Purpose in Learning Communities
Why is it important for your community?
Online Courses
Online Courses may be the first time someone participates online. Courses  have a starting and ending date. They may be considered an online community only as long as they are in session. This can also be a good way for you to introduce your community to your members.

San Francisco State University provides clear credential courses in their ITEC program. They set up programs using BlackBoard, TaskStream, and My eCoach.

BlackBoard (Bb) is a course management system modular system that you run on your server as instructor-led courses. There are modules that allow you to store courses online and offline. A similar program is Moodle (free open source modular CMS) that offers server space in Moodle Rooms or you can host Moodle on your own server. There is a Moodle community of developers that constantly update and add to the modules.

TaskStream offers a an online system that offers a mentoring program, lesson plan builders that align to standards, and reporting tools. Now TaskStream and BlackBoard Vista (formerly WebCT) have partnered.

My eCoach is an online learning community powered by coaching. There are communication, collaboration, curriculum, standards, coaching, and publishing tools all in one place. Students are using eCoach to collaborate as they publish standards-based units that integrate technology. They will be linking to their ePortfolios in TaskStream.

At SFSU, eight instructors used eCoach’s Universal builder to create a course and a team area for each of their classes. The faculty created one course and then each of the instructors cloned and adapted it to fit their needs.

San Diego County Office of Education created online courses for AB 430 three day training. They are on their second year where last year they trained over 200 principals. What they are trying to do this year is extend each of their 3 day trainings to involve ongoing coaching. Principals are using the eCoach blogging tool to reflect on their practicum. The coaches and SDCOE support team can comment on their blogs and provide feedback.

Have you taught a course online? What program did you use? Do you see the possibilities for extending the course as an online community?

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