March 27, 2021

Building Cohort Course Communities

๐ŸŽ™ We hosted our first 'Rosieland Radio' as part of our Rosieland Adventure course cohort.

It's all a bit meta and all about cohort course communities.

Thanks to Erin, Khe, Jackie and Tom for participating.


Cohort based learning is just community based learning โ€” Erin Mikail Staples

"The issue I have with growth is that it often comes from the wrong place. It doesn't put the people at the heart of growth, which is what is needed when it comes to communities." โ€” Rosie Sherry

Commenting on Erin's community habits... "30 slack channels, 15 discord, circle ... hilarious :D" โ€” Tom Gabriel

Here are a few things we covered (from memory):

How should cohorts be structured?

  • Should they be for a specific period of time?
  • How can people meet? IRL, how often, what kind of structure should exist?
  • What kind of expectations should be set up front? If any.
  • What does the long term picture look like? Should people keep in touch? How can we help support that? Should we even feel obliged to?

Should a cohort be for a set length of time or set up with the intention of running indefinitely?

  • How do you structure it indefinitely?
  • How should they be faciliated?
  • Is it really (financially) sustainable to offer indefinite support?
  • Does it become overwhelming to manage things in our spare time?

How to prevent churn, seek participation, or just keep students engaged

  • Manually track actions that students do, then use the data to do extra reach out.
  • Some students prefer not to participate, or are just unable to, and that's ok.
  • Covered discussions around being human, having differing needs and styles of learning. This included neurodiversity.
  • Keeping in touch, sending out communications, round ups
  • Create different formats of content to accommodate differing learning styles

Some other points:

  • Cohorts are pop up communities, how can we embrace this? How can we keep in touch longer term?
  • Khe mentioned how when he started community was a bolt on, but over time it became more integrated. Over time some students became mentors, stepped up to do some presentations, etc.
  • Rosie spoke about Ministry of Testing, how annual and regular IRL events and conferences are really just cohorts, without being called that. People could opt in to join whenever they could, and the community was there all year around to support them in other ways.
—Rosie Sherry