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
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.
How do I get everyone to
join my Group?
The hardest part is getting everyone
to sign up. Common problems are:
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.
wants to join but can't figure it out.
Solution: Bring a laptop to class and sign up together.
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.
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
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 publishingor
even ban members.
What happens when the class
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
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
- 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.