Monday, August 22, 2005

Creating a Virtual Class

Have any of you participated in or moderated a "virtual class"? There are several young mothers in my congregation who want to participate in the Bible in 90 Days program but cannot attend any of the groups that are presently organized for different child-related reasons. One of them suggested that they could be treated as a "virtual class."

Although I am happy to sell them the Bible and notebook for the course, I know that much of the course's value is in the group support and experience and I want to help them succeed with it. So I'm considering how best to create a "virtual group" for them (they're all computer savvy).

One way might be to just email them every week and ask them to let me know how they are doing and encourage them to email each other as well. Or I could create a group blog for this purpose that they could each contribute their thoughts to on a regular basis. There is also the option of creating a yahoo-type bulletin board for the same purpose. Anyone have any advice on what might be most useful ?

Right now I think I am really crazy--we have 115 people signed up, including our "independent study" group.


Songbird said...

Yahoo Groups is pretty easy to use, I think. I think that would be much better than just encouraging them to e-mail each other. You could post a question or, perhaps better yet, get them to sign up to each take a week (or whatever) for posting a question to which others may respond. To do this they need to get a Yahoo ID, and with that it's a quick hop to being able to have a Chat via Yahoo. I don't like Chat myself, but for younger people (I feel really old saying this) who have done it a lot, it might be a way to have the "meeting" at a time they wouldn't be able to go to church, say 9 p.m. on a Monday night or something like that.
I took several classes during seminary that had an Internet component, and the experiences varied from great to awful. The key to the better ones was the active involvement of the facilitator. Do you have a group leader who would host a chat for this group once a week?

Quotidian Grace said...

That would be me, I think. The other group leaders are a lot less comfortable with the internet than I am.

I was thinking about yahoo groups--I have a yahoo ID. I like your suggestions about posting something for them to respond to or asking them to agree to a chat at a certain time. I'll see if any of that appeals to them.

Twenty-somethings like Portia and Babs use AIM all the time, but I think there is probably a generation gap between them and the thirtiesh age group who might be more comfortable with a group where they post to.

Thanks, Songbird for the advice!

Songbird said...

You're welcome! I imagine they are more familiar with IM than you think. They probably did it with their husbands (IM, that is) before they got married. ;-)

St. Casserole said...

I have no advice on the "virtual class." I'll be interested to hear what others suggest (I like Songbird's ideas) and you decide to offer the group.
May I add your Chocolate cake recipe to my husband's church's cookbook? I'll give you full credit.

flamingorev said...

Hey Grace--
My extended family and I used to all have aol, and we would set up a time to meet in a particular chat room each week (I think it was 10 pm Mondays). They probably don't all have aol though. But maybe something similar is available through yahoo groups? IMing is great, but harder to do with large groups. Hi to all, by the way. Glad you're doing well!

Quotidian Grace said...

St. Cass--of course you are welcome to give the chocolate cake recipe to your husband's church for their cookbook. I hope they all enjoy it!

Flamingorev--I told the quilters today about finding you online. They all send their "howdys" to you and family!

Songbird said...

Anyone can sign up for AOL IM or for Yahoo, so either one would work; both are free.

Anonymous said...

QG, as someone once told me, "You are crazy, but in a good way."

Developing a C2C community for the mothers of young children is a challenge, but a necessary one. If they are game, why not have ONE meeting at the beginning to get everyone face-to-face, and then a graduation meeting, with everything else online or by phone?

I'll be happy to help in any way.


Quotidian Grace said...

TC, thanks for the suggestion. The group decided that they wanted a Yahoo group and liked the idea of having some feedback and direction. I'll talk to them Sunday about trying for an initial meeting and then a "graduation" get-together. I'll email you separately next week when I get the details worked out.