This guide helps Catholic School principals and teachers get started using Equipped Online Formation.
The basis of the Equipped Online Formation platform is Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Catechetical Institute (CI), an online learning management system that delivers training workshops for many vital parish ministries such as PSR, RCIA, and Youth Ministry, and Catholic School Teachers.
The teacher spiritual formation alternates between CCO Faith Studies in the Fall semester and Equipped Online Formation workshops during the Spring semester.
The cost for an organization, like a parish or Catholic School, to use CI for one year is $300. However, this year the workshops are free for every parish in the diocese through a grant from the Missouri State Council Knights of Columbus.
Rather than specify a set number of workshops to take for a certification, we’re taking a different approach–ongoing formation. This is a small commitment to continuing education that lasts as long as a person remains active as a teacher.
Because formation needs aren’t static but change and grow, we believe ministry skills should continue to grow, as well. We recommend teachers engage in one to two workshops per year.
How to Get Started
Step 1: Create a Free Account
All participating faculty must have an individual account, even if you plan to watch the videos together as a small (or large) group and discuss them in person. This is necessary to track progress and use the reporting functions within the software.
Definitely, if you are planning to ask participating faculty to access online content such as watching videos prior to the learning session, or doing the online tasks and submitting work before or after sessions, they need to have an individual account.
Visit our web page Catechetical Institute Signup Instruction Guide for a detailed screenshot tutorial on how to create free accounts covered under the Knights of Columbus grant. It can be a little tricky to find the right option.
If you follow this guide, you won’t have to pay.
Please note: If you don’t have an account for each learner, they will not be able to use the mentoring/learner input function discussed later in this guide.
Step 2: Assign a leader
Someone from your school must serve as the institutional leader for the account. A leader has overall control of the organization’s account and controls back end functions like designating and assigning mentors, as well as account maintenance.
The leader can also view stats on who’s taking what workshop and how much they’ve completed.
There can be more than one institutional leader per account. This is usually the principal, or someone assisting them, or both. Pastors often like to be leaders as well to personally see how training is going.
To become an institutional leader, you must first have an individual account assigned to the appropriate parish. Once you’re registered, contact Jerri Dowdy: 816-714-2324, or email: email@example.com. She can make that change.
Once you are a leader, you can assign other leaders within your parish’s account.
Step 3: Onboard your learners
As mentioned earlier, everyone will need their own individual account.
Again, consult the signup instruction guide for creating new accounts.
Step 4: Assign mentors
For group facilitators/mentors, there are three workshops in the Foundations of Pastoral Accompaniment Track that could be helpful for understanding the mentor’s role and gaining mentoring skills (if you find that these workshops would be useful for your faculty’s needs, you may choose to use one with them as well):
- Being Guided & Guiding Souls
- Building the Mentoring Relationship: Empathic Listening
- Building the Mentoring Relationship: Asking Good Questions
These workshops can be located by scrolling to the bottom of your Dashboard page. In the “Start Learning” section, you will find a column entitled “Workshops.”
Enter the name of the workshop for which you are searching in the “Search by Title” box. Once located, it can be bookmarked to easily find again later in that same section.
If you find another course, not suggested above, that you think will fill your needs, please contact us for guidance.
Please note: if any of the school mentors need help from a diocesan mentor to get started or want to be accompanied through these workshops by a diocesan mentor, contact our office.
Step 5: Decide Which Workshops to Take
Feel free to use this system in whatever way works best for your faculty’s needs.
To help you decide on workshops, ask these questions:
- What do you think your teachers most need to learn? What would you like them to learn?
- Ask your teachers: What do they most need to learn? What would they like to learn?
If you would like to learn how to teach Scripture more effectively, then you might choose to begin with workshops on Scripture. If your faculty needs to learn more about doctrine or the Catechism, you might plan a Catechism workshop.
Here are a few great beginning choices:
- The Mission of Catholic Schools and the Role of Teachers
- The Sacramental Economy
- The Kerygma: Key Doctrines
- Christ: His Person & Works
- Jesus: The Christocentricity of Catechesis
- Praying with Scripture: Lectio Divina
- Teaching Catechesis for Conversion
- Sacred Scripture: The Big Picture
- Scripture: The Heart of Catechesis
- The Deposit of Faith: Introduction to the Catechism
- The Trinity
- Magisterial, Conciliar & Catechetical Documents I
We recommend having your teachers take two workshops per year.
Also, you should encourage teachers to take workshops that interest them. The entire catalog of workshops is open to all participants.
There are more advanced catechetical workshops and philosophy, as well as workshops for parents on how hand on the Faith to their children and general doctrinal topics.
Step 6: Decide How to Organize Training Groups
Flipped Classroom Model
In the Flipped Classroom model, learners watch the videos and answer the tasks on their own, then come together as a group to discuss them with the mentor.
If the group is small, it would be all the teachers together with their group facilitator/mentor leading discussion.
If you have a larger group of teachers and more than one mentor, they could meet in separate groups.
Regular Classroom Model
In this model, everything is done together as a group.
The teachers all meet and watch the videos together. Then, they discuss the tasks as a group, or in groups, without any prior work being done.
Experiment with these different options and find what works best for you and your group.