Development of this Course
Why was an Online Version Developed?
The University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development, the authors of the Parents Forever™ curriculum, was contacted by the Minnesota Supreme Court in early 2011 about the possibility of creating an online version of our Parents Forever™: classes for parents. There were concerns that some parents were unable to attend in-person classes because of transportation issues and/or the availability of classes near them. While some in-person programs have closed in recent years due to budget cuts, others have been forced to combine programs and/or offer less class offerings.
Given the situation, we accepted the challenge to create an easily accessible/always available version of our Parents Forever™ classes. While we hope the in-person version of the Parents Forever™: classes will continue to thrive throughout Minnesota and beyond, the online version will always be available for those that do not have access to the in-person version or, for one reason or another, prefer an online version.
The Development Team
A team was formed to work with the Minnesota Supreme Court to create an 8-hour online version of our class. This team consisted of Family Development staff members:
- Karen Shirer, Associate Dean
- Patricia Olson, Program Area Leader
- Minnell Tralle, Extension Educator and Parents Forever™ author
- Heather Lee, Project Manager
The team also included contractors who had education and experience in online course development:
- Krista Johansen Deidrich, Instructional Designer – Stellar Interactions
- Wendy Rubinyi, Instructional Design Specialist
Additional consultation and/or assistance was provided by:
- Rose Allen, Extension Educator and Parents Forever™ author, University of Minnesota
- Ellie McCann, Extension Educator and Parents Forever™ author, University of Minnesota
- Judy Nord, Staff Attorney, Minnesota Supreme Court
- Mary Vitcenda, Editor, University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development
- Lisa Bulliard, Editor (contractor)
- Gleason Printing (design of print materials)
- Jon Fu, Graphic/Multimedia Associate, University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development
- Ruth Ellis, Web Production Assistant, University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development
The Parents Forever™ Online Course for Parents was piloted with parents and in-person class instructors late 2011 and officially opened to the public February 2012.
The Parents Forever™ Online Course for Parents is based on the Parents Forever™ Parent Handbooks. To facilitate learning, the course was broke down into seven smaller modules rather than be presented in the five larger topics covered by the parent handbooks. Like our in-person version of the classes, the online course meets the 25 minimum standards for divorce education required by Minnesota Statute 518.157.
The course is designed to engage parents through a variety of presentation styles. Depending on the individual module, parents will read content, watch videos or narrated presentations by one of the authors, listen to audio clips, complete interactive web exercises, take time to think about key issues, and/or download (or print) worksheets to complete outside of the course. The Parents Forever™ Parent Handbooks, usually distributed to parents during in-person classes, are available as free downloads within the course modules.
To ensure that parents understand the content presented in the course, parents are required to pass a brief quiz at the end of each module. Parents are required to complete and pass all course quizzes in order to successfully complete the course. Once the course is completed, a certificate of completion is automatically made available within the course for parents to download and/or print. (If courts/attorneys need additional verification besides the printed certificate of completion, confirmation of completion can also be obtained by contacting us.)