You want to create a course! And we have some resources to help you get started.
If you learn by doing, go ahead and start creating.
If you want some guidance, see our course on creating a course. In six simple steps, you’ll get examples, tips and tricks, badge creation support, and the opportunity to connect with other course creators.
How do I facilitate a P2PU course?
Not all courses on P2PU are facilitated; in fact, most of them are set up so that anyone can run through them at his or her own pace! However, if you are planning to facilitate your course with a start and end date, here are some resources that may help you in the development and running of your course.
P2PU supported tools
- Badges for driving feedback and recognition in the course.
- Community discussion to get support during course development.
- The Mechanical MOOC for running large scale unplatformed MOOCs.
- Etherpads for collaborative authoring/note taking. Read about how P2PU uses it.
- Disqus for comments and discussion embedded in the course.
- Our blog for promoting your course to others.
- P2PU’s CSS framework to quickly create new tools that look great.
For planning your course
- Bookmarking resources: Diigo or Zotero
- Collaborative authoring: Google docs or Etherpad
- Surveying participants: Google forms or Survey Monkey
- Scheduling across timezones: Doodle or World Clock
For communicating in your course
- Sharing presentations: Slideshare
- Hosting synchronous meetings: Google hangout or Skype or Free Conference Call
- Holding email discussions: Google groups
For sharing coursework and projects
- Documents: Google docs or WordPress
- Images: Flickr or 500px
- Videos: YouTube or Vimeo
- Audio: SoundCloud
More tools are listed at this community toolbox developed years ago by former course facilitators, but be advised that it may be outdated!
Tips & Tricks from Course Facilitators
Here are some approaches and tools that have worked for current and past facilitators.
Approaches that worked
- Offer quick feedback each week. For example, if assignments are due Sunday, provide feedback by Wednesday. Be consistent about timing of feedback so participants can know when to expect it.
- Emphasize social interactions and let the participants create meaning through discussion and reflection. Social interaction (peer response and interaction) was often the key to participant retention.
- Aim to build a community of participants over time. For example, the School of Ed community is small, but they move together from course to course.
- Make sure your course is laid out clearly with explicit asks, often involving actions such as posting or commenting. Simplify assignments wherever possible.
- Be up front about what skills participants can expect to master upon completion of the course.
- Think about different ways for people to participate. For instance, consider hosting live webinars or chat sessions for peers that prefer “face-to-face” or voice interaction.
- Cap the number of students at a number that you think you can manage.
- Plan for a longer introductory period, eg. two weeks, to take care of administrative and organization details.
- Consider splitting people up into small groups by location, field, or profession. More on that below.
- Create simple tutorials on how to use any tools required in the course. For example, in Copyright 4 Educators (AUS), facilitators provided participants with a simple tutorial consisting of screenshots for how to use Disqus, the commenting forum for the course.
- Have employers require and/or encourage taking the course. (eg. departments of education, school authorities)
- Promote the course as part of a project, organization or institution. It helps if the facilitator is affiliated with an initiative.
- Seek ways to offer accreditation or recognition for professional development.
Tools that worked
- Set up all tools/technology for your participants. Don’t give them too many choices — just decide what tools and be clear about how and when to use them. For example, this is where you’ll submit assignments, this where you’ll discuss X, etc. Think of it like listing the type of calculator you would need for a math class, books you need, or general prerequisites.
“Google docs: Every week where there is an assignment due, we include a hyperlink to a Google folder for that specific week, with a separate doc for each group. We received really great feedback about Google docs. A lot of teachers were nervous about the P2PU platform/an online course/”new” technology and a lot of them were nervous about Google docs. But every learner I’ve spoken with regarding the Google docs has said it’s very easy, so much easier than they thought it would be, and very user friendly.”
“Wikipedia: We built custom Wikipedia pages in the first round of our course, which worked fairly well; looking to upgrade our experience by transitioning to Wikipedia Course Pages.”
“WikiEducator: We used WikiEducator as a place for instructor-facing resources. It would be better to have these in the SOO platform, but this worked for us.”
- Email works best. Most participants communicate via email.
- Google Forms: Send people to an introductory survey/questionnaire for their very first interaction. Ask for info to split people up into small groups and for other necessary admin info.
- IM: Our students chatted weekly before, during and after lectures using the IM feature of Blackboard Collaborate, and a sense of community — and user personality — developed in this manner. Some used voice on occasion but most did not.
- WordPress or other blog: Consider having participants submit assignments through a shared blog, or on their own blogs with course tags.
- Incorporate existing P2PU courses/challenges into your course. For example, Creative Commons for K-12 Educators has a task for one week to complete the challenge called Get CC Savvy.
Have you considered dividing your course participants into small groups according to timezone, interest, or just at random? Here are some courses where connecting like-minded peers have produced positive results:
Copyright 4 Educators (AUS): 70 participants were divided into groups of 4 according to timezone, profession, and teaching subject. Each group had two responsibilities: 1) to collaborate together virtually or in person and submit assignments as a group and 2) to review and give feedback on other groups’ assignments. Organizers recommended specific communication tools and pre-filled fields on Google docs for submission of assignments, making sure to follow up promptly with groups who had questions or who did not submit their material on time. Except for a few participants, everyone completed the course.
Local Open Government Innovation: 80 participants signed up for the course, with local teams as large as 12 people that formed in four cities. To help with forming teams, organizers worked with existing local open government organizations. Each local group had participants take on one of six roles in their local “citizen circles,” from logistics to sponsorship, while working toward the overall goal of hosting an open government event in their community. Members connected through subject-focused Google groups according to different roles (e.g. all speakers shared a Google group while those in charge of logistics shared another).
Conflict Resolution: 42 participants initially signed up for this course. The facilitator put together a syllabus covering all major theoretical aspects of conflict resolution, including watching TED talks, reading articles, and discussing them each week in an online forum. At first, peers voluntarily formed virtual study groups based on their interests. Each group used a combination of Skype or email to communicate with each other as needed. The facilitator then encouraged participants to form face-to-face “citizen circles” around a conflict in their local communities.
Social Innovation in Education: Participants were divided into two sections based on timezones and schedules for virtual meetings on Skype. Participants from seven different countries met at one of the two scheduled times each week. Several formed offline groups, or “citizen circles”, to hold discussions before and after the conference call in person.
Women as Social Innovators: Participants were split into small groups according to timezones and then asked to pair up with a “partner” circle somewhere in a different timezone for weekly discussions by Skype.
Sustainability Studio: Participants elected to have discussions by Skype only a few times throughout the seven weeks of the course (introductions, guest facilitators, and the “studio show” at the end to celebrate accomplishments), while project work occurred mostly face-to-face in between the virtual meetings.
We have an archive of feedback from past facilitators! Check it out here. Much of the info may no longer apply, but it may still help to read about others’ experiences! Here are also some longer reflections by Copyright 4 Educators’ (AUS) Jessica Smith, School of Ed’s Karen Fasimpaur, and MIT Medialab’s Joi Ito.
Help! I need more help.
It’s okay to ask for help!
- For help with website and related issues, visit http://help.p2pu.org/.
- For help with the design of courses and badges, email P2PU Learning Lead email@example.com.
- For help with promotion of courses, email firstname.lastname@example.org who heads up the P2PU newsletter. If you are part of a School, your School organizer can also help promote your course.