2018 Participant-Led Online Course Assessment
In response to the growing demand for civil resistance education, ICNC offered our second participant-led online course, Civil Resistance Struggles: How Ordinary People Win Rights, Freedom, and Justice in the Spring of 2018. The course ran from February 8th-March 29th. The course content was based off of our popular ICNC/Rutgers online course with some modifications and updates, in particular to the group work. To learn more about ICNC/Rutgers and previous online courses, please click here.
To learn more about the participant-led course, use the side menu to navigate to each section of this page.
Application, Admissions, and Course Participants
ICNC received a record number of applications in 2018, with 141 applications, in comparison to 97 applications in 2017. Out of those 141 applicants, ICNC selected 58 participants to join the course. Among the 58 accepted applicants, there were 31 women and 27 men.
As part of our commitment to offering civil resistance education to a global audience, these participants came from 31 different countries. The top three regions were: North America, Europe, and Asia.
Although the participants came from diverse professional backgrounds, the majority of them identified as NGO professionals, activists, and academics. This created a course environment where participants were able to share about the work that they were doing and use practical, real-life examples in the discussion forums.
The surveys conducted during the orientation webinars before the course began showed that the participants, next to learning about general dynamics, concepts and cases of civil resistance, also wanted to gain practical knowledge on how to organize civil resistance campaigns more effectively and share their own on-the-ground experience with other learners. There were two webinars organized, each joined by a different group of admitted participants (16 and 21 respectively).
Participant-Led Course Guidelines
A unique feature of this course was that participants were expected to create a Self-Learning Community. There was no outside moderation or input from ICNC staff during the course, with the exception of resolving technical issues. This structure allowed and, in fact, necessitated participants to take initiative, as was demonstrated when participants would contact other participants who had not been active in discussions or in the group work.
Participants were expected to spend between 7 and 10 hours per week in the online classroom, or a minimum of 1 hour per day for the full duration of the course on reviewing materials, posting comments about the readings and assigned videos, and interacting with/responding to other participants’ posts.
To ensure that the Self-Learning Community was a beneficial experience for everyone involved, participants were expected to adhere to the following guidelines:
- Respect each other’s points of view;
- Share comments that relate to forum questions;
- Focus on the phenomenon of civil resistance. If you find your conversations with others going onto other topics that are not directly related to the course, then you should take those conversations outside of the course (i.e. over email, Facebook, phone, etc.) or in the special “Community Conversations” forum;
- Review assigned material (readings/videos) included in the course chapters before responding to questions raised in the forums;
- Keep an open mind and maintain a desire to learn from others. People in the community may have strong perspectives, but do not dismiss others simply because they have a different perspective;
- Focus on debating ideas, and separate people from ideas in the process. If you disagree with an idea, don’t attack the person who posted the idea personally, or make assumptions about their motives;
- Back up your ideas, criticism and arguments with references to authoritative and verified sources or experience;
- In addition to the readings in the online course, refer to other source materials to support your statements or as a background information to the point you are making;
- Read carefully and in their entirety posts made by other people before replying to them;
- If something is not clear in someone else’s comment, do not hesitate to ask for clarifications and further explanations;
- Present various possible arguments that might be made around the discussed issue;
- Write as concisely as possible while still being clear;
- Post regularly to the required forums and catch up as soon as possible with your comments on the scheduled forums that you have not yet posted;
- Formulate your thoughts and ideas in clear language. Assume that other participants will not have any knowledge about the case that you are elaborating on;
- Share first-hand accounts and stories from your personal and professional work, study, or activity that pertain to the discussed subject matter;
- Humor, encouragement, praise, constructive criticism, and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes are the most effective way to engage with others and facilitate informed discussions that do not exclude anyone;
- No profanity or personal insults;
- Do not hesitate to report any inappropriate, offensive or vulgar posts to the course administrators;
- Unless there is a personal or family emergency, you should not abandon your learning community of fellow participants and go silent for the whole week (an average duration of the module);
- Do not be tardy with posting during the week as this negatively affects your and other participants’ learning progress;
- Do not copy and paste from outside sources when you write in forums. Use your own wording and vocabulary, though feel free to cite authoritative and verifiable sources.
- Do not share discussion posts or comments made by other participants outside of the course without the explicit permission of the author.
Even though we have never had any problems of the following kind during our previous online course interactions, we want to make sure that participants:
The participant-led course consisted of 1 introductory module, 6 content modules, and 1 final evaluation module. The content featured videos and readings from ICNC staff and civil resistance scholars/activists. After reviewing the required readings and videos, participants would then share their thoughts and questions with each other in discussion forums. A new feature in this year’s course was the interactive group work that participants were expected to complete. Participants held video conferences and drafted campaign plans together. See below for an outline of each module
Module 1. Welcome and Introductions
In Module 1, participants met each other and introduced themselves in discussion forums. They reviewed the Self-Learning Community guidelines and took a Pre-Seminar Learning Gains Survey.
Module 2. Foundation of Civil Resistance
In this module, participants started off by learning about the basic dynamics of civil resistance. They examined different models and theories of power as well as analyzed the effectiveness of civil resistance. Before moving on to Module 3, participants were required to take a quiz and demonstrate their knowledge on Module 2’s content.
Module 3. Civil Resistance Media Coverage: Group Work
The first group work module focused on how civil resistance campaigns can use media coverage to their advantage. After watching several videos on media and civil resistance, participants held video conferences to discuss media and communication strategies. They also shared their own experiences in the discussion forums. Their group assignment for Module 3 was to draft a media/communication strategy plan for a civil resistance campaign.
Module 4. Strategies and Tactics of Civil Resistance
Module 4 focused on the various strategies and tactics involved in civil resistance. Participants studied the Nashville Lunch Counter Campaign as a case study. They also were introduced to cultural resistance tactics and conflict analysis tools.
Module 5. Repression and Backfire, Defections, Violent Flank
In Module 5, participants were introduced to the concepts of repression and backfire. They also covered strategies that civil resistance movements can use to cause defections and to prevent violent flanks.
Module 6. Anti-Corruption Campaign Strategy: Group Work
In their second group work module, participants studied anti-corruption campaigns. They held video conferences to discuss different strategies and tactics and shared their own experiences in discussion forums. Their group assignment for Module 6 was to develop an in-depth strategy for a anti-corruption campaign.
Module 7. New Frontiers in Civil Resistance
The course concluded with Module 7 and discussed new topics in civil resistance such as the role of women, civil resistance in war-torn environments, and civil resistance against corporations.
After completing the course, participants took a Post-Seminar Learning Gains Survey and a Final Evaluation. Results from those surveys can be found further down in this report.
Learning Gains Survey Results
Included below are the graphed responses to selected questions from the learning gains survey (conducted among the same group of participants that took both surveys) that demonstrate the extent of the knowledge gains from before and after the course.
The Pre-Seminar Learning Gains survey was completed by 37 participants and Post-Seminar Learning Gains survey by 29 participants. The comparative results from Pre and Post-Seminar surveys, included in the graphs below, are based on the responses of 24 participants that filled out both surveys. To see the full results of the Learning Gains surveys, please click here.
1.On a scale of 1-5, select the number that best represents your current knowledge of civil resistance or nonviolent movements.
- 79% of post-seminar respondents selected “4” or “5” in comparison to 25% of pre-seminar respondents who selected “4” or “5”. This reflects an increase in the number of participants who have an extensive knowledge of civil resistance or nonviolent movements.
- 33% of pre-seminar respondents selected “1” or “2”, whereas 4% of the post-seminar respondents selected “1” or “2”. This shows a decrease in the number of participants who have limited knowledge about civil resistance.
2. On a scale of 1-5, identify your comfort level in speaking to others about civil resistance or nonviolent movements.
- 91% of post-seminar respondents selected “4” or “5” in comparison to only 41% of pre-seminar respondents who chose “4 or “5”. This shows that participants gained confidence during the course and the majority of them are comfortable talking about civil resistance and nonviolent movements.
- 41% of pre-seminar respondents selected “1” or “2” whereas 4% of the post-seminar respondents selected “1” or “2”. This reflects that the number of participants who felt uncomfortable talking about civil resistance decreased significantly by the end of the course.
3. On a scale of 1-5, identify your comfort level in participating in civil resistance or in a nonviolent movement.
- 83% of post-seminar respondents selected “4” or “5” in comparison to 70% of pre-seminar respondents who chose “4 or “5”. This shows that participants gained confidence during the course and the majority of them are comfortable participating in civil resistance and nonviolent movements.
- 12% of pre-seminar respondents selected “1” or “2” whereas 0 of the post-seminar respondents selected “1” or “2”. This reflects that the participants who were uncomfortable with participating in civil resistance before the course now feel comfortable with civil resistance participation.
4. On a scale of 1-5, identify your comfort level in leading civil resistance actions as part of a nonviolent campaign/movement.
- 83% of post-seminar respondents selected “4” or “5” in comparison to 49% of pre-seminar respondents who chose “4 or “5”. This shows that participants gained confidence during the course and the majority of them are comfortable leading civil resistance campaigns and nonviolent movements.
9. On a scale of 1-5, select the number that best represents your view on how successful you think civil resistance campaigns against repressive states have been in the past.
- 78% of post-seminar respondents selected “4” or “5” in comparison to 49% of pre-seminar respondents who chose “4 or “5”. This shows that after the course, participants believed civil resistance was more effective against repressive states than they did before the course.
12. On a scale of 1-5, select the number that best represents your view about how important you think strategic planing is in a successful civil resistance movement.
- 91% of post-seminar respondents selected “5” in comparison to 79% of pre-seminar respondents who selected “5”. This shows that the number of participants who felt that strategic planning was extremely important increased after the course.
13. On a scale of 1-5, select the number that best represents your view about how important you think participation is in a successful civil resistance movement.
- 100% of post-seminar respondents selected “5” in comparison to only 79% of pre-seminar respondents who chose “5”. This reflects that the participants who previously felt participation was important now view it as being extremely important.
20. How do you envision applying the knowledge that you gained from this course? (Participants could choose multiple answers).
- 75% of both post-seminar and pre-seminar respondents plan to apply their knowledge in teaching, educating, or training others.
- 70% of post-seminar respondents plan to use their knowledge directly in nonviolent campaigns in comparison to 62% of pre-seminar respondents.
Overall, the Pre-Seminar and Post-Seminar Learning Gains Surveys showed that participants completed the course with a better understanding of the intricacies and dynamics of civil resistance. They understood civil resistance both as a broad term and in the specific elements that are consistent in effective civil resistance, such as using strategies and tactics, nonviolent discipline, and the importance of wide participation.
Final Evaluation Results
Included below are select graphed responses to questions from the Final Course Evaluation. To see all of the graphs from the final evaluation, please click here. 30 out of 58 participants completed the final course evaluation.
Click on the links below to see the selected graphs for each section.
I. Course Content
II. Group Work
III. General Impression of the Course
IV. Knowledge Gained
V. Self-Learning Community
I. Course Content.
1.The goals of the course and its modules were clear.
- 70.7% of respondents selected “5” and 24.4% selected “4”, indicating that all of the participants found the module and course goals to be clear. None of the respondents chose “1”, “2”, or “3”.
3. Taking this online course was a positive experience.
- 78% of respondents selected “5” and 14.6% selected “4”, showing that most of them found the course to be a positive experience. Only one person selected “3” and nobody selected “1” or “2”.
II. Group Work
10. Please describe your overall experience with the group work. Were there any particular parts of the group exercise that you found especially helpful for engagement & learning or/and challenging and why?
- “I worked with a knowledgeable group and it was exceptional”
- “Group work was great. As a team member, I tried my best to collaborate with fellow team members by providing my input in two rounds of group exercise. The exchange of ideas among the team members was good learning experience.”
- “I experienced some difficulties but they were handled. I liked the diversity in the points of view and the way in which the documents resulting from the group work were compiled.”
- “Group work was really engaging and educating but it was a challenge to get a group members on board probably due to connection issues”
III. General Impression of the Course
11. The course met or exceeded my expectations.
- 50% of respondents selected “5” and 43% selected “4”, indicating that the majority felt the course met or exceeded their expectations. None of the respondents indicated that the course did not meet their expectations.
12. I would recommend this course to other people.
- 73% of respondents selected “5” and 23% selected “4”, indicating that the majority would recommend the course to other people. One survey respondent indicated they would not recommend this course to other people.
IV. Knowledge Gained
13. I now have more knowledge about civil resistance and its various topics than I had before taking the course.
- 80% of survey respondents selected “5” and 16% selected “4”, indicating that the majority felt that they had gained knowledge about civil resistance during the course.
V. Self-Learning Community
17. Course participants offered comments that helped me in my learning.
- 45% of respondents selected “5” and 23% selected “4”, showing that a majority of participants found comments from their fellow learners to be helpful during the course. 6% of respondents selected 2″, indicating that there is some room for growth in creating beneficial conversations between course participants.
21. The knowledge I gained from the course will be relevant in my current and future study/work/activities.
- 83% of survey respondents selected “5” and 13% selected “4”, showing that the majority believe that knowledge from the course will be relevant to them. None of the survey respondents indicated that knowledge from the course would be irrelevant to them.
Overall, the final evaluation showed that participants were pleased with the content and structure of the course. Participants offered insightful feedback to ICNC through the final evaluation. The interactive group work was the main section of the course that participants felt could be improved, although many also found it be beneficial.
Follow-up Survey Results
In order to measure the long-term impact of ICNC’s online courses, a follow-up survey was completed by course participants on May 25th, 2018. Out of 58 participants, 17 completed the survey. See below for selected graphs from the participant-led course follow-up survey.
- Please compare your current engagement with civil resistance (among others, through a direct practice, research and writing, or being attentive to relevant media coverage) with your level of engagement with civil resistance before the course began.
88% of respondents reported that their current engagement with civil resistance had increased from prior to the course. Almost 12% reported that their engagement was the same. None of the respondents had decreased their engagement with civil resistance.
- If you were involved in planning nonviolent campaigns before taking this course, how much more effective is your campaign planning and strategy currently? 47% of participants have much more effective campaign planning, whereas 47% had no available response, most likely because they were not involved in planning a nonviolent campaign prior to taking the course and the question was thus moot. Finally, only 5.9% stated it was as effective as before.
- Since the completion of the course, in what ways have you used the knowledge from this course? (You can select more than one answer) Almost 59% have used the knowledge obtained through the course to train or teach others. 41% have used their knowledge through reading or writing. 35.3% have used their knowledge by participating in nonviolent actions.
- Since the completion of the course, how interested are you in learning more about civil resistance? All participants, 100% have become more interested in learning about civil resistance
- Since the completion of the course, how many times have you participated in a civil resistance action? 23.5% of survey respondents have participated in civil resistance action 6-10 times, whereas 47% participated 1-5 times, and 29.5% has not participated at all
- Since the completion of the course, how many times have you shared your knowledge on civil resistance (through writings, training’s, workshops, journal articles, speaking etc.)?35.3% of participants have shared their knowledge on civil resistance six to ten times and another 41.2% shared their knowledge one to five times. 11.8% of survey respondents shared their knowledge eleven to fifteen times
- Since the completion of the course, how often have you engaged in the resistance activities below: 68% have not participated in a sit-in/occupation, 18% have participated once in the last three months. 43% of survey respondents have used creative resistance once in the last three months, 31% had used creative resistance more than once in three months and 25% did not use creative resistance at all. As far as using alternative institution building, 25% of survey respondents did not use any at all, whereas 31% have used alternative institution building more than once in three months, and 43% have used it once in three months. 7 (Cont). Since the completion of the course, how often have you engaged in the resistance activities below: Results were over 50% of participants had not engaged in the resistance activities across the board, with the exception of 25% did not organize/sign a petition. About one third of survey respondents had engaged in resistance activities once in the last three months. With the exception, 18% attended a protest/demonstration once in the last three month. Lastly, the percentages vary among those who engaged in resistance activities more than once in the last three months. 25% attended a protest/demonstration, 6% went on a strike, 6% joined a boycott, and 37% organized/signed a petition.
- One of the goals of the participant-led course was to create a self-learning community on civil resistance. Since the completion of the course, how many times have you communicated with any other course participants on issues relevant to civil resistance (including through discussion forums in the course, WhatsApp, email, Facebook, phone, face to face, etc.)? 37.5% of participants have not communicated with any other course participants on issues related to civil resistance, 25% survey respondents communicated 1-5 times with other participants, 18.8% have contacted participants 6-10 times, and 18.8% communicated 11-15 times.
- Since the completion of the course, how many times have you returned to the online course in order to consult its materials, posts and other information? A majority of participants, 75%, returned to the online course between 1-5 times. 6.3% returned 6-10 times and another 6.3% returned 11-15 times.
- Since the completion of the course, how relevant and/or valuable do you find you’re learning gains from the online course? About 44% of survey respondents stated the learning gains were more relevant and valuable than immediately after the class. 31.3% participants claim the learning gains have remained relevant and/or valuable. Lastly, 25% say the learning gains can still become relevant and valuable in the future.Overall, the survey results reveal that participants increased their engagement with civil resistance after the course. In addition, the knowledge obtained from the course has effectively given people the tools to plan their own nonviolent resistance activities. From there participants have gone on to spread their knowledge through a number of platforms, while referring back to course occasionally.
- “The participants led online course was great learning experience for me. This course not only became helpful for me at personal level, it equally proved as an effective and helpful learning to my students; since I was sharing my experience with 48 post-graduate level students in their class room during the dealing their sub-topic nonviolence and civil resistance.”- Chiranjibi Bhandari
- “This was my first online course. I was skeptical at first. But it ended up being the best decision I have ever made. I have not, in a long time, gained so much knowledge like I did while taking this course. Thank you ICNC.” – Job Mwaura
- “When I started the course I thought I knew the basics of Civic Resistance; I knew about Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Solidarity. But I was not aware of the global magnitude and impact of the Civic Resistance. This course opened my eyes to the enormous possibilities for achieving success if a good strategy is applied, there is a continuous development of tactics and a constant evaluation of the impact and effectiveness of any campaign”-Marlene Moleon
- “Through this course on nonviolent civil resistance: the length, breadth and depth of my knowledge and skills on the subject matter was honed. I am now poised towards leading a more willing, confident, and justifiable approach in redressing societal injustices, which I was hitherto, oblivious or passive about. The lessons were very interactive and enriching, especially having hobnobbed with a diverse network of like-minds across the globe”-George C. Neba
- “This was a very interesting and moving course! The content was powerful and has changed my views on many things. Before I didn’t even know that nonviolent resistance was a field, and now I became hooked to it.”-Anonymous
- “This course that ICNC has put together bridges the gap between theory and action. If you are serious about waging nonviolent civil resistance, this course allows you to meet and work with others, providing essential concepts and historical evidence of the successful use of nonviolent resistance. Interactive and challenging, the course is an encouragement to further the causes of social justice movements by empowering participants to take these tactics and organizing strategies out to society and to STIR IT UP!”- P.D.Ackerman
- “This ICNC participants-led online course isn’t just a wonderful platform for self-learning and experience sharing on the crucial issue of civil resistance. It is a world community of engaged and conscious citizens who discuss, dream, and act for a better tomorrow that is within our reach.”-Myriam Marcuello
- “This course has taken me into a journey and a refocusing of the lens which I viewed People Power. It has also worked as an important reminder of those “battles” all over the world we are fighting against oppression and injustice. During these weeks I could not only reflect on other´s countries realities but also in my own country situation. This I did with new eyes and with the analysis tools the course provided. I believe through the education materials I had the chance to update concepts and learn new ones. The objectives I had when I started this course were met, and I am ready now to use and apply in different settings, this recently acquired knowledge to continue in pursuit of justice. Thanks.”- Sandra E. Gomez
- “Good People of ICNC — Just a quick note to thank you in person for this course. The content was absolutely fantastic!!! And — as I said in my post-course learning gains survey — I came into the course seeking a broader view of the field of civil resistance (and an update on my own learning from some time ago!) as well as wishing to gain a much more extensive window into international civil resistance actions and movements, and I received both of those, handsomely. I also welcomed the objectives that you set for us and was glad to participate in those learnings as well. One major takeaway for me in both philosophy, pragmatism, and future exhortations to those engaged in nonviolence: The research-based investigation into the effectiveness of nonviolent action vs. those that engage in even low levels of violence. Now I can say with confidence that nonviolence is not only more peaceable — it’s more successful!! You folks have provided a real gift to the nonviolent community in providing this research widely….. This course is tremendous gift and empowerment for those of us seeking to affirm and extend nonviolent resistance throughout our communities. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!”-Jo Lee Loveland