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Getting Started Orientation- BEGIN HERE [Sept. 18, 2011, 6:20 p.m.]

  Getting Started / Orientation

Welcome to Student Engagement on P2PU!  Before jumping into the course content, please take a few minutes to review the information on this page which will help get you off to a great start.

New to Online Learning?

If you are new to online learning, take a moment to read over these helpful links:

Tips for Online Success, Illinois Online Network
This is a list of ten important tips to ensure your success when taking an online course. 

Self-Evaluation for Potential Online Students, Illinois Online Network
This short, twelve-question tutorial helps you determine how ready you are for an online course.


New to P2PU?

Reading over the following information will help you get acquainted with P2PU and this course.

  About P2PU

The Peer 2 Peer University is a grassroots open education project that organizes learning outside of institutional walls and gives learners recognition for their achievements. P2PU creates a model for lifelong learning alongside traditional formal higher education. Leveraging the internet and educational materials openly available online, P2PU enables high-quality low-cost education opportunities. P2PU - learning for everyone, by everyone about almost anything!

The following values and principles are the foundation of P2PU: openness, community, peer learning. We are articulating these values in order to guide our actions, but P2P has always been about doing, and our actions will in turn help us probe and refine these values.

P2PU is open: Open sharing and collaboration enable participation, innovation, and accountability. Our community is open so that everyone can participate. Our content is open so that everyone can use it. Our model and technology are open to enable experimentation and ongoing improvement. And our processes are open so that we are accountable to our community.

P2PU is a community: P2PU is a community-centric project and our governance model reflects that. P2PU is driven by volunteers, who are involved in all aspects of the project. As members of this community, we speak and act with civility, tolerance, and respect for other opinions, people, and perspectives. We strive for quality as a community driven process of review, feedback and revision.

P2PU is passionate about peer learning: P2PU is teaching and learning by peers for peers. Everyone has something to contribute and everyone has something to learn. We are all teachers and we are all learners. We take responsibility for our own and each others learning.

[This information was adapted from "About P2PU" and from Valerie Weagle at P2PU Differentiating Instruction.]

  Navigating the Course

P2PU courses are organized via a list of "Tasks."  On the homepage of a course, you will see all of the Tasks for a course when you scroll down on the left.  You will also see the first Tasks on the list in the center of the page, and can click to view all of the tasks there as well.  Within these tasks is where the bulk of the learning will take place in this course.

The Tasks for this course have been divided into weeks and some of the weeks have sub tasks named "Week 1A, Week 1B, etc. This enables us to use the comment feature beneath each task to have discussions.  Each week's "tasks" will include the following:

  • Readings--brief articles/blogs designed to give you some background information and ideas on the topic of the week.

  • Activities--short web-based activities designed to further engage you with the week's subject matter (these may include watching videos, exploring resources, adding your thinking to a graphic organizer, etc.)

  • Discussions--each week a question or questions are posed to the group for consideration and course participants are expected to actively engage in conversation around the given topic. Discussions will take place by using the comments and reply feature available within each task.  

  • Try It Out--some weeks will include a try-it out assignment where you are to try out some aspect of our learning in your instructional environment and then return to share and discuss your experience with the rest of the group. 


For a video introduction to navigating P2PU, please click on the video below:



  Updating Your Profile

Not surprisingly, one of the main goals of P2PU and of this course is fostering peer-to-peer collaboration.  As such, it is important for you to engage directly with the P2PU community and one way in which to do that is update your profile to include a picture and relevent information about you.  This can be purely professional or include personal hobbies and goals.  The level at which you share is entirely up to you.

To update your profile complete the following steps:

  • On the top right of the screen, open the dropdown menu under the "My P2PU" tab and choose "Edit Profile"
  • Click on the descriptors on the left to update various parts of your profile.  You need not fill out everything, but should minimally include an image (either of you or something you want to represent you), your location, and something in the "About Me" section.


To watch a video of this being done, click on the video link below:


  Making Goals for Yourself

You are here because you have expressed an interest in this content and in learning with and from your peers.  While the course itself has structure and expectations, there is also a lot of flexibility built-in to make this a personalized learning experience.  You will get out of this course only as much as you put into it so take some time now to consider the following:

  • What are my goals for participating in this course?
  • How will I hold myself accountable to these goals?
  • What do I need to make this learning experience a success for me?


  While there will be no formal grades assigned in this course, learning communities work best when everyone contributes to the community so by signing up for this course you are commiting to taking an active role in this learning community.


Your First Assignments!

1.  Please familiarize yourself with the information on this page and on the Syllabus.


2.  Please introduce yourself by using the comments feature in this task area. 


3. Please read over the agreements page in Orientation 2 so that we all can arrive at a set of norms that will keep our community actively learning and positive.

4.  Get started with the content of our course by completing the activities on the Week One task page.

Icons by Axialis Team




 What is there to use here on P2PU?  

Well, if you have made it this far you already see  the comment features (with edit features when the course portion is collaborative) , the course title (with blue hierarchy-navigation below title), description, and syllabus.  You may not have noticed the  easy course navigation on the left side of the screen?  Also please note the save button at the bottom of the edit screen. In addition, P2P offers help in the form of an ongoing blog about new features (see navigation bar across top), and a FAQ area (see navigation along bottom).

Feel free to use the comment area for this task to share what you notice about P2PU and or ask questions to learn how to navigate and use the course. Notice that we have conversations by using the comment and reply features at each task. Private messages are also available at each person's profile page.

Finally, on this page we can experiment with the wiki-sort of feature on P2PU that allows us to even collaborate in the writing of the course.  If you have ideas to add to how to use or how to find or what is available, just add your thoughts right into this text wherever your thoughts seem to fit. You may do this by selecting the edit button at the top.  Some tasks will be editable by all participants and others will not. When the task is editable, the edit task bar will be available to participants.


 What will we be using that is not part of the P2PU platform?

Google docs- You will be directed to add to google documents online through a link in the course assignments. Once there, you will see the normal tools of any writing program (text features, edit, etc.).  You may add columns and rows to tables where it seems needed. You may add text.  Save in the google save bar and the document will be shared and available to all participants online.

YouTube- I will embed relevant Youtube videos for the class to share and discuss. Creative souls may want to video-tape their answers (rather than type) during our class discussions using the comments feature.  If you videotape, you may embed the video into the comments box using this button:

Blogging-Blogs are great places to store your thinking and can provide feedback on your thinking through your audience.  Ongoing reflective writing is an excellent strategy to use to increase what you get from any learning experience.  I would suggest starting a blog at, blogger or a blog site of your choice.  Another option would be to keep a journal and track your thiking/change of thinking in that way. Here is my blog link for those interested in tracking my thinking as we go through this course.


My suggestion for blogging/journaling as you go through this course, is to periodically stop and blog (or journal) to the following prompts:

  • What do I think about engagement? 

  • Has my thinking changed and how?


Course Culminating Project:

As part of this course you are asked to complete a final project.  Throughout the course I will be asking you to try things out in your classroom and share your results with this group.  The final project will build on that learning by asking you to complete a lesson plan that incorporates your learning from this course, into a plan of action to address student engagement in the classroom. The link below provides a template for thinking about and designing your lesson plan. 

Lesson Plan


Your lesson plan will be shared with all participants, and will be reviewed and examined from the perspective of this rubric:

Lesson Plan Rubric


Choice is an important element of learning engagement.  If this culminating project is not as useful to your learning as another possible project, please contact me with your idea for a culminating project that demonstrates your learning in the area of "student engagement."

You are officially done with orientation and ready to begin your journey into STUDENT ENGAGEMENT. Head for Week 1 Tasks!