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In the online classroom it is the relationships and interactions among people through which knowledge is primarily generated.  Come learn how to do it with the foremost authorities and authors of the popular book by the same title.
Acquire a new understanding of redefining community in cyberspace.  Find out the importance of a learning community.  Learn about dialogue as inquiry, negotiating discussion guidelines, intergroup and other forms of collaboration.

One week course, includes book, Rena Palloff and Keith Pratt, instructors.

$195, with an optional additional $40 paid later for graduate credit from the University of South Dakota. 

 outlineCourse Outline

Unit 1
Defining and Redefining Community
  • Redefining community in cyberspace
  • The importance of a learning community
  • Community in the electronic classroom
  • Participation and desired outcomes in the electronic classroom
Unit 2
What We Know About Electronic Learning
  • Virtual versus human contact
  • Time and group size
  • Psychological and spiritual issues
  • Administrative issues related to time and group size
Unit 3
Making the Conversion to Cyberspace
  • Effective teaching in the electronic classroom
  • The role of the learner in the learning process
  • Moving to specifics
Unit 4
Promoting Collaborative Learning
  • Dialogue as inquiry
  • Formulating a shared goal for learning
  • Negotiating guidelines
  • Intergroup and other forms of collaboration
Unit 5
Transformative Learning
  • Encouraging reflection
  • Self-reflection
  • Learning about learning

Question MarkAbout online learning

Online learning is a fun, enjoyable and very productive way to learn. Millions of people are learning online each year. You will engage with the instructor and other participants. You will get to know your instructor and other participants. You may make friends.  It’s easy. It’s fun. 

GearsHow the Course Works

It is easy to participate in your online course. After you register, you will be given a web address to go to get into your online classroom.  You will have a password and use your email address and password to gain access.

Once inside the online classroom, here’s what you can expect.

CalendarParticipate when you want

You can participate any time of day or evening. The online classroom is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
There are no live real-time requirements or meetings. You decide when you participate.
For the best learning, participants should log into the course on 2-3 different.

ChecklistWhat you will do

  • Read the print readings (about 20 pages a week)
  • Have the option of accessing the online readings
  • Listen to the audio presentation for the Unit and view the slides
  • Engage in written online discussion with your instructor and other participants

The content (readings, audio lectures, slides) and self quizzes are accessible for the entire course, so you can work ahead, or go back and review again, at your convenience.


The Discussion for each Unit lasts one week. All comments are made in writing and can be made at any time of the day or night.

Your instructor will log into the Discussion area at least once a day and answer questions, make comments, and respond to comments by you and the other participants.

We encourage you to make 2-3 comments each day to maximize your learning and enjoyment of the course.

It’s easy. It’s fun.




Next offering(s):
-Next session coming soon-

$195 for individual course, with an optional additional $40 paid later for graduate credit from the University of South Dakota.

$495 for Certificate in Online Teaching, $795 for Certified Online Instructor (COI) program

Ave. hours 16, 1.6 CEUs/ILUs

About Your Instructors

Dr. Rena M. Palloff and Dr. Keith Pratt As authors of Building Online Learning Communities, Palloff and Pratt are two of the foremost authorities on online learning, and highly sought after presenters.

   Palloff and Pratt are managing partners in Crossroads Consulting Group. They have also taught online courses at several universities. Since 1994 they have collaboratively conducted pioneering research and training in the emerging areas of electronic group facilitation, face-to-face and electronic community building, distance learning, and management and supervision. 

Dr. Rena M. Palloff teaches online for the Fielding Institute, which offers a master's degree completely online. She has also taught for the John F. Kennedy University, California State University-Hayward, and Ottawa University.

Dr. Keith PrattDr. Keith Pratt has taught online for Ottawa University, where he was Chair of the Management Information Systems Program. He has also taught at Wayland Baptist University and the University of Alaska.  They are authors, popular speakers at national educational conferences, and sought after consultants in the area of online learning communities.

Directional ArrowsCourse Objectives

  • To provide prospective and current online instructors with background information on the development of online learning communities and a re-definition of community in cyberspace;
  • To provide those interested in teaching online with the knowledge necessary to transition to the electronic or online learning community, effectively working with students in the online community;
  • To address the most commonly asked questions about online learning communities, including socializing and social contact, dialogue, and virtual teamwork;
  • To provide specific, how-to guidelines on the design and implementation of collaborative learning and using dialogue as inquiry;
  • To provide expert experience and perspective to those already teaching online and to discuss advanced issues in online learning communities;
  • To have those currently teaching online share their experiences with those interested in designing online learning communities.

Puzzle PiecesCourse Outcomes

At the end of the course, you will:

  • Possess the information necessary to discuss the electronic learning environment and the differences between human contact and virtual contact and interaction;
  • Know the key steps in designing an online learning environment, including how to prepare small group interaction, determine group size, and handle administrative issues related to small group interaction;
  • Understand transformative learning and the keys to encouraging self-reflection online;
  • Get answers to the most advanced questions about online learning communities and small group interaction and dialogue online;
  • Have addressed and discussed the most commonly asked problems and issues related to online learning communities;
  • Have the knowledge necessary to successfully develop small group communities in the online learning environment. 
Completion Requirements