Course Description

Course Learning Goals
  • Gain a broad understanding of how online groups work and how they address organizational needs
  • Examine some actual online groups and communities in related domains to see them in action
  • Discover what else they want/need to learn about online groups

Course Participant Profiles


  • 5 live sessions on Elluminate or other tool
  • Weekly podcast (NEED TO FIGURE OUT FOR WHAT?)
* Moodle
  • Moodle Wiki for building shared resources. Wiki to work collectively on the Purpose checklists of each TKN
  • Learning Logs in Moodle (or do we want to offer blog option? I'm thinking not this time)


Nov 20 start for 3 weeks

Note about IMARK lessons

To access the IMARK lessons you have to be logged in to the former facilitating online interaction course.
You can access the complete list of IMARK lessons here.

Workshop Documents

Potential Exemplar Sites


  • IMARK modules as noted in outline below
  • Selected module material in audio form for podcast
* Additional materials from nancy (which?)
  • Glossary (can we import the old one from the old moodle to the new moodle?)
* Create set of relevant cases to more deeply illustrate key lessons (see link above to Exemplar Sites)


Pre-Work Workshop Preparation

Welcome! In these few days prior to the workshop, we are opening up the space so you can get oriented to our tools, fill our your profile (link to instructions) and get comfortable. If you like, you can check out our Cybrary (link). It would be good if by Monday, 20 November, you have:

  • Read 1.1 Online communities - new opportunities (up to screen 13 and renamed) - lesson highlights benefits of using online communities (15 min).
  • Update your profile
* If you haven't already, take the presurvey sent to you via email and share learning style results (where? their learning logs? Are we using wiki or discussion for learning logs? We need a learning log subsection)
  • Have questions ro suggestions? Add them here (link to discussion Help, Questions and Suggestions topic # 2)

Week 1 - November 20 - 24 - Introduction to Online Groups and Communities

This week we dive in to our exploration of online groups and communities. This week we have two "live" meetings, the first to orient ourselves to the workshop and the tools. The second will be our regular weekly conversation about key topics from the week. The rest of our conversations will be asynchronous (we don't have to be online at the same time) here in our Moodle space.
  • Call #1: Course overview in Elluminate session, process, tech, etc. Monday, 20 November 3pm GMT/4pm Roma
  • Call #2: Explore how online groups, communities and networks are relevant in our day to day work. Begin to look at examples. Thursday, 23 November, 3pm GMT/4pm Roma

We have three general discussion topics that will run across all the weeks;
  • #1 (link): Workshop Notice Board. We'll post copies of the agenda, changes, and reminders here. If you miss a few days, check back here to catch up on what you missed. (THIS SHOULD BE READ ONLY FOR THE PARTICIPANTS - JUST FACILITATORS POST HERE)
  • #2 (link) - Help, Questions and Suggestions - get technical help, ask general questions about the course and make suggestions
  • #3 (link) - Introductions and Communtiy Cafe - we'll start out using this topic to introduce ourselves, then we'll use it for informal and off-topic conversations.

Activities and Assignments
Our focused conversations and activities specifically for this week include:
  • Discussion #4 "Getting Started with Online Communities: purpose, members and assessments." which will be based on your understanding of the 3 following IMARK modules. If there are other parts of the modules you want to discuss, please post a note in the Help, Questions and Suggestions topic (Discussion #2). Please read and do as many of the activities as you wish in the following sections:
** 2.3 Assessing the user's needs - lesson provides guidelines and methods to conduct a needs assessment for an online community.
    • 2.4 Skills and resources for an online community - lesson describes the skills, human resources, time and costs required to set up and maintain an online community (25 min).
    • 2.5 Barriers to electronic networking - lesson describes the major types of barriers (technical, financial, institutional and social) that can affect an online community (35 min).

  • Wiki Assignment #1 - Your first assigment this week will be done on a wiki page that will be set up for you. This is a chance to experiment with a tool while doing a workshop related activity. The faciltiation team is always available to help if needed! We'll offer a list of possible sites of online groups related to development and/or agriculture. You can choose one of these or you can pick one you know of. Feel free to do this as a small team with your peers if you wish.
> Visit the community's site and review it. We'll offer a set of possible things to look for (LINK). Post your review in our workshop wiki. (We'll populate the first page of the wiki with a variety of sites they can visit. Spawn off a separate wiki page for each site reviewed. . We need to develop a little assessment/review checklist)
  • Reflection #1 - Towards the end of the week we'll post a trigger question for you to reflect upon in your learning log. Look for instructions later in the week.

  • Cybrary
    • Purpose Checklist
    • Site review suggestions

Week 2 - Getting your Community Started: Technology and Practices

  • Static Text:Review of Upcoming Week - round up of week 1 reflections. (Learn/Do/Learn cycles to surface community knowledge)
  • Podcast #2 - Backing into a wiki
* Discussion #5 - Identifying activities and picking tools
  • Discussion #6 - Optional deeper dive into tools
* Do the following modules
    • 4.1 Introducing online communication in your work - lesson provides guidelines on how to introduce online communication with existing forms of communications in an organization (20 min).
    • 3.1 Overview of technical options - lesson highlights the importance of assessing the technical options for building an online community, and provides a broad overview of the available tools (35 min).
    • 4.3 Making the right technical choices - lesson provides criteria for making technical choices in the various stages of designing and developing an online community (40 min).
    • 4.8 Training for a successful online community - lesson describes how to assess and deliver the training required for a successful online community (35 min).
  • Call #3 - Playing with Wikis
  • Assignment #2 - Create a training and/or resource page for your TKN on a wiki
  • Reflection #2 -
  • Cybrary
    • Building Blog Based Communities

Week 3 - Facilitating Your Community

  • Static Text: Overview of upcoming week, review of reflections from week 2
  • Podcast #3 -
* Discussion #7 - The bridge between offline and online facilitation
  • Discussion #8 - Encouraging participation and engagement (or at least useful lurking!)
* Do the following modules
    • 5.1The role of the facilitator - lesson introduces the role and function of the facilitator, both in traditional and online communities (30 min).
    • 5.2Face-to-face and online facilitation - lesson notes the similarities and differences between face-to-face and online facili tation, highlighting new challenges for online facilitators (25 min)
    • 5.3Developing your online community culture - lesson describes some techniques and activities to build relationships, improve communication and to develop a shared vision for a community (25 min).
    • 5.4Preparing and organizing online discussions - lesson describes the roles and responsibilities of online facilitators, and introduces the support tasks required of a facilitator (25 min).
    • 4.7Marketing your online community - lesson provides guidelines and tips on how to market and promote your online community to new members and potential funders (30 min).
  • Call #4 -
* Evaluation Activity -
  • Develop personal learning plan going forward

[[Online Thematic Network and Community Examples|]]