Lit Review: This is a post in a series focusing on the research studies on videoconferencing.
Wakefield, C. K. (1999). Site facilitator roles in videoconferencing: Implications for training. Unpublished Ed.D., University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH.
Author: Wakefield, Carman Kay
Title of dissertation: Site facilitator roles in videoconferencing: Implications for training.
Publication year: 1999
Database source: ProQuest Dissertation Abstracts
My Codes: VCImplementation, VCCourseDelivery
Main Point: Site facilitators are critical to successful videoconferencing of all kinds. They need specific traits and skills, and they need on-the-job training or job-shadowing as the ideal form of training.
Definitions: “The site facilitator, for the purpose of this study, is the support person that is in the videoconferencing room along with the main speaker.”
Methods & Findings: The study compares site facilitators’ views of their role with that of the “larger distance learning community” and finds the implications for site facilitator training.
The researcher interviewed via email 27 site facilitators to learn about their responsibilities, their position, their routine, required skills, training, and how they would train someone else for the same position.
The five major roles that emerged from the first part of the study were technical expert, instructional assistant, liaison, scheduler, and trainer/consultant.
There is some evidence that the study included site facilitators who use vc for more than traditional course delivery. “I look for ways to make use of our facility through electronic field trips, meeting other schools, etc.” p. 33. Also p. 39, the main purpose for the use of the room ranged from meetings (top) and guest speakers (next) to courses in the middle to research at the bottom. Definitely a broad set of purposes and uses in this research.
They felt the best way to learn the job was “by job shadowing and on-the-job training.” p. 35.
The follow up questionnaire was sent to a group of distance learning professionals who were “in charge” of their ITV systems. They came from public, private, government, higher education, K12, medical fields, vendors, conference centers,the military and more. 83 responses were collected from the listserv.
There’s a nice set of trait words ranked in this order for what would be important: reliable, problem solver, technology literate, not easily panicked, organized, friendly, great communicator, flexible. Those are the top 8.
Many studies are referenced as to the critical role of the site facilitator and the lack of administrative/funding support of this position.
Site facilitators thought it was important to be patient and not easily panicked! “This is, for all practical purposes, a customer service position.” p. 58.
There is need for “follow-up support when learning this position.” p. 59. It can’t be just a one-shot vendor training.
Key components for training & support of the site facilitator:
- manuals / reference for problems
- videoconference etiquette
- someone to call if they have trouble
- informed of instructional resources and how to use them
- registration and policies and procedures
- emphasis on communication skills, patience, a positive attitude and politeness
- scheduling procedures and all the limitations etc. of the room/equipment
- access to the calendar
- preferably some knowledge of VC literature
- ability to train the instructor
Relevance: This study is about site facilitators for all areas, not specifically on K12. However many of the principles seem to apply to the K12 videoconference coordinator supporting mainly curriculum videoconferencing.