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Introduction to the Collaborative Discussion – an online community conversation series

There’s an old saying about the value of collaboration, “if you want to go fast, go alone—but if you want to go far, go together.” But what if you don’t know how to work well together? How can we get better at collaboration? Working as a group can help us tap into the wisdom of crowds, making us smarter and stronger together. But group discussions can also go wrong, leading to groupthink that shuts down important ideas. Groups can turn into unthinking mobs. So how can we boost our ability to work together, for productive collaboration?

One important way is by working on our collaborative discussion skills. In this online course, available primarily to residents of Leisure World in Silver Springs, Maryland as well as a few other participants (there are few slots available for non-residents), we’ll introduce the Interactivity Foundation’s Collaborative Discussion Toolkit, an organized collection of discussion activities designed to do just that. In five sessions, we’ll explore:

  • What productive collaborative discussions look like
  • Skills to enhance creativity in collaborative discussions
  • Skills to enhance critical thinking in collaborative discussions
  • Skills for culturally responsive collaborative discussions
  • Skills for civic collaboration—where the ideas shaped through discussion can turn to community action.

These sessions will be held every other Wednesday from 1:30 to 3:00 pm (ET), from Wednesday, September 15th through Wednesday, November 10th.  All five sessions will use small-group participatory discussion to try out selected group exercises from the Toolkit. Additionally, we’ll use small-group discussions to debrief, discuss, and explore the underlying skills and how they might be applied in different settings.

To find out more, please contact IF Fellows Jeff Prudhomme or Pete Shively. For additional information about the content to be discussed and explored in each session, see our separate Introduction to Collaborative Discussion page within our Discussion Guide library on this website.

Related Discussion Guides