As a facilitator, it’s a bit more nuanced than just showing you're human. You'll probably also want learners to know about you and how you'll be able to help them. There may well be loads of other things you want to show about who you are. For us, we've decided to focus on how to show learners you’re passionate, credible and relatable.
We’ve got two easy ways to do that:
This article covers only profiles. Follow the link above to read about how to do this through introductions.
You can get to your profile in iQualify (from any page you're on) by selecting your initials or avatar in the top right of the screen.
See How to use facilitator bios to introduce yourself to your learners to see how to get there and how to edit. We'll focus on why you should do it, and what content you might put in it.
Why is a profile so important?
For many people learning is inherently social. And if you look at some of our well-known online communities (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin etc.) you’ll see identity and presence are a big part of how people connect in these platforms.
Social presence in online learning is about people feeling connected and feeling as if they are interacting with real people. It’s especially important for online learning as learners studying at a distance can feel isolated or disconnected. And, those learners are more likely to drop out of the course.
Your learners need to see the human behind the messages. And, you need to see the human behind theirs. Profiles are just one way of doing this.
What should I put in mine?
Your avatar really doesn’t have to be a picture of you. But it should be something that relates to you. It could be the view from your window, favourite flower or animal. Some learners like to put a face to the name, but for many, they’ll get to know you through what you say and do.
Of course you can put anything into this bio section really. But we think that what learners want to see first is your background in the area. Ideally your bio also goes some way to hinting at how passionate you are about the subject and is written in a simple, approachable style.
But remember, your bio should be short and sweet (less than 400 characters). You can get a bit more personal when you give your introduction.
Here's an example of what you might write in a bio:
I'm here to help people with online learning.
I came from teaching science at high schools to designing for online, distance education. I have a masters in Digital Education and love keeping up with best practice to stay fresh.
Learning technologies have so much to offer – it’s all about finding the right tools and the right blend.
What should I ask learners to put in theirs?
Getting learners to fill in their profile is a great way for new learners to get to know the platform, start finding their way around, and build confidence in the online learning space. But, your learners may well need a prompt (and some guidance) from you to fill out their profile.
The same guidelines apply for the Avatar for both learners and facilitators. But the bio, is where it tends to shift. Your learners might well have a different focus from you. Here’s a few things you might like learners to include in their bio:
Their background or interest in the subject
Their interests or hobbies
Their family (or other important people in their lives)
Asking learners to write about all of these can be a little onerous (and longer than 400 characters). Instead, choose one or two as suggestions for your learners.
To help you learners with their profile you might post something like this to a talk channel at the very beginning of the course:
I’m Caitlin the facilitator for this course. I’ve filled out a bit about me in my profile (to see it, simply select Read bio in the course overview page). It would be great if you could fill in your profile so I and other learners can get to know a bit about you.
Filling in your profile is also a great way to get to know the platform and start to find your way around.
See How to set up your learner profile for instructions.
In your bio you might like to tell us a bit about:
Your background or interest in the subject
Your goals for learning
Look forward to hearing more about you all!
Completing your profile is a great first step to increasing your presence (and, it’s also a great way for learners to show theirs!). It shows learners the human helping them to learn and lets them show their humanness.
If you'd like to take this a bit further, be sure to check out Show the human using introductions.