Preparing for Collaborative Discussion

February 21, 2023

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Pre-program surveys

Dear collaborative discussion friends,

We are kicking off the new year with our first Collaborative Discussion Newsletter, highlighting a new Collaborative Discussion Toolkit activity each week. We have heard your feedback! Our open source toolkit is amazing, but it’s so big that it can feel a little overwhelming. By highlighting a new activity each week, we hope to make it easier for you to use this great community-created resource. Remember, these activities come from you— our community of educators and practitioners. Using these activities in your classroom, workplace, or community not only helps to build collaborative discussion skills, but it also helps to acknowledge the innovative work of our community members. Enjoy!

This week’s activities are:

Activity 1.7 – Taking Inventory of Collaborative Discussion Skills

Activity 1.8 – Evaluating Your Discussion Style

How can you use these activities to prepare for collaborative discussion?

As many of us begin the spring semester or start a new community initiative, consider taking a few moments to figure out who is in the room and how they show up for discussion experiences. It’s important to understand the starting points, assumptions, and discussion defaults of a group. Pre-program surveys can provide critical information for helping you to customize discussion environments.

You can modify the following survey (by signing in to a Google account and clicking Make a Copy) to help you better gauge the strengths and areas for growth in your collaborative discussion group. This survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and offers individual self-evaluations and an aggregate snapshot of 17 collaborative discussion skill metrics.

Survey: Taking Inventory of Collaborative Discussion Skills

Survey responses will be sent directly to you. You can use this tool to help design the content of your course or workshop. You can also use it as a pre/post survey to measure individual or group learning outcomes.

You can find this survey in Module One: Activity 1.7 Taking Inventory of Collaborative Discussion Skills. Within the full activity, you’ll also find a hard copy of the survey questions that could be shared in-person, prompts for group reflection, and a worksheet to help identify individual growth opportunities and strategies for peer support.

Another survey tool that can be shared before or at the beginning of a class/workshop is:

Survey: Evaluating Your Discussion Style

Like the previous tool, you can customize this survey as you like (by signing in to a Google account and clicking Make a Copy). Responses will be sent directly to you. This survey can be used to help you better understand the different discussion styles within your group. By better understanding how individuals in your group are most comfortable engaging with others, you can design a more inclusive discussion environment. This tool can help you determine areas for individual or group growth and how you might support these without creating an intimidating discussion environment.

You can find this tool in Module One: Activity 1.8 Evaluating Your Discussion Style along with instructions for exploring this topic through small group discussion. Discussion prompts, reflection questions, and relevant readings are also included.

If you try out these activities, please share with us what you think:

Rate Activity 1.7

Rate Activity 1.8

We hope these survey tools and toolkit activities help you to create collaborative discussion experiences in 2023! Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting how you can cluster activities to set the stage for collaborative learning and how you can modify activities to serve as creative warm-ups.

Upcoming Events

  • We are accepting applications for our next Collaborative Discussion Coach Training (May 31 – June 6). This is open to anyone interested in offering certificate programs in collaborative discussion. Apply here.
  • We are also accepting nominations for our Pilot Coach Training for Undergraduate Students. Space will be limited. You can nominate a student by emailing me at [email protected]

Looking forward to collaborating with you this year,

Shannon Wheatley Hartman & the Collaborative Discussion Team

Interested in working with us to bring better discussions to your classroom, community or workplace?

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