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The High Rocks Academy & Collaborative Discussion Program

This summer the Interactivity Foundation partnered with the High Rocks Academy in West Virginia to offer a pilot program in Collaborative Discussion. Instructors Tristan Nutter and Thea Rossman worked with the Interactivity Foundation to create a new summer camp track focused on collaborative discussions skills.

Since 1996, High Rocks has offered a residential summer camp on a West Virginia  mountainside to help girls prepare for high school and college. This track in Collaborative Discussion was one of several programs offered to young campers this summer. Like all tracks, the program was student-centered, focused on learning by doing, and developed skills that will help participants succeed in educational environments, home life, and the work place.

The pilot program was designed to meet the specific needs of participants. Module topics were selected and built upon by the camp instructors and included:

  • Essential Elements of Collaborative Discussion
  • Collaborative Learning
  • Suspending Assumptions and Opening Pathways
  • Listening to Understand
  • Disagreeing Respectfully
  • Building on the Ideas of Others
  • Asking Questions to Promote Curiosity
  • Power Dynamics in a Discussion

Participants in this program created a zine as part of their final project. Here is a sample of how they processed some of the information from this track:

This partnership allowed the Interactivity Foundation to test module materials that are under development for a Certification Program in Collaborative Discussion. To learn more about the IF Certification Program (under development) or particular modules in Collaborative Discussion or Small Group Facilitation, please contact Shannon Wheatley Hartman @ [email protected]


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