The Interactivity Foundation’s development has followed two interactive paths. The Foundation works, internally and continually, on developing its own processes and procedures for public discussion. The Foundation also works publicly and continually and “learns by doing” by conducting various Project Discussions, Public Discussions, and Classroom Discussions programs and activities. The Foundation was incorporated in 1965, originally as the “Upper Ohio Valley Self Help Foundation.” In 1987, the name was changed to the current “Interactivity Foundation”.
Project Discussions. In the 1990s, the Foundation conducted an initial set of seven different and long-term contract discussion projects around the country. In 2001, IF hired several “Fellows” to further develop its discussion processes and to engage in another series of Project Discussions. The first series of these Project Discussions began in the fall of 2002, with additional Project Discussions beginning in later years and ongoing.
Classroom Discussions. In 2005, IF began working on ways to incorporate a facilitated, student-centered discussion process into college classrooms. These initial efforts to develop a Classroom Discussion process led to our Summer Institutes with selected college faculty, first in 2006, and again in 2009, each of which resulted in IF sponsoring college courses at several college campuses around the country in the following academic years. In 2012, we began to focus more on developing a program for first-year college students that could implemented campus-wide. These efforts led to our Wesleyan-IF Collaboration in the 2012-2013 academic year (and continuing).
Public Discussions. In 2007, IF Fellows began testing and using IF’s Discussion Reports in shorter, “citizen” discussion series. We now refer to these discussions as Public Discussions, and they are both central to IF’s mission to improve both the quality and quantity of our public discourse and citizen engagement. These discussions also provide critical feedback to help us further develop and refine our Discussion Reports for broader public use. IF continues to sponsor and support Public Discussions by its Fellows, associated faculty, and other trained facilitators around the country.