Engaging Virtual Communities Through Facilitation

Educators facilitate a virtual community in an online discussion.
Made by Center for Teaching Quality

About this Micro-credential

Key Method

The educator develops and facilitates an activity in which members of a virtual community engage in a synchronous or asynchronous discussion to support student or adult learning.

Method Components

The ability to facilitate various types of online discussions, rooted in strong pedagogical practices, allows educators to connect and learn from colleagues outside of traditional face-to-face environments in order to support student learning.

Engaging the virtual community through facilitation

  • Define the purpose for the online discussion.
  • Identify the appropriate online platform.
  • Communicate guidelines and expectations for the online discussion.
  • Facilitate the online discussion (see below).

Components of facilitating the online discussion

  • Foster a collaborative environment between participants. Approaches include, but are not limited to, distributing leadership; using multiple modalities to engage participants; utilizing specific knowledge, strengths, or skills of participants; assigning roles; acting as technology support; and removing barriers to participation.
    Utilize active listening skills. Approaches include, but are not limited to, listening more than speaking, asking open-ended questions, being aware of personal bias, and encouraging others to speak.
    Utilize response strategies. Approaches include, but are not limited to, asking probing and clarifying questions, using the platform’s features to engage participants, synthesizing ideas, and diffusing conflict.
    Provide opportunities for participants to reflect on learning. Approaches include, but are not limited to, quick writes, action planning, and making connections.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research



Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To earn this micro-credential, you must receive a score of Proficient or Exemplary in all four categories for Part 2 and Passing scores for each of the questions in Parts 1, 3, and 4.

Part 1. Overview questions

(200–500 words)

  • Activity Description: Please provide a short, contextual description of the facilitated discussion. Was it synchronous or asynchronous? Who participated in the discussion? Why was the specific virtual platform selected? What was the objective of the session? When was the session held?

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts

Submit documentation (e.g., video or curated online chat) that demonstrates competence in online facilitation. Video should be no more than 10 uninterrupted minutes; for a curated online chat, please submit both questions asked by the facilitator and answers from multiple participants. Discussions should have a minimum of four (4) participants, including the facilitator.

Your submission will be assessed based on the following rubric. You must earn a score of Exemplary or Proficient for each of the components in this portion to earn the micro-credential.

Part 3. Participant reflection

For the evidence listed above, please submit two participant reflections on the activity. Use the following question as guidance (200-word limit for each reflection):

  • How did the facilitator’s planning, modeling, and questioning help engage participants and meet the goals of the online discussion? (Use specific details from the discussion.)

Part 4. Educator reflection

Provide a reflection on what you learned, using the following questions as guidance (200–500 words):

  • What was the impact of implementing the Engaging a Virtual Community Through Facilitation protocol with your participants? Were there any relevant challenges or observations with this protocol? How did those challenges affect the online discussion? If you were to do this again, what would you change? Use specific evidence to support your reflection.

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

Ready to get started?