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Hooray for Yesterday's Tutor/Mentor Institute Conference!

Yesterday's day-long Tutor/Mentor conference was a great event. 18 great workshops, a hundred great attendees, a great keynote speaker, fine conference organization, and a good Panera lunch. Here's the full group with dedicated conference organizer Dan Bassill at the podium:

95 Tutors and Mentors at the Dec 7 T/M C Conference, held twice annually for the past 20 years

I especially enjoyed connecting with seven participants from St. Joseph's Youth Services on the West Side Chicago neighborhood of Austin, where I've have worked for years with The Austin Voice newspapers. Three cheers to Austin for send a contingent that was perhaps the largest group at the conference. Guys, here's the picture I promised:

L to R, Joseph Hooks, Bradly Johnson, Dan Bassill, Monique McGill, Brandon Johnson, Lorenzo Logan, Jeramie McGill and Requita Collins
Participants at the Illinois Mentoring Partnership workshop presented by Cheryl Howard Neal

And here's Cheryl Howard Neal (top left of photo) presenting to the full group:

Dan Bassill urged conference participants to spend time after the conference looking at images of maps to be found by searching Google (and Google images) for the words "tutor mentor". When you do, you'll find something like looks like this:

A search for "tutor mentor" will show something like this at Google Images

As I said in my September 22 post about Dan, he creates, and maps within maps, as his many websites (which are listed at the earlier post).  Each image-map focuses on strategy, design, distribution and other thinking needed to support the growth of non-school programs capable of attracting students, volunteers and donors, and capable as well of keeping them connected from one year to the next.

Dan also spoke of MOOCs - Massive Open Online Courses (see Wikipedia) - that can enable hundreds, thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people - say, students, volunteers, leaders, donors and policy makers - to connect, network, learn, innovate and get things done.

Dan believes that the Internet is THE place today for people by the tens of thousands to connect and interact with vast amounts of information in order to generate deep, fundamental understanding of (for instance) the problems of inner city children. With this understanding, people in Chicago, for instance, can create solutions compelling enough to mobilize business, government, media and philanthropic communities to act in concert on behalf of these children.

Dan (and I) are both looking for people in these communities to support the creation of a MOOC focused on the needs of at risk Chicago children and their communities.

As an example, Dan mentioned this Deeper Learning MOOC"A free, flexible, nine-week online course that will allow K-16 educators to learn about how deeper learning can be put into practice"

DLMOOC: Intro to the course, with material about Deep Learning 

Here's the same DLMOOC course as seen from inside the online classroom, so to speak, as students and teachers might see it. You'll find course materials for weeks 1 through  9 in the left-hand column. 
Deeper Learning MOOC
Inside the classroom of this "Massive Open Online Course to learn about deeper learning".
Question for Dan and all of us:  exactly how might a MOOC mobilize Chicagoans to support at risk Chicago kids - and, secondarily, all Chicago youth?
Dan's motto in life might be "Only connect". My post here is but one of the tens of thousands of connections in Chicago and elsewhere that Dan's websites and Tutor Mentor Conferences have sparked over the past 20 years.

"As more people spend time learning these ideas", Dan says, "and spend time sharing them with people they know, more people will get involved and support tutor/mentor programs that help youth move from birth in high stress, high poverty neighborhoods to jobs and careers that enable them to live and raise families wherever they want."


  1. Thanks Steve for spending time browsing my web sites and building your own understanding, then communicating what you are learning via your own articles. I hope more people take this role.

    A MOOC might take a couple of formats. One might be to lead people through the different sections of the web site. Another might be organized around the key focus areas of the Tutor/Mentor Conferences, which are listed as the first five points at

    A third might be to lead people through sections, or sub sections, of the information library I've built. For instance, we want more people to understand the challenges facing non profits. Thus over a five week period we could introduce some of the links posted at

    The important thing is that these same MOOCs repeat each year, covering the same ground, but engaging more people, while building deeper understanding among those who participate in previous years. I've been hosting get togethers of tutor/mentor program leaders since 1976. I never stop learning and trying to apply what I learn to the programs I've led. I hope to help others along the same path.


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