Choice of Track
Individuals can choose to take the course on 1 of 3 tracks depending on time availability, experience, and life circumstances.
Explorer: You are aware of the many challenges we are facing and want to learn more about solutions and effective ways of making change happen. You can commit 1.5 hours in week one to review Explorer track materials and in week two you can engage with other explorers in exercises and discussion (2 hours).
Changemaker: You are familiar with many of the issues and have some experience in working for positive social, political, environmental, and/or economic change. You want to connect the dots between issues and target your efforts more strategically. You see this MOOC as an aid in that effort. You can invest a minimum of 3 hours per week to review content, complete the exercises and participate in small group discussions.
Deep Diver: You have a significant degree of experience with the issues we are discussing and in efforts to mobilize change. Your commitment aligns with the Changemakers. You have an interest and the time to dig more deeply into supplementary resources and to dialogue with more experienced peers. The Deep Diver stream is targeted at experienced practitioners, educators, movement activists, researchers, and policymakers.
Peer Working Groups
- We are integrating video and audio interaction among peers in groups of 6-10 people in every module.
- Groups will be formed through the registration process based on individual preferences – language, country, organization, network, primary sector interest, experience level.
- Groups from the same organization, network, movement, or community of friends are encouraged to organize Study Circles as a way of strengthening mutual trust, mobilizing collective knowledge, and increasing capacity for strategic action in the local context. To view information on Study Circles and Acton Groups click here.
- An online whiteboard will be available to collaboratively visualize, conceptualize, and co-construct ideas for strategic action.
- Plenary peer debates & guest speakers will be organized at various points.
- Opportunities to interact with the co-leads and module instructors will be built into the program.
This MOOC includes many opportunities in which you, the participants, can interact with each other. There are also opportunities for you to share your own experience, expertise, and questions. These peer-to-peer features are designed to increase participation and improve retention of the course content. We also hope they will inspire involvement in transition and systems change after the MOOC concludes.
Synergia Institute’s online educational program combines rigorous analysis of context, critical theory, and a diversity of practices and models that generate concrete impacts and accelerate system change in strategic ways.
We believe that pedagogy for social change must empower citizens, organizations, and institutions to critically reflect on attitudes, values, and practices that help or hinder the change we seek. Changing social consciousness is critical. Peer-to-peer learning is thus central to our approach, as is building strategic partnerships across sectors and movements for social change.
Study Circles and Action Groups in the MOOC
A priority for Synergia is to extend the impact of the MOOC by facilitating people who are already connected by place, interest, and purpose to take the course as a group. Why? The reason is simple. We believe that groups taking the MOOC together will deepen learning and accelerate effective action.
Forming Study Circles through the Registration Process
We recommend that all MOOC participants join a Study Circle (5-10 people) to engage with other participants. Engaging peers in groups enhances learning and invites a deeper exploration of module resources and exercises.
Of course, life circumstances vary a great deal and we welcome those who prefer to work individually. There are still many ways to learn from, and contribute to, the learning of others within the structure of the MOOC.
For those who join a group, the registration process provides a way to express your preferences – geography, time zone, language, common interest – food, shelter, ecological restoration, energy, finance, climate change, etc. You will automatically be placed in a group with people generally aligned with your preferences.
Another lens you can use to guide the kind of group you join is your experience with course themes. If you consider yourself an early-stage Explorer, we have an introductory path that requires less material to review and engages you with other explorers in workshops and discussion.
Changemakers and Deep Divers come with more experience and more time to invest. These pathways encourage you to delve into supplementary materials as well as group work.
Organizing Study Circles and Action Groups
The creation of study circles and action groups through the MOOC has the potential for accelerating transition planning and action.
The MOOC is designed to significantly advance group learning opportunities, in three ways.
- Study Circles are an option for all people who take the MOOC.
- Study Circles can be formed in advance by people sharing a common interest or affiliation.
- Action Groups already focused on some form of social change can take the course together and apply lessons learned to their work.
Forming Study Circles in Advance of the MOOC
Study Circles formed in advance are made up of individuals linked together by common interests – whether by an organization, enterprise, network, geography, movement, or even as a group of friends. They take the course together. In a Study Circle, each individual reviews module resources and engages with their peers in group exercises & discussion questions.
The MOOC introduces a variety of frameworks and tools that deepen insights and strengthen strategic thinking. Study Circles can extend their activity beyond the MOOC to address the specific priorities and objectives they are working on. We believe this is a tremendous opportunity to strengthen trust, increase capacity for strategic dialogue, set goals and priorities, and to plan action. Most importantly, this process strengthens and fosters the emergence of new leadership.
Action Groups are composed of people who are already working together to advance systemic change in some way. Like Study Circles, they engage the course materials and exercises. The difference is that an Action Group already shares a common purpose and a set of priorities they are working on.
The frameworks and tools introduced in the course increase the potential for critical reflection on a group’s current efforts and open discussion on other options and action strategies. We believe this is a powerful way to clarify assumptions, deepen analysis, identify priorities, and sharpen critical thinking about effective strategies for action.