Participation and Work in Community

5-Week Online Course | Starts April 4th

Explore the dynamics of participation in community and how to develop a robust program around participation and work in community.

Course fee: $299 ($249 early bird through 3/12/23)

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Course description and syllabus

While almost all communities envision member engagement in community life, Participation tends to vary considerably—both in kind and in amount. As a result, there tends to be friction around the sense that some are doing too little (slackers) while others may be doing too much (martyrs or powermongers). In addition, there may be anxiety about not getting enough done.

In the Participation and Work in Community course, we’ll lay out the complexities and dynamics of Participation, the various ways that ambiguity creeps in, and how to get things straightened out.

Live classes are hosted on Zoom. All classes are recorded and available on our learning platform within 24 hours after each class ends and through 30 days after the last class. 

Classes and topics in the Participation and Work in Community syllabus include:

1st Class: Identifying the Participation Questions

  • questions group need to address to have a robust participation program
  • strategy for working through complex issues

2nd Class: The Intersection of Power, Delegation and Conflict

  • community as a system
  • how power, delegation and conflict enter the picture

3rd Class: What Counts?

  • sorting contributions by category
  • maintenance, governance and social

4th Class: Advantages of a Participation Team

  • creating a mandate for the team
  • expectations from members for team cooperation
  • team member qualities
  • filling the team

5th Class: The Hard (though Important) Conversations

  • martyrs and slackers
  • unpacking diversity in the group
  • accountability
  • staying in a job vs. rotating jobs
  • options when the work isn’t getting done

Course schedule

  • 1st Class – April 4, 2023
  • 2nd Class – April 11, 2023
  • 3rd Class – April 18, 2023
  • 4th Class – April 25, 2023
  • 5th Class – May 2, 2023

All Participation and Work in Community classes are from 3:00-5:00pm Central on Tuesdays. View your local time here.

Your instructor

Participation and Work in Community instructor image

Laird Schaub

Laird’s specialty is up-tempo inclusive meetings that engage the full range of human input, teaching groups to work creatively with conflict and diversity—all the while being ruthless about capturing as much product as possible. He lived for four decades at Sandhill Farm, an income-sharing rural community that he helped found.
Laird also helped found the Foundation for Intentional Community, where he served as the main administrator for 28 years. In 1987, he created a self-insurance fund for healthcare among income-sharing communities called PEACH (Preservation of Equity Accessible for Community Health) that he ran for 22 years.
In addition to his expertise in community living, he’s parlayed his passion for good process into a consulting business focused on cooperative group dynamics, styled CANBRIDGE (Consensus And Network Building for Resolving Impasse and Developing Group Effectiveness), since 1987.

Read his blog Laird’s Commentary on Community and Consensus


“Laird is concise and comprehensive without running over people; he addresses each person’s questions with an appropriate level of thoroughness and invites further discussion via email if the subject is somewhat off-topic for the class topic that day. His handouts are very well organized, and he is all at once funny, compassionate, knowledgeable, and entertaining.”

-Emily Abel

“Laird has a lot of knowledge, experience and can convey it in a concise way. he uses humor in a respectful way and gives enough space for questions as well as providing thought provoking, challenging assignments.”

-Hodan Warsame

“Laird clearly has vast experience, so I trust that he knows what he’s talking about and is not just speaking theoretically. He has a clear mind and is able to articulate points very well. I appreciate his no-BS style and calling things as he sees them. Also, I really admire his energy, which helped keep me engaged.”

-Jeffrey Billing

“Laird is an amazing resource in terms of experience, presentation and facilitation style, and ability to effectively connect with individuals under challenging circumstances.”

-Susan Novtrosky

The elements of an online course

Online learning platform

Once you register, you’ll get access to our learning area that includes:

  • your course schedule with zoom links
  • recommended books
  • a dedicated discussion forum to connect with your classmates
  • class slides and other course materials
  • class video recordings and Zoom chat feed (posted after class ends)

Live interactive sessions

Each week you join a 2-hour live class with the course instructor, where you learn in a group setting with:

  • interactive presentations
  • break out sessions
  • group discussions
  • the opportunity for questions and answers, and personalized support

Classes are recorded if you miss one.

Journey with a cohort

You’ll join participants from around the world how, like you, want to learn how to be better communitarians. Benefits include:

  • opportunities to connect with like-minded people
  • opportunities to share ideas and stories
  • a network of support to carry your community project forward


Participation & Work in Community Course


(Price is per person)*

*Interested in participating as a group? Please email Lauren at

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Become a member learner

You get several benefits, including 20% off all our online courses, and access to our Member Library with hundreds of videos, guides, policies and templates.

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Financial support

You can apply for a scholarship if you need financial support to attend one of our courses. We encourage those with low-income and from marginalized groups to apply. We’re committed to ensuring everyone has access to intentional community learning opportunities.

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