Heart2Heart Joining Instructions

Saturday, November 8, 2008  00:00 UTC Time

Overview: Heart2Heart Online is a structured communication process in which certain rules are adhered to in order to create the safety for a deep level of communication to occur without the fear of condemnation, unsolicited advice, interruption, or being rushed.
Objective: The objective of a Heart2Heart Online session is to allow people to express their feelings in a supportive environment virtually. It is not intended to be a discussion or a verbal exchange. The connection among the participants is achieved at the level of the heart – the feeling of simply being oneself and being accepted for what one is feeling – not at the level of verbal language or exchange of words.

Venue: Please log on at : (contact Greg & Ivy)

Hardware Requirement: Participants must have, at least a working microphone connected to their computer. Webcam is optional but would be an added feature. They should launch the session ahead of time to test their device setting.

Suggested Protocol: Participants are requested to abide strictly by the guidelines listed below:

  1. The Heart2Heart session will start straightaway after a brief introduction and welcome of the participants. While the session is on-going, a slideshow of inspirational scenes and quotes will be visible on the main whiteboard of the WiZiQ virtual classroom;
  2. Participants will be given the control of the microphone one at a time for a maximum of 3 minutes, according to a set sequence (according to how they are listed on the control panel of the facilitator). Nobody is allowed to pass when one’s turn comes. The minimum a participant is expected to say is “I feel I am not ready to share anything yet” or something similar;
  3. Only the person with the microphone is allowed to talk. Everyone else listens intently and tries to empathize with the speaker;
  4. To signify our listening and presence during the sharing, while one participant is talking, chat box messages/entries are encouraged but must be limited to short, affirmation statements towards the speaker or what is being shared. Questions, comments and other types of entries are to be avoided;
  5. The most important behaviors expected from the participants are candor and genuine sharing of feelings (when speaking) and attentive listening (when not taking the turn to speak);
  6. The microphone control will be passed around as many times as the session duration (maximum 90 minutes) will permit.

Waiver: The session is purely a venue to express feelings and be oneself. While support will be given by other participants, by way of encouraging and positive remarks, each participant is responsible for his/her own disposition and decisions before, during and after the session.

Note: No recording of the session will be made. Personal information about the participants will also be kept confidential. If anyone would like to open communication lines with any other participants, they could do so by exchanging e-mail address in the chat box.

Greg & Ivy Barcelon


heart2heart online

Being able to connect to the world through Web 2 tools and spend long hours in the computer exchanging intellectual material with anyone available is cool. On the other hand, at the end of the day we need to face ourselves again and reconcile with who we really are. The power we exercise in being able to interact digitally in an anonymous/faceless manner can win us many battles and give us a great sense of power.  In some cases, however, it can only be a convenient escape – from our basic need to feel safe, valued and loved. As human beings, our innermost desire is to love and be loved unconditionally.

And whereas modern society applauds the independent person, the one who can attain self-actualisation alone, the self-assured individualist, what we really need is to connect once again to how we are truly one with each other at the deepest level. Our beliefs in separation, scarcity and struggle brought about by the materialistic mindset have led us to fear and compete with each other. The result has been increasing discomfort and a growing sense of powerlessness, not only individually but as a society.

We want to explore whether we can provide a community online where one can be simply oneself — able to share one’s deepest feelings without the fear of being rejected, judged, stopped, or criticized.

But there are issues unique to the virtual world that is not true of the physical world. One such issue is that of authenticity. The absence of verifiable information about a person leaves it open to people joining in under fantasized and contrived personality and wreck havoc on what otherwise could be a very meaningful session.

I wonder how this can be managed.

two worlds in one – part 2

After writing my last post Two Worlds in One, I chanced upon this video clip, where Charles Leadbeater talks about “Open” and “Closed” systems.

The open system is not organized (much like an FOC course where no one is designated as Official Facilitator), while the closed system is highly systematized and structured. While Leadbeater was applying the concept to organizations, they can also apply to individuals. Now, superimposing this dimension against the two worlds I earlier described, people can come in many forms – clustered, for the sake of illustration, into four groups:

Four Types of Members/Participants

Four Types of Members/Participants

I – Face-to-face/Closed. These will be participants or members of the community who want things structured and are able to make sense of relationships only with physical encounter. With these two characteristics in combination, their communities will tend to be rather small, but solid and predictable.

II – Virtual/Closed. These will be participants or members who would participate in the Web 2 technologies but would wanting for someone to take certain fixed roles, e.g., they would demand that there must be a designated Facilitator (even if you rotate members in assuming the role), designated Moderator, designated Secretary, etc. – all coming from what organized groups of the past used to be (which will include Scouts, Civic Clubs that insist on using Roberts Rule of Order, etc.)

III – Virtual/Open. These will be participants or members who are more “free” in their orientation and interaction. It is as free as the 15-sec browsing and the jumping from page to page. They are the people who somehow bear witness to the order in chaos. They thrive on connections and feeds.

IV – Face-to-face/Open. These will be participants or members who can live with the lack of structure but would insist on a certain minimum physical contact. They for instance need to be assured that the people they are interacting with in the Chats are real and not bots. They’d like to put flesh and blood into the dot coms and the @.

Interesting world we live in!

3d facilitation and on-line communities of learning

In the third edition of “Did You Know” a certain Allan November was supposed to have identified 3 essential skills we need (children) to learn:

  1. … deal with massive amounts of information;
  2. … global communication skills;
  3. … to be self-directed and understand how to organize more and more of their own learning.

I believe they are also competencies any participant in a community need to have. Inability to acquire such skills might be the reason why a) a number of members might be highlighting problems about reading so many blogs and catching up with discussions, b) some people might be ‘having headaches’ just being present and listening to what happens in the Elluminate meeting room, and/or c) why some people are even wishing that those proximate with one another can meet up personally/physically.

The whole paradigm of using on-line as medium of interaction is precisely that it is about colossal amount of information, interacting virtually within differing time zones, and finding a level of participation that is uniquely self-managed and self-driven.

This brings me back to a model of facilitating I developed recently. I call it 3D Facilitation.

The first dimension is about Content. This will be the relevant content that the group is concerned about. In the case of this on-line community, that will include what is outlined in the wiki – all about Online Facilitation of Communities. The second dimension is about Process. It is about how the members are interacting with one another through whatever model of community building or stages of formation that is being used. In the case of this on-line community, that will include how people are participating in the discussion forum, how people are commenting on each other’s blogs, etc. It also includes the navigational skills people need to make use of the different technologies. The third dimension is about Set-Up. This will pertain to how the first two dimensions are facilitated by the technology, platform and/or set of activities lined up – all geared towards achievement of the objectives of the community.

Given this model, one can appreciate that there will be some Facilitators who are very well versed with Content and will have interventions loaded with such. Others will be good in Process and will simply be moderating without any input at all to what is being discussed by the group. The third – those good in Set-up would have to be very good at both the Content and the Process.

Again, an on-line community can make use of the wiki, the blog, readers, tweeters, forums, groups, diigos, SL meetings, Elluminate meetings, etc. to facilitate learning about a subject matter. But Effective Facilitation will be achieve only when the question of how one can ‘set them all up seamlessly’ is answered — leading to total integration, thus enabling members to have a handle on how well they are doing, individually and as a community, relative to the 3 essential competencies listed above.

On Communities & Virtual Learning Communities

This week’s focus is one closest to my heart – Communities. Sometimes I wonder whether the use of the word community has any actual differentiation from other terms such as Networks, Groups, Teams, etc. While classifications according to participation of members (such as those described in The Art of Building Virtual Communities are useful, they may not really give the distinctive characteristic of a community. I’d propose that the way to define, in relation to other terms used for a collection of individuals is as follows:

vlc model Everything in the virtual community is dependent on the basic unit of virtual interaction which is the network. It is also the basic connection of individuals as in e-mails, ftp, web, etc. Within that network will be what I would classify as either groups, teams and communities.
A group is any collection of individuals. It’s distinctiveness from network nodes is that groups would usually require some form of membership or, at the very least, some categorical identification.

Some groups will further be defined by the commonality of a goal or objective that is being pursued through an intentional cooperative effort of the members. This we will call as Teams.

Even more defined are communities – which will be a collection of individuals, with pre-defined membership and a common objective/goal being pursued, yet further distinguished by three important characteristics membes exhibit, as follows:

  • Responsibility. Communities are responsible for their own life and functioning. Responsibility is not left upon the coordinator, facilitator, moderator or any one single individual to control. Instead, everyone monitors the way the community lives its spirit;
  • Sharing. Communities thrive on the sharing that members do. There is an open outpouring of contributions from members. Members grow by both giving and taking from the community; and
  • Celebration. Communities enjoy and find meaning in being themselves. This is brought to celebration of togetherness — of wanting to be with one another — a celebration of being!
  • From this it is clear that while all communities are networks, groups and teams, not all networks, groups and teams are communities. In the same manner that while all teams are groups and networks, not all networks and groups are teams. And while all groups are networks, not all networks are groups.

    I believe this is an expanded model that goes beyond what Stephen Downes is talking about Networks and Groups.

    Facilitating On-line

    I did it! After lurking for so long and in the midst of my extremely hectic schedule, I am on-line and taking my first attempt at actively participating in the Facilitating On Line Communities.

    My interest in on line facilitation goes back many years, but I have never really had the time to get serious with it. I am excited and am looking forward to learning this way of facilitating learning as an enhancement of my current face to face activities.