When I think about communication and facilitation in online learning, the images of doors being opened come to mind. In comparison to learning in an f2f setting, learning online can be isolating. However, when students use online communication tools; they open up a treasure trove of opportunities for sharing, collaborating and communicating. These tools can be useful inside a brick-and-mortar school setting, but within the online learning environment, they are essential. Not only do they allow the student to communicate within the class and the school community but also allow her to interact with the rest of the world.
I chose this first image of gazing through an open door at the planet Earth, because as a French Immersion (FI) online educator, I see myself as opening doors for students that otherwise might be closed. For some students, the traditional ways of communicating in the FI classroom (i.e. discussion in groups and oral presentation) proves to be too difficult because of their lack of comfort. Having to speak French in front of people causes stress which motivates them to develop strategies to talk as little as possible. However, when these students are learning online and using online communication tools, it seems to be easier for them. The communication tools provide anonymity, freedom to do it when and where they see fit.
The second image represents the students taking ownership of their French by opening their own doors. This is facilitated by all the online communication tools made available to them. Usually in an f2f setting, students speak French when the teacher is in the classroom. However, in an online class, students use the tools to communicate, share and collaborate in French and with me not being present; therefore, my students must take responsibility of their studies and their acquisition of the French language.