Course Overview

This quarter we are adapting Interpersonal Dynamics for a virtual learning environment, which will mean significant changes to the course. The focus will be on skills practice and building connection in a time of social distancing.


The course will be highly experiential and will involve interacting in groups, but will NOT use T-groups. Please note, if you take OB374 this quarter, you may not enroll again in future quarters. The spring class will be different from the regular version of the course but continue our long tradition of engagement and learning of interpersonal skills. While there will be some full-class lecture and discussion (in large and small groups vis Zoom breakouts).  The replacement for T-groups will be new “Learning Groups” of 4-6 students plus one facilitator. Learning Groups will form the new core of our course - a place to practice interpersonal skills and offer and to receive support to your peers, as well learning how to best be of service to others during the pandemic. There will NOT be a weekend retreat.


Learning Objectives


      Learn how to provide meaningful interpersonal support.

      Develop interpersonal skills such as listening, self-disclosure, and sharing feelings and feedback that can lead to the formation of functional relationships in both on- and off-line worlds.

      Practice building an effective online team that enables connection and support

      Learn how to learn from experience. (Action, Observation/Reflection, Meaning Making, Action Planning)

      Support students to build personal and community resilience during the pandemic.

      Help students to serve others at this crucial time. We will encourage projects that involve communication and relationship-building in one form or another so that the opportunity to practice learning from the class is as direct as possible.


Service Project

A very meaningful way to build connection and resilience in a time of social distancing (as well as to practice the skills learned in this course) is to engage in acts of service. Over the quarter we will ask you to incorporate a service into your life and provide opportunities to reflect on what you are learning from this project. With the support of your Learning Group you will design your own project in a way that feels manageable given the time constraints of the course. Some examples include: supporting an elderly relative, helping your children cope with the upheaval in their lives, volunteering at a food bank, moderating a site related to the epidemic. We know that GSB students will innovate and come up with ideas we can’t even imagine.


Description of Learning Groups

Learning groups of 4-6 students will meet weekly on Zoom for 1.5 hours, joined by a professional facilitator. The groups will include: check-in and support, practice interpersonal skill-building by applying lessons from the course in your personal life, peer support in developing and executing service projects, and reflections on how the team is working together.


Attendance and Other Requirements

Every class and Learning Group session will be highly interactive. For this reason attendance requirements are quite strict. (For this quarter only “attendance” means virtual attendance at all class and group sessions on Zoom.) Attendance at the first class is required and failure to attend will result in an automatic drop (2-day version of the course requires attendance at the first two classes to remain enrolled). Students who are waitlisted must attend the first meeting of each section they are waitlisted for in order to secure a place in the course should space open up. It is the student's responsibility to notify your respective OB 374 faculty of your attendance and wish to fulfill your waitlist requirement. Missing class OR Learning Group sessions will negatively influence your grade and may result in a student's grade being dropped one grade level (for each absence). (2-day version of the course will allow one unexcused absence at a Thursday class, other than the first class, with no grade penalty.)


The prequalification requirement will be waived for this quarter only. One section of the prequalification assignment asks you to reflect on your current level of emotional resilience and readiness for the course. While this version of the course will not be as emotionally stressful as the in-person version, we expect it will still be very involving, and, at times, might be quite emotional. (Note that this course is not a substitute for therapy; we deal more with interpersonal issues than with intra-personal ones.) If you are in therapy, please talk this over with your therapist and get their advice before enrolling in this course.


Please note, although the course this quarter will be quite different, it is still designated as OB374. If you take OB374 this quarter, you may not enroll again in future quarters.