P2PU Digest – September 2020

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Courses, of course!

Learning circles are a valuable way to connect people with similar needs or interests around a topic, typically guided by a free online course. Sometimes the perfect course inspires a learning circle. Other times, the need is clear but the right learning materials are hard to find. When this happens, where do you start?

Throughout 2020, the immediate needs of many local communities have been rapidly changing. To help facilitators spin up programs to respond to these crises in real time, we’ve overhauled our course discovery and creation tools. We’d particularly like to thank the Kansas City Public Library, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, and the IMLS Accelerating Promising Practices program for their support in getting this all done.

  • Topic Resource Lists: Each month, we’re posting topic-based round-ups in the forums to help facilitators familiarize with new subjects and navigate the questions and resources required to start a learning circle. Our first three lists are on anti-racism educationdigital literacy, and well-being. Let us know what you want to see next!
  • Facilitator Guides + Surveys: Many facilitators prepare for learning circles by making agendas for themselves. We’ve started gathering these and surfacing them on our community forum alongside post-learning-circle reflections. Check out the threads for The 1619 Project and 21 Day Racial Equity and Social Justice.
  • Learning Circle Course Creation Guide: Brand new! We launched a 10-page guide to help subject experts design educational materials for learning circles. This work emerged from a session at last year’s P2PU Gathering in Boston, so a special shout out to everybody who was there!
  • Course-in-a-Box: Originally created in 2014, we’ve just overhauled our free, open-source tool for building and publishing courses online—no coding experience required. Simpler tech, vastly improved documentation for getting started. Give it a whirl!

If you’re interested in how to find or make courses for learning circles, we’re eager to chat with you! Join us this Wednesday, Oct 7 at 12pm ET for our monthly Community Call (info/RSVP) where we’ll dig into the resources above and hold an open conversation about your current challenges and ideas. Hope to see you there!

👋 The P2PU Team 

News from September

🆕 Learning circle archive

We launched a huge project this month: a searchable record all learning circles past, present, and future. Find it on the learning circle search page and read the release notes. Many thanks to the UX working group for all of the valuable feedback! 

Bye Sharon! 👋

After 3+ years of supporting P2PU with web design and development, our colleague Sharon is moving on from P2PU to focus on her web design business and her incredibly cute daughter. Keep up with her adventures at @NomadicSharon. We’ll miss you!

P2PU @ Occupy Library

We had a great time collaborating with attendees during our workshop on responsive community-based education at Occupy Library, a free online conference about library innovation in the EU. Recordings should be available soon, but if you’re curious and want a spoiler, you can check out the slides!

Community Spotlight

“I would recommend [learning circles] because there is no pressure. There is no report, no grades, but there is still the intellectual rigor, and I believe people in my life really appreciate that.”
— Participant survey from The 1619 Project in Charlotte

“There are not many forums where people with diverse perspectives and experiences can come together and openly discuss the critical issues of race. The 1619 Learning Circle was an important opportunity for me as a white, Jewish woman to hear and process the everyday challenges of Black people in our country.”

— Participant survey from The 1619 Project in Los Angeles

September learning circles

302 people participated in 85 learning circle meetings in 7 countries! 

7 learning circles finished. Check out the insights:

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