Educator Courses

Designing for Online Learning: Relationships

  • Dates

    October 19 - 23, 2020
  • Cost for members

  • Cost for non-members


    Registration closes October 15 at 7pm ET.

    Course Description

    In any learning environment, intentional and empathetic attention to relationships is essential for learning. Designing for Online Learning: Relationships is a one-week course for educators interested in prioritizing relationships and student support in online settings. We will explore transferable practices and strategies that apply across both in-person and distance learning. This course is an expansion of our one week course called Designing for Online Learning (DfOL). Designing for Online Learning is not a prerequisite.

    Designing for Online Learning: Relationships will explore the following essential questions that educators may ask as they design learning experiences:

    • Why does prioritizing student relationships matter and how do I design for relationships?
    • How are building trust, knowing your students deeply, and challenging all students acts of equity?
    • How might my students develop and maintain meaningful, collaborative communities online?

    We will examine how despite sharing different spaces and places, students and teachers can build communities that care and learn together. We will cover intentional approaches to course design that foster connections, collaboration, and wellness. We will provide examples from both GOA’s Student Program and from the field. We will also provide you with prompts and strategies for getting started on designing for relationships in online spaces. You will have the opportunity to leverage a global network to connect with educators from all over the world and to share different approaches to designing for relationships in online settings.

    In this course, you will:

    • Examine why knowing students, prioritizing relationships, and support over accountability are essential for equity
    • Explore and apply resources, strategies, and tools for designing for connections and collaboration
    • Choose from design challenges to practice strategies that promote community, collaboration, wellness, and equity
    • Collaborate with educators across GOA’s global network, share your expertise, and ask questions to learn how other educators are designing for relationships in contexts different from your own

    What the course is

    This is a practical one-week course for educators looking to design for relationships in online learning settings. This course is meant to provide strategies, resources, and frameworks for approaching community, collaboration, wellness, and equity.

    What the course is not

    While we try to draw on a multitude of examples, this course is not meant to provide content-specific training. This course is about frameworks and approaches that can be implemented widely.

    This is a one week course with many educators from around the world. While we aspire to be able to live out fully the methods we espouse in terms of creating authentic connections and building community, we want to acknowledge that the purpose of this course is not to create a robust community in one week (which would be impossible with the volume of participants) but rather to offer resources and strategies to empower you to design for relationships in your own student communities.

    A note on audience and scope

    We draw on GOA’s secondary school program for some of our inspiration and strategies in this course’s content. While examples may be aligned to middle and high school students, with adaptations, all grade level educators can leverage this experience to thoughtfully design for relationships.
    With this course, we acknowledge that we are making some assumptions about access to technology, and, depending on your school context, you may face some constraints when it comes to the online learning tools and strategies you can employ. To address digital equity concerns, we've tried to offer a range of ideas for you to choose from. For more information on digital equity, see the Consortium for School Networking's toolkit.

    What to expect

    Click on our short video below to hear us address some of the frequently asked questions and learn what to expect if you are taking a course with us this summer.


    What to Expect When Taking a GOA Professional Learning Course: Summer 2020

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How much time should I expect to spend in the course?

    We anticipate 45-60 minutes each day of the course, Monday through Friday, or about 3-5 hours. We will keep the course open after the course ends so that educators can continue to use the resources.

    When does this course start and when does it end?

    The course opens Monday, July 27 and closes officially on Friday, July 31. The course will remain open until August 14 for participants to continue to peruse resources.

    When should I register?

    Now. Registration will close once we are full. We expect high demand and will offer the course again if necessary. Please do not delay in registering. If you register and then CANNOT attend, let us know, and we can then offer your place to another educator.

    What technological requirements does this course have?

    This course will take place in GOA’s Canvas instance. It’s very likely your existing set-up has all of the specifications you need to participate. For a precise list see here. Also, please note as of March 2020, Canvas is not supported in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and the region of Crimea.

    What additional resources for school closure and online learning are available?

    Please see GOA's COVID-19 Resource page for the most up to date resources.

    Have additional questions? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more specifically about how our courses work and what to expect. You may also email and we will try to respond to you as quickly as we are able.

    To sign up for additional professional learning opportunities, check out all of our educator courses.

    Follow along with us as we share insights, ideas, and updates about this course on Twitter @GOALearning and using #GOALearning.

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