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Active Parenting 4th Edition - Creating a Discussion Group

Bring parents together with an online discussion Group

We recommend setting up a optional, private discussion online Group for your class. This will give participants a way to communicate with you and with each other outside class. It provides an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other, share ideas, and ask questions. It may even improve the discussions during your classes! Not to mention the fact that it will keep Active Parenting fresh in their minds even between class sessions.

How do I set up a private online Group?
There are several free options. Choose the one you are most familiar with, or ask the class to vote.

Be sure to make your Group "private" and restrict membership to class participants only.

  Yahoo Groups:
Requires a free Yahoo account, but email notifications can be forwarded to other addresses (e.g., to a Gmail or work address). This is an advantage over the other types of Groups. A Yahoo Group will also store documents and photos for your Group.
To set a Group up, click https://groups.yahoo.com/
To join our Leaders' Group: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/APLeaders1/info
  Google Groups:
Requires a free Gmail account. Sends email to the Gmail address.
To set a Group up, click https://groups.google.com/forum/#!overview
To join our Leaders' Group, click https://groups.google.com/d/forum/active-parenting-4th-edition-leaders-forum
    Facebook Groups:
Facebook membership is required. This is very convenient for people who frequently check Facebook. However it does not send email notifications of new messages.
To set a Group up, click www.facebook.com/about/groups
To join our Leaders' Group, click www.facebook.com/groups/ActiveParenting4/

How do I get everyone to join my Group?
The hardest part is getting everyone to sign up. Common problems are:

Problem: Participant does not have an account with the Group you choose.
Solution: Remind everyone that signing up is free, they don't have to use their real name, and they can de-activate the new account at any time.

Problem: Participant wants to join but can't figure it out.
Solution: Bring a laptop to class and sign up together.

Problem: Participant can't remember to join.
Solution: Most Groups allow the moderator to invite members. This will put an email in the members' in-box and they can just click reply to join.

Problem: Participant cannot or will not participate in an online Group.
Solution: Plan to send critical announcements to these participants separately (for example, if you send a link to an article that will be discussed in the next class). Participation in the group should be optional.

I started the Group, but there's not much activity. How do I get it going?
Nobody wants to be first! As the moderator, you will set an example of what's OK to share. It would be a good idea to share a few things each week during the class period. Perhaps you could create a stockpile of posts to use for each Group you start.

Here are some ideas.

  • post links to relevant news items and invite discussion of how it relates to Active Parenting
  • in class, encourage parents to share news of their Active Parenting successes in the Group
  • encourage parents to ask questions
  • post inspirational images from Pinterest, etc. (just do a search for "parenting" on Pinterest to find a bunch.)


What are my responsibilities as moderator?
If you start a Group, it is your responsibility to keep an eye on the conversations. Remind members to stay on topic. If you notice angry words or off-topic discussions, intervene with a reminder to be civil or a suggestion to take the conversation elsewhere. Delete comments if needed. In extreme cases you can require each message to be approved before publishing—or even ban members.

What happens when the class is over?
It's up to you and your group. Here are some ideas:

  • leave the Group perpetually active to give parents a way to stay in touch after your class is over.
  • leave the Group active, but re-assign the moderator role to one of the Group participants.
  • de-activate the Group at the end of the class.
  • de-activate the Group, but invite the members to join a larger "alumni" group that you've set up.

I hate this stuff! Why can't we just do our talking in class?
Some of the parents in your class may agree with you, but many others (the ones with mobile phones in their hands) love online communication. This is a way to reach them, too.

So how can you offer an online Group without pulling your hair out?

  • ask for a class volunteer to set up the Group (you should still be a member/administrator so you can answer questions)
  • ask someone else in your office (an intern?) to moderate (you should still be a member)
  • create a stockpile of posts to use for every Group (for example, always send a certain news article after Session 1, always send the same cartoon after Session 2, etc.)
  • set up just one Group to use for all the classes you teach. Then you'll only have to do it once. This will, of course, be less private.
Preview the program free for 30 days.

This program is available in 3 convenient formats.
Choose the formats that work best for you! Click on the title for more information or to order.

Program Kit

All you need for a complete
video-and-discussion program.

Video Library

A series of 6 DVDs for your
library or resource center.
Also available streaming.

Lunch & Learn

Makes it easy to offer a series
of 6 very short parenting classes.