The Internet has become one of the primary methods for individuals to connect with other individuals who share their interests, and to form virtual communities on the World Wide Web. This course is designed to provide learners with the skills needed for understanding the importance of community, and for building and sustaining an online community on the Internet.
This course is an introduction to online communities on the Internet designed for individuals with little experience with the Internet or with online communities on the Internet. Thus, it is a course for beginners, especially targeted to those individuals who are engaged in community-based projects in the non-profit sector, where there is a need to associate on an ongoing basis with others involved in similar pursuits who might be located at a significant distance, and therefore are unavailable for in-person meetings. It is offered through the International Non-Profit Training Consortium, an organization dedicated to providing non-profit volunteers, educators, and professionals with innovative distance education solutions, resources and skills to better serve the public good in local, regional, national and international communities.
This offering of the course is a pilot designed to test the content and delivery of the course materials to a limited audience. While the course is designed to address the needs of a global audience, the target audience for the pilot offering is English speakers. However, every effort has been made to make the presentation as inclusive as possible so that those with less well-developed skills in English will be able to benefit from the course. Other languages will be added once the initial student numbers justify the addition of non-English versions of the course.
The course has also been developed taking into consideration varying cultural perspectives and special needs. It is designed to be inclusive of a global audience in terms of cultural, gender, ethnic, and related learner characteristics.