We also need to acknowledge that an online course won't run itself despite lots of automated services. The human presence of the facilitator and peers is an essential ingredient in creating a conducive learning environment. Consider this quote from Ghirardini's chapter of facilitation (107).
She also identifies some obvious phases in the course when active facilitation will be crucial to the course's success. They can be summarised as:
Ghirardini identifies a 'Kick Off Event' and 'Pre-course Learning Activity' as good ways to start developing the 'Continual Presence'. What can we do before the course starts to ensure the facilitator will have a 'Continuous Presence'?
- Can we incorporate something into the course design?
- What events can we organise to allow regular facilitation to take place?