The State of Nebraska requires parents who are divorcing, seeking custody modification or never married and seeking custody to take a class. In responding to the need for these classes, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension has provided training for 10,057 parents caring for approximately 18,102 children since 1999. For approximately the first 12 years, all training was conducted onsite. In January 2012 the Nebraska Supreme Court approved the use of online technologies for such training.
Seeing this as an opportunity, and knowing of some other online courses offered by Nebraska educators through campus.extension.org, Cynthia Strasheim and Maureen Burson, Nebraska Extension Educators, sought the help of eXtension to put the course online. With the further involvement by other Extension educators, as well as staff of Nebraska Educational Television, the Co-Parenting for Successful Kids course went live in late January 2012, reaching 869 parents in 2012. For comparison, their continued onsite training efforts reached 983 in 2012.
The online class using eXtension’s Moodle course management system includes video examples and instruction, interactive pages and chapter reviews. The distinguishing characteristic of the course, however, is the level of involvement by its teachers. Participants are required to complete a number of assignments, but because the submissions are qualitative in nature, Nebraska Extension Educators including Strasheim and Burson, as well as Mary Nelson and Deanna Vansickel, provide personalized responses and feedback to every submission. In those responses, they make extensive use of Extension research based resources such as those provided by the eXtension “Just In Time Parenting” community. When students complete the course, the University of Nebraska provides the participants with a certificate that is recognized and honored by Nebraska courts.
The participants have evaluated the course with comments including “The mix of journal entries, quizzes and videos made the information sink in” and “I was able to continue my normal day to day duties as a mom without trying to schedule a class somewhere with a busy schedule.” These comments point both to the value of the rich set of learning tools available at eXtension’s online campus, as well as its availability for anyone in the public to enroll and use the system at any time.
Co-Parenting for Successful Kids is a fee based course, but if you would like guest access to view it, or have other questions about it, contact Cynthia Strasheim at cstrasheim1@unl or Maureen Burson at email@example.com.
For information about how Moodle might contribute to your own educational efforts, contact the eXtension Moodle help desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.