As you navigate through the revised United Fresh Start website, you will notice the introduction of one pilot eModule. We are testing out whether eModules can be an appropriate way for community of faith leaders to engage with the United Fresh Start material. When the United Fresh Start program was adopted in 2014, the intention was that modules would be presented in-person. About 150 facilitators have been trained to host the modules in congregational or regional groups. Each module is designed to take between 2 and 3 hours for the presentation of the material and conversation plenary and small groups. However, from the outset, the United Fresh Start project team recognized the potential for modifying the modules for an online, e-learning format so that the program could have a broader reach. As online technologies have advanced, as travel has become more costly, and as the pandemic of 2020 created a new urgency, we have decided to move ahead with the creation of United Fresh Start “eModules” beginning with one of the core modules, Transition. Since the primary intention of United Fresh Start is to give Community of Faith leaders a common framework and common language about key leadership issues, the design of the eModules is to enable conversation and co-learning. They are not intended to be used in isolation. Therefore we suggest three possible models for using them.
- Create a cohort of participants in your community of faith or region to work through the eModule individually and then follow up with a conversation using a video conferencing platform (like Zoom, RingCentral Video, Skype, Google Meet, etc.). Reflections are included to form the basis of group discussion.
- After the pandemic: Create a cohort of participants in your community of faith or region who work through the eModule individually and then meet in person to discuss the content of the eModule.
- After the pandemic: Create a cohort of participants in your community of faith or region who gather in person and watch the videos on a large screen, pausing at the points where there is a reflection to complete and discuss
While we recommend that you engage the eModules in community, where that is not possible, there is still value in working through the modules on your own. The Transitions eModule is the first one and we look forward to receiving feedback on your experience with this initial eModule. As we receive feedback and hear more about how they are being used by communities of faith, we will begin to build a few more eModules.