Second round: intro

I started a second round of courses in the fall of 2019. This time, because some people already had met in person, I did more of the preparation online, including the following:

  • A series of emails, one for each step
  • A shared Google Doc for gathering course ideas
  • An online survey to gather course interest

Below are the emails I sent. On the next page I share the surveys. The Google doc got a little too messy to share, but it has the same kind of information that you’ll find in this list.


I had already sent another email to the Lexington email list and Facebook group, and gathered all the interested people into a Google Group mailing list. Here’s the opening message I sent to the group:

Email 1

Subject: Our first steps towards taking a course together

Welcome again!
For choosing a course, we’ll take it in three steps:

1. First, we’ll get input from as many of you as possible on courses or general topics you’re interested in. We’ll collect your ideas on a shared Google doc. I’ll create that document and share it.
***I’ll send another email this afternoon about this.
2. Once we have that candidate list of courses, I’ll do an online poll to get everyone’s level of interest in each proposed course. This won’t be decisive, but it will help narrow the field.
3. We’ll then set up an in-person meeting, probably at the library, where as many of us as possible can attend to meet each other and choose the course (or courses!) and form groups in person. While it might sound like it could be chaotic, last time, I was really happy how well this went!

To prep for this meeting, we’ll do another poll to find the best meeting time for everyone. Even if you can’t make it, I’ll keep you in the loop as much as possible.

Talk soon!


Email 2

Subject: First step: Need your interests or course ideas!

So, our first big step is to create a good list of candidate courses — the brainstorming phase. There’s a starter list here:
[Link to Google Doc editable by all]
It includes some candidates from our first round, and a couple that I just added.

However, *please* just use that as a seed. I’m really interested in your interests. So please don’t be shy — you can reply to this list with your general interests (and introduce yourself in as much or little detail as you’d like) and I can help find courses, or you can find courses on Coursera or EdX or somewhere else. There’s an *amazing* variety of interesting courses out there — so let’s make it a rich set of candidates.
You can either post links to the list, or if you’re ambitious, go ahead and add similar entries to the above document.
I know some of you are anxious to get going on a course, but I’d really like to have this part be just as participative as the rest. So, deadline is end of day Saturday, and we’ll move on to a poll regarding courses. Sound good? Feel free to post replies to this message either to the list or me personally.


Email 3

Subject: The course suggestions are in. On to the next step!

Thank you all for participating, and kudos to those of you who posted your personal introductions — so interesting! — over the past week.  Extra credit to you who edited the Google doc with course ideas. 
[Link to same Google Doc]

So, we’re on to the next step. Tomorrow, I’ll create an online survey where you’ll share your level of interest in the courses listed on the document above. You’ll have three days to respond to that.

At the same time, I’ll set up a poll to coordinate a meeting at Cary Library (while checking Cary room availability) where we meet each other and choose our courses.  That’s the next fun part!

Best regards,