Extension News

ISU Online Parenting Course Features Parent-Professional Collaboration


AMES, Iowa – Professionals who work with parents one-on-one or in groups can boost their knowledge and skills through Partnering with Parents, an online course from Iowa State University.


The course explores parenting practices in the United States over the past century as well as current trends. Topics covered include cultural influences on parenting, child-rearing strategies, parent-child relationships, stages and challenges of parenting, as well as feeding children, examining curricula and measuring program outcomes.


“Partnering with Parents promotes recommended practices for parent-professional collaboration,” said Kimberly Greder, ISU assistant professor and developer of the course. “Part of our approach is to help people learn activities that they immediately can put into action, and then discuss how things worked with others in the course.”


Participants will examine their own parenting perspectives and how they influence their work with families, Greder said. They’ll learn how to apply the six critical parenting practices identified in the National Extension Parent Education Model, as well as gain knowledge and skills to more effectively work with parents. Practical, hands-on learning activities will be incorporated that participants can use in their work with families. Learning tools include chat rooms, discussion boards, e-journals, videostreams, surveys and quizzes, virtual small group assignments and brief reflection papers.


The class will be offered completely online June through November 2006. Each of 11 modules will be covered in consecutive two-week periods. The course is available for undergraduate and graduate credit as well as continuing education units in various delivery modes. The three-credit online course is available as Human Development and Family Studies 493B/593B, section XW.


Maryellen Miller of suburban Philadelphia, Pa., took the online course in 2004. “It was information I could use right away,” she said. “The class had a lot on cultural diversity in families and how, as parenting educators, we need to tune in and respect the diversities. It’s part of the responsibility of an educator.” Miller said the chat rooms, e-mail and discussion boards helped round out the course.


Greder said the course was designed for individuals who work directly with parents such as family support workers, parenting educators, school counselors, teachers, Head Start staff, social workers, ministers, community action employees, public health nurses and a variety of health-care professionals.


For registration information about the online course as well as other learning options, see the Partnering with Parents Web site


Contacts :

Kimberly Greder, Human Development and Family Studies, (515) 294-5906, kgreder@iastate.edu

Laura Sternweis, Continuing Education and Communication Services, (515) 294-0775, lsternwe@iastate.edu