations Undepine Our Success

Thanks to the fellow adventurers in learning doing F02010 for the discussion on the various blogs and twitter about branding and online identities.

Reflecting on what branding means for my work in health, I have been stimulated me to write this blog entry.

I think we all have a personal brand-whatever work we do-be it for profit or on not for profit. We all have reputations. I have a reputation. I hope my reputation is a good one.

The people like the people we work with think that some people are:

  • useful to know,

  • a conflict manager,

  • a problem solver,

  • concerned,

  • creative,

  • culturally sensitive,

  • determined,

  • genuine,

  • a good communicators,

  • helpful,

  • honest,

  • innovative,

  • insightful,

  • inspiring,

  • motivated,

  • reliable,

  • respectful,

  • up to date

  • and working on projects that are deserving of support.

The list goes on. You could make your own version of list for our profession.

If people thought that the three quarters of the above about a person concerned with health promotion, that person would have a lot of advantages in their work. They would are much more likely to be successful over the long run because people would want to help them and work with them.

They would recommend to others that it was worthwhile working with this this person.

People also think the opposite of this type of list about other people's reputations.

They think people might be:

  • a waste of time,

  • a conflict avoider,

  • a problem avoider,

  • unconcerned,

  • dull,

  • culturally insensitive,

  • wishy washy,

  • fake,

  • a poor communicator,

  • unhelpful,

  • untrustworthy,

  • a laggard,

  • lacking understanding,

  • unimaginative,

  • a time server,

  • unreliable,

  • insensitive,

  • out of date,

  • and only in it for themselves

People with such reputations would be much less likely to be successful over the long run because people would not go out of their way to help them and nor choose to work with them. They would issue warning about such people, not endorsements.

People think many other good and bad things about reputations, some is based on what is true and some of misunderstanding. Some is based on hurtful gossip. Some may even be based upon mistaken identity. (Have you seen how many people called Malcolm Lewis are out there on Google, Facebook, ect ect.?)

If you have a good reputation you get call backs, invitations, doors opened, help, people's time, the ‘heads up’. You get all sort of help and goodwill.

All this may make a big difference to whether you achieve you goals and realize your mission.

Valued relationships can be used by a person to create changes they choose and desire.

It seems that social media amplifies our reputations- good and bad. Social media and the internet more broadly can also bring up our past in ways that are problematic and sometimes in ways that are wonderful.

I’ve realized that if my work generates a bigger online presence then I need to be better able to manage these ups and downs.

Also I have realized that people don’t always understand that people change over long period of time. People don’t always understand that we are all do dumb things when teenagers. People don’t always understand the back story or the context of some fragment of information. We need to be careful arriving at judgements.

Social media also blurs the distinction between our personal lives and our professional lives. I read again and again with social media, there is need be authentic. Blogger Mike Volpe, cloundsouced the wisdom about online authenicity at his blog

The LA Times Social Media Guidelines advise, "Assume that your professional life and your personal life will merge online regardless of your care in separating them."

As we move more of our private, community and professional interactions online and use social media more, Can we can all expect this merger to occur?

We all know from experience that being authentic matters in our face to face work. Authenticity is how we build rapport and ultimately relationships.

We also have stories about ourselves and lives and our pasts.

Seems that people can now check back among long lost digital footprints to see if those stories gel. Beware the bull artists (Polite Version of Australian slag for liars.)

Seems in this new digital age and every changing economy, we all need to think about our personal brands and have strategies to manage them, particularly our online tracks and our privacy settings.

So try to do good, be ambitious but don’t over promise, be honest and when we make mistakes - deal with them, learn from them but don't try to cover them up. Fix them up if you can and move on. Say sorry. Make amends if possible.

We also need to be careful about how we handle the reputations of others. Seems we do this a bit to particularly on Facebook.

And somehow e-portfolios of our work and study fit in with all of this?

That is my current understanding/confusion about all of this?

What do others think?

Am I on a good track or heading off the rails?

What is a good brand in your field?

How does an e-portfolio fit with this?