online learning

HandsOn University Online


Leveraging the expertise of University of Phoenix in providing distance learning strategies to students across the nation (and the globe), HandsOn Network is taking its signature training and technical assistance programming  - HandsOn University - into a virtual environment. HandsOn University is committed to help develop a new nation of volunteer leaders, leveraging our expertise to provide resources, distance learning through an online learning platform, and an infrastructure to create change in communities. We have partnered with the University of Phoenix to transform the capacity of people to take action and self-organize.


HandsOn University Online will be a web-based learning community for individuals, nonprofit organizations, and businesses seeking to improve their capacity to effectively engage others in service.  HandsOn University Online will provide 30 e-learning courses for three core audiences:

Volunteer Leaders:  Individual volunteers who lead projects or service activities on behalf of an organization will be able to receive a certificate demonstrating capacity in core areas of volunteer leadership such as recruiting volunteers, developing volunteer projects, managing large scale projects, and leading volunteers in reflection. 

Nonprofit Organizations:  Staff of nonprofit organizations whose key function is managing the organizations’ volunteer resources will be able to acquire advanced training and certification.  For managers of volunteers in nonprofit/government agencies, these courses will align with the CVA (Certification in Volunteer Administration) core competencies to support you in earning your CVA credential.

Businesses:  Employee Volunteer Program managers seeking to improve the impact, scale, and effectiveness of their company’s volunteer programming will be offered learning opportunities and ongoing training to help them to achieve these goals. 

Course Catalog

HandsOn University and University of Phoenix are excited to provide 30 online learning courses for nonprofits, businesses, and individual volunteers. During the months of June and July HandsOn University will be focused on soliciting input from the field for the following purpose:

  1. To improve the course content, delivery, and learner experience; and
  2. To determine topics for future courses.

Please take time to complete the first of our series of courses and give us your feedback.

Skills-based Volunteering 101

This interactive, online training course exposes participants to the principles of skills-based volunteering.  The course begins by teaching participants about skills-based volunteering and its benefits and challenges. Participants then choose which area of volunteering—individual, business, or nonprofit—they are most interested in, and they gain insight on effective practices within that area. The participants end the course by learning how to manage and implement a skills-based volunteering program. This course provides participants with real examples, tips, and easy-to-follow steps for getting involved in the community, as well as for getting volunteers involved in an organization.  

Please take a few moments to complete a short survey to help us determine topics for future courses. HandsOn University believes it is vital that the online course offerings meet the needs of the sector. Your feedback is valuable!








Volunteer Leader Certificate

The Volunteer Leadership Certificate Program

This interactive online program introduces students to the skills and principles of volunteer leadership. The program includes eight courses, followed by an exam and a practicum where participants demonstrate their ability to apply newly-found volunteer leadership skills. Successful completion of the online program and the practicum results in a HandsOn Network Volunteer Leader Certificate.

The Coursework:

Course 101: Volunteer Leadership Skills – In this course, you will learn aboutthe top skills volunteer leaders possess. These help volunteer leaders not only become more effective at leading others in service, but also become agents of sustainable community change. The information in this course provides an overview of these skills, their purpose and benefits.

Course 102: Personal Passion Meets Community - In this course, you will take the first steps to becoming a volunteer leader: identifying your personal passion(s), assessing community needs, collaborating with others, brainstorming a list of potential projects, andselecting a project based on specific criteria.  Prerequisite: Course 101.

Course 103: Map the Project - In this course, you will develop a project plan which includes identifying required resources, assigning appropriate number of volunteers, and developing timelines, checklists, and systems to manage a volunteer project. Prerequisite: Course 102.

Course 104: Secure Resources - In this course, you will learn how to secure resources in order to take the volunteer project from concept to reality.  Included are resources designed to assist with community asset mapping, volunteer recruitment and training, and the various ways to acquire funding, products and services. Prerequisite: Course 103.  

Course 105: Finalize Your Project Plan – In this course, you will understand the details of volunteer project planning, and gain the tools to help manage those details. Prerequisite: Course 104.  

Course 106: Manage Your Project - In this course, you will learn about onsite project implementation and management. Successful projects exhibit a good balance between managing logistics, time and people. The information in this course provides tools to effectively balance these three elements in order to implement a successful, productive volunteer project. Prerequisite: Course 105.

Course 107: Wrap Up Your Project - In this course, you will take the final steps in leading a volunteer project: finalizing all logistical matters, clean-up, volunteer reflection, recognition of participants, and project evaluation. Prerequisite: Course 106.

Course 108: Effective Practices for Volunteer Leaders - In this course, you will review effective practices of volunteer leaders. You will also gain tools and practices to help you become more efficient. Practices include: mentoring, building community, and developing volunteer leadership pathways. Prerequisite: Course 107.

Practicum 109 - You will identify a need in your community and lead a volunteer project to meet that need. You will use the skills, tools and resources provided in your coursework. After leading this project you will build a Volunteer Leader Portfolio that tells the story of your volunteer leader experience. For your portfolio you will submit the following:

  1. A personal service philosophy statement describing your commitment to service. This statement should be 100 to 250 words;
  2. A service resume outlining a participant’s service experiences including his/her role as a volunteer leader; and
  3. A project journal describing your experience and its alignment with elements of the coursework. You are encouraged to be creative and use video, pictures, and other non-traditional media to document your volunteer leadership experience.

Participants have 60 days to submit their Volunteer Leader Portfolio. HandsOn University will review submissions and distribute certificates once every quarter. Prerequisite: Course 108.

The Get HandsOn! Campaign Connection:

Points of Light Institute and University of Phoenix will provide training to 25,000 individual volunteer leaders in 2010 -2011. We will provide an opportunity for leaders of volunteers to receive a certificate demonstrating that they have a specific skill set required to lead volunteers in service. The certificate will make it possible for volunteer leaders to move between organizations and set a sector-wide standard for the competencies of volunteer leaders.




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