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Moving Offline Liberating Structures Practices Online Image by Tracy Kelly of the BC User GroupMy lovely Liberating聽Structures (LS) community of practice has a monthly newsletter. December #8217;s聽will be around LS online and as I started marking up their draft, I realized it聽would be a good idea to get my thinking/practices more clearly outlined rather聽than trying to #8220;think out loud #8221; and potentially make a mess of their聽draft!聽What I #8217;m laying out here could be extrapolated to other group processes, not聽just Liberating Structures. My goal is to describe how I think, talk and聽practice in online facilitation. I #8217;m going to use the LS #8220;Purpose聽to Practice #8221; as the scaffold. The beauty of a scaffold is that it聽holds up an ever-evolving understanding of the practice, versus a static set of聽 #8220;best practices #8221; or the like. This first version will stay at a聽pretty high level, and then it might be interesting to do some future posts聽digging deeper into each area.PurposeWhy is this work important to me and the wider community?Purpose exists on a couple of different levels here. At the highest, thepurpose of this post is to share learnings about how we transfer facilitation聽of offline group processes into an online space. In this particular instance,聽I #8217;m focusing on LS and primarily synchronous online interactions using group聽meeting tools. My ultimate purpose is to use LS聽online so that people are聽easily and delightfully engaged and liberated to achieve their own purpose(s).Purpose from an LS perspective #8211; the integrity of an LS used online or聽offline #8211; should be consistent with the structure and theoretically is not聽informed by the environment.聽Purpose informs what structures people use, regardless of environment.聽In practice, people use each LS in different ways. For example, the statedpurpose on the LS site guides us, but our ability to riff and improvise may聽surface other, unique purposes.When thinking about the online environment, there may be more than one LS to聽choose in terms of what that structure enables (its purpose), but one of those聽options may be more suited to the online environment.聽 For example, when聽the harvest of a process is important, an online聽 environment makes it easy for聽everyone to type in and capture their input, faster and easier than a wall of聽sticky notes. The harvest is done by all, not by the facilitator. The data can聽be quickly organized, parsed and we can bring forth the best of what was聽produced.People #8217;s individual experience and practices using LS also vary. Some of us聽have favorites that we go to over and over. This may bias towards or away from聽using LS online because of our comfort of using a particular LS and how easy it聽is to transfer its use online.聽Principles and Minimum SpecificationsWhat rules must we obey to achieve our purpose? What are the minimum聽specifications, things we must absolutely do/not do?Again, principles exists on different levels. There are my personal principles聽as a facilitator/participant which drive my practices. There are聽聽the principles that sit聽beneath Liberating Structures聽. (Or whatever processes you use.) There聽are the principles of the individuals and group involved.聽 I am excluding聽my personal principles/generic facilitator principles and will mostly focus on聽principles that arise from the online environment and which inform minimum聽specifications and practices. The other levels are very rich areas for future聽exploration!Here are my general principles for using LS online:Practice with others. The聽online environment can be unkind to multitasking #8230; (Min Spec: Find a聽co-facilitating friend)Use the power of alternating individual,聽small and large group interaction. Don #8217;t fall trap to聽top-down online meetings, especially since most technologies favor聽top-down. (Min spec: unless the group is very small, don #8217;t stay in a large聽group the whole time #8211; a.k.a #8220;goat rodeo #8221;)When in doubt, keep things simple. From聽technology, to process #8211; simplicity gives room for experimentation and聽emergence. For example, while we might rapidly restring our structures聽F2F, we may not always be as prepared to do that as quickly online without聽a deeper practice.聽 From a tech perspective, we might keep our聽technology set simple. (Min spec: never introduce more than two new tools聽to a group. One is ever better!)Be prepared to be surprised (and聽innovate, use plan b, etc!) Technology (and the supporting infrastructure聽like bandwidth and even electricity) are rarely under your control. (Min聽spec: stay cool! Have a backup plan. Set reasonable expectations.)Position everything as an experiment and a聽chance to learn, even while focused on real and urgent purposes.聽Let聽go of thinking everything can and should be perfect. (Min spec: let go of聽the identity of an expert.)People/ParticipantsWho must be included to achieve our purpose?聽This one is much easier because there is little distinction between online and聽offline. The main benefit may be that online we might possibly include MORE聽people than we could if we were limited to a face to face interaction. In聽general, my overall facilitation principles drive me to include everyone who is聽engaged/impacted by the purpose to participate. Even if they are spread all聽across the globe. That is one of the driving strengths of doing things online,聽despite the challenges.StructureHow will we organize to distribute control?Traditional design and use of online meeting tools have centralized control to聽the person who has administrative control of the meeting software. Sometimes聽additional people can be given these #8220;host #8221; or #8220;admin #8221;聽roles, partially or fully. But the central design of these tools has聽prioritized control over emergence, theoretically to offer a more consistent聽experience. Liberating Structures, on the other hand, is designed to engage and聽unleash everyone. So it is super important to figure out how to hack these聽tools to distribute control. Here are three potential vectors for distributing聽control. I #8217;m sure there are more. Ideas?Control聽can be distributed by handing聽off control of the software. I start by sharing my聽screen, now you can share yours. Here, why don #8217;t you work on setting up聽the breakout groups while I review the process?Control聽can be explicitly shared by identifying and聽 distributing /switching聽roles.聽I #8217;ll facilitate the process, you work on the technology support. Everyone聽can take notes in the chat. Invite people into those roles early and聽often.聽Control聽can be distributed by facilitators聽being quiet for a while. Some of us facilitators have聽this urge to fill every second of air time. Silence can give others a聽chance to breathe, think, and then participate in a way that is easier for聽them. Facilitators, IT IS NOT ABOUT US!! This is also a practice.聽PracticesWhat are we going to do?聽This is where it gets practical. It is also where it may be more useful todescribe practices through examples of how to use specific LS online. So I #8217;ll聽start general, then we can dive into specifics in future posts.For me there are two intersecting sets of practices: the process聽facilitation and the technology stewardship. I (along with John D. Smith and聽Etienne Wenger) have written extensively about technology stewardship. You can聽get the book (free!) on the Digital聽Habitats book site, and I will聽 focus only on LS related facilitation and聽tech stewardship issues. You will also note how these are related to principles聽stated above!Don #8217;t do this alone. Have one person focus on聽the technology stewardship issues while the other facilitates process. It聽can be devilishly hard to do both at one time. For example, individuals聽with tech problems need one on one private #8220;back channel #8221;聽assistance that doesn #8217;t suck up the time and attention of the whole group.聽Setting up breakout rooms is best done with attention, not while聽multitasking with process instructions.Select and use technology to facilitate聽the large group/small group/individual levels of participation聽that are found in LS. For me the profound difference of using LS online聽and more traditional #8220;web meetings #8221; or #8220;webinars #8221; is聽that they enable peer to peer, multi-directional interaction versus being聽the object of a stream of content from one or few people.聽聽Use multiple modalities beyond voice. We humans pay less聽attention to verbal interactions when we aren #8217;t facing each other. Video聽can help #8211; a bit #8211; but not resolve our lackadaisical listening skills. So聽important instructions (how to do a LS, the invitation, etc.) should also聽appear visually on a slide, whiteboard or chat room. Don #8217;t underestimate聽adult #8217;s ability to quickly forget the instructions as well, so make sure聽they are visible in breakouts. Use images, drawing tools #8211; whatever it聽takes to create a closer cycle of information exchange and UNDERSTANDING.Keep technology choices as simple as聽possible. For example, if you pair the web meeting聽tool Zoom with Google Docs, it may seem really easy if you already have a聽Google Doc practice. For someone totally new to both, it may be enough to聽learn one tool at a time. For experts, pile it on! Just because we can use聽a ton of tools doesn #8217;t mean we always SHOULD. A subset of this is聽 #8220;always keep an eye out for new tech #8221; #8211; the landscape is聽constantly evolving.聽Beware of the heaven/hell of harvesting聽online. Online聽tools make it easy for everyone to write/draw/contribute. When it comes tosensemaking and harvesting, be careful of creating too much useless/never聽used content. Ask people to ruthlessly evaluate and harvest the best of聽what is created.聽Don #8217;t restrict yourself. Think through how you聽will use an LS online based on your purpose instead of slavishly following聽the instructions in a literal manner. Use your imagination and the聽strengths of the technology you are using rather than fighting the聽limitations. This is a great place to expand your LS repertoire.聽聽(Again, there should be a whole post on using the LS Matchmaker with an online perspective. Some of us have been trying to capture our current state of understanding of this.)Give most LS a bit more time online, especially when learning聽how to do them online. Don #8217;t over-pack your sequence or #8220;string #8221;聽of structures. While I might do 3-5 in 90 minutes F2F, I #8217;d say 3聽 online!聽To date, almost all the LS I #8217;ve used online take more time the first time聽(sometimes a LOT more time). We get better over time, but if you are聽always working with new people, build in learning time. And in a perfect聽world, get the chance to do these together more than once. It gets richer聽and richer. Another perspective is spreading out a string over multiple, shorter online meetings. Most of us burn out after 90 minutes of full on attention online.Reflect on the similarities and聽differences of a structure/string online and offline. Chances are this will deepen聽your overall understanding and facilitation practice, and expand聽possibilities each time you reflect, learn, apply, and repeat! Better yet,聽reflect with your peers. Use What,聽So What, Now What? to debrief at every chance. Share your learnings聽with the Liberating Structures communityof practice on Slack.ResourcesLiberating Structures site 聽http://www.liberatingstructures.comBuilding an Online Liberating Structures 90 Minutes at a Time聽https://fullcirc.com/wp/2018/09/14/building-an-online-liberating-structures-practice-90-minutes-at-a-time/聽聽All my Liberating Structure blog posts聽https://fullcirc.com/wp/category/liberating-structures/聽
Posted on November 15, 2018November 15, 2018Categories facilitation, Liberating Structures, online facilitation, online interactionTags liberating structures2 Comments on Moving Offline Liberating Structures Practices Online
Updating #8220;Facilitips #8221;
I received a request to grant usage rights to a VERY old piece I wrote years ago #8211; a general set of heuristics for online facilitation called #8220;Facilitips, #8221; first published in 1999. Way back in the old days!It was basically my distillation of everything I learned from people like Howard Rheingold, Sue Boettcher, and many others (see the bottom of this post). I realized it was full of typos and could use a brush up, so here it is.Note: these are not unique to online but have been found IMPORTANT in online facilitation!General TipsAssume good intent. Approach every contribution with
curiosity, expecting surprise and wonder. Remind others of this simple
trick.Role model the behavior you wish others to use.Practice and encourage active listening/reading.Be as explicit as possible in your communication.Remember not everyone thinks or perceives the way you
do. Seek to understand participants #8217; styles and needs.Don #8217;t automatically assume understanding #8212; ask for
clarification as needed.Trust is slow to be granted, easily taken away.
Encourage an environment that values trust.Build trust by doing what you say you will do.
Encourage others to do the same.Use irony and humor with care as it does not always
come across online as you might have intended. This is particularly
relevant in intercultural contexts. You can always use emoticons to
clarify! 馃槈Think before you hit the button and a post goes up.Process Facilitation TipsMake the bare minimum of rules, expectations or norms
consistent, explicit and clear. No one remembers long lists of rules!Provide orientation materials and paths for new
members.Respond to all first-time participants. Welcome people
by name.Use recognizable names or pseudonyms.Use small group activities to build relationships and
#8220;get acquainted. #8221;Encourage the use of personal profiles to build
relationships.Consider cultural differences of participants.Help members take ownership of the interaction space.Nurture others to help host and facilitate the group.Encourage people to mentor and assist each other.
Recognize mentors.Acknowledge and reciprocate participation.Reply to messages that get no other recognition. Even
if it is a #8220;treading water reply. #8221;Use (open-ended) questions to encourage participation.
(move beyond yes/no)Stimulate input with positive private emails to
individuals.Notice if someone is #8220;missing #8221; for long
periods of time. Email them and invite them back.Let others know when you will be offline for extended
periods of time.Draw out the quiet members.Help focus the chatters.Don #8217;t fan the flames (or the flamers!) (see
difficult situations below).Ask members for feedback. What is working for them?
What is not? What is missing?Monitor member activity with available tools to gauge
participation and alter your facilitation strategy accordingly.Look for participation patterns and changes in
conversations.Consider participation from different time zones. The
more your time zones are spread, the more time needed for a group to be in
sync.Consider time-delimited events or topics to foster
activity.Facilitation Tips for Task-Oriented GroupsMake purpose and task VERY clear/visible/explicit.Post timelines and reminders.Agree on process issues up front. Address as needed on
an on-going basis.Make roles and responsibilities clear and visible.Use email as appropriate for notification.When activity levels drop, evaluate to ensure you have
compelling reasons for participation: real work, learning, shared tasks,
personal or professional development.Let divergent processes flow free. Channel convergent
processes.Tips for Dealing with Difficult SituationsDon #8217;t be intimidated by challenges. They are learning
opportunities for everyone when handled with grace.Help bring learning out of friction or #8220;creative
abrasion. #8221;Help people understand how they come across if others
are having difficulty with them. Consider doing this offline or privately.Avoid #8220;one-upmanship #8221; and point-by-point
defenses which usually only escalate problems.Use back channel (private) email to resolve problems
unless the issue involves a larger group.Use your administration tools (i.e., deleting posts)
lightly and carefully.Don #8217;t assume a lack of response means dissent or
assent. Seek explicit responses.Structural amp; Content TipsFrame topic openers clearly and demonstrate the goal or
purpose of the topic or thread.Label topic/threads and conference items clearly.Provide ongoing (and often repeated) guidance on
#8220;what goes where #8221; in any interaction space.Don #8217;t pile too much into one post. Break it up into
small paragraphs or multiple posts, especially if you are dealing with
more than one point or topic.Keep #8220;conversations #8221; in their most logical
place #8212; social chat in social spaces, content or action specific
interaction in their own spaces or topics.Open new topics to support new discussions emerge as
needed.Observe the rhythm of topics and close old topics as
they grow dormant.Summarize and/or index conversations of value to make
them accessible to the group.Provide great links, resources and relevant,
stimulating content to foster interaction.Tag materials if your platform allows.Explore the use of color and images as communication
and facilitation tools.Respect copyright and confidentiality. Do not repost
other #8217;s postings, photos, references or emails without explicit
permission.Keep the online space free from #8220;garbage #8221;
such as duplicate posts, or disallowed content (i.e.. pornography,
advertising or whatever your group norms dictate.)Don #8217;t obsess about typos. Life is too short.One for the Road #8230;Facilitation is the combination of knowledge and practice.
So practice, practice, practice.Read between the lines.Seek to be fair.Have fun.Use common sense.When all else fails, ask and listen. Again. Again.Sources:Notes from Uri Merry, Mihaela Moussou, Peter and Trudy聽Johnson-Lenz, Margaret McIntyre, Denham Grey, TJ Elliott and others from the Knowledge Ecology Work Group at聽http://www.co-i-l.comOnline
Facilitation Classes from Wise
Circle Training, including Kimberly A. Adler of the National
Mentoring Partnershiphttp://www.fullcirc.com (Full
Circle Associates)http://www.rheingold.com (Howard
Rheingold)http://www.wwcoco.com (Sue
Boettcher)http://www.bigbangworkshops.com (Heather
Duggan)The
members of the GroupFacilitation, OnlineFacilitation, and ComPrac listservs
Posted on October 30, 2018October 30, 2018Categories facilitation, online facilitation, online interaction2 Comments on Updating #8220;Facilitips #8221;
Webinars, Reflections and Chat Webinars, Reflections and ChatLast November I participated in a webinar on designing and facilitating webinars hosted by GFAR.聽 聽I had intended to do a deeper dive and reflection, but as I clean up old blog post drafts, some things must be let go! 馃檪聽 That said, some very pragmatic things emerged and were captured, so I #8217;m circling back to share them.聽Peter Casier, our host, was super well organized and did a great job on follow up.聽 Peter asked for input on outstanding questions from the chat, collected responses and shared them out. This was fricken FANTASTIC! They comprise the bulk of this very long post!I was not one of the panel as they had plenty of people, so I decided to focus on the back channel.聽 I started by sharing related resources, taking notes on key ideas but quickly a bunch of us started interacting with each other. As I #8217;ve noted before, I love the chat #8220;backchannel #8221; #8211; it really helps me pay attention.Follow Up From Peter Casier/GFARHi all,Here is our final wrap-up email for our #8220;webinar on webinars #8221;. 鈥 With apologies for the delay, but the depth of the feedback the speakers on your unanswered questions (see below), should compensate for this. 馃檪 聽鈥 In the answers, we are joined by Nancy White who was also providing quite some feedback in the online chat channel.Answers to questions which we were not able to tackle during the webinar itself (or questions which needed further elaboration)Q: Has anyone used Zoom?聽https://zoom.us/聽A: (Peter) Yes, we have tried Zoom, and it looks like a good webinar platform.聽A: (Nancy White)聽Yes. Besides the fact that it requires a small download, it is now my favorite tool because it facilitates many different kinds of engagement, including video and breakout groups. Warning, the free version is limited to 45 minute meetings!Q: Which webinar platforms has the possibility of recordingA: (Kelly) WebEx and Adobe Connect both do (not sure of others).A: (Peter) Most webinar tools allow recording the sessions #8211; which for us, is one of the basic requirements. We used webinars-on-air, Google Hangout, Bluejeans, Zoom, GoToWebinar which all allow recording the sessionA: (Pier Andrea) I believe most have #8211; for sure Adobe and WebEx that I #8217;ve usedA: (Leandra) I have used Adobe Connect, Vidyo and Skype for Business, which all allow for recordingA: (April: I haven鈥檛 encountered a platform that doesn鈥檛 record. We convert our recordings and upload to YouTube, where we can more easily track recording views and ensure the recordings will live on if we ever transfer platforms.A: (Nancy White)聽Most, but check, sometimes the free versions have no or limited recording capabilities.Q:聽Using Skype for business, can participants call in? Or do all participants need to be in your contact list?A: (Pier Andrea)聽I #8217;ve never organized webinars/online meetings with Skype for business but I #8217;ve joined several as participants. And my personal experience is rather negative. I never managed to get connected via the web but always had just to dial in #8211; with all limitations that this has. Maybe things are better now but I remain skeptical of the tool.A: (Peter) I鈥檝e never used Skype for business, sorry.A: (Leandra) You create an invitation for the webinar which creates a URL link.聽 This link is then sent to the participants.聽 The link allows you to contact via the Web app.聽 There is also the ability to phone and participate that way.Q: for Leandra: what tool did you guys at the Uni use before Skpe for Business?A: (Leandra) Webinars are relatively new at the University, so I am trying out a new concept. I tried Vidyo for the first Webinar, but the software has limitations, and therefore we now use SFB.聽 The University does have Adobe Connect but it is only for University staff and students and cannot be used for people outside.Q:聽To access Skype for Business, does your organization have to have a membership?A: (Leandra) Yes, you have to purchase a Microsoft License.Q:聽In more of a meeting format, what platform would you recommend to combine an in-person group with remote participants? Does anyone have experience using complementary equipment (microphones, etc.)?A: (Kelly)聽We鈥檝e used Adobe Connect before for this purpose. Instead of using headphones for the presenter or speaker, we had remote microphones. Harder to hear with them and it was somewhat of a hassle to keep moving the microphones to whichever participant wanted to speak.A: (Peter) Webinar tools can easily be used for online meetings or teleconferences. Any of the webinar tools we used for actual webinars, we also used for teleconferences with larger participation than what you would normally be able to use with 鈥渟tandard鈥 Skype e.g. 鈥淎udio quality鈥 is the most crucial part. If the remote participants are linked into a large onsite meeting, we just hook up the audio equipment (microphones) from the onsite meeting. If it is for a smaller onsite group, we used a Polycom Communicator device (speaker and microphone)聽https://www.amazon.com/Polycom-Communicator-C100S-Speakerphone-Skype-Grey/dp/B000GG0EFY聽鈥 much better than using the mike/speaker from a laptop for this purpose.A: (Pier Andrea) We did this in several occasions using Adobe Connect. You can see some process overview and quick lessons are in this聽blog post聽and聽after action review聽(not for circulation). Bottom line: it ain #8217;t easy, besides the technical setup amp; equipment you need more people to manage the process, and people who understand how both online and f2f facilitation work. Key role is for the persons bridging the two.聽A: (Leandra) Skype for Business or Adobe ConnectA: (April: We occasionally do blended events on our Adobe Connect platform. The webinar experience and setup is virtually identical to our webinar only setup, and the in person portion is no different than a live presentation, with a miced speaker at the podium, slides projected behind him or her (which are in turn also projected online). Where the two audiences blend is in the Q amp;A portion, as we鈥檒l alternate between questions from the room (audience asking directly via a passed mic), and questions online read aloud by the facilitator. It requires additional AV setup to capture the audio properly for the online audience.A: (Nancy White)聽The key thing is to have someone in the F2F setting looking out for and including the remote participants. Sometimes I even go so far as to put a paper \cut out of a person in a chair to help those in the room remember that there are others participating. If you do breakouts, consider if you should have a fully remote break out group (plus a connector person in the room), or mix. If mixed, make sure there is a laptop/device for every breakout. For a fabulous case study, seehttps://wenger-trayner.com/resources/practice/what-equipment-do-we-use-at-betreat/Q:聽How can we create webinars, which allow for deep interaction? What tools both technical and facilitation wise are available? Any experiences / examples?A: (Pier Andrea) For me it #8217;s a matter of facilitation more than tool. Sure the tool may limit your options #8211; or present you with opportunities. In my experience more interaction happens when the group is smaller. So what I would do (using Adobe) is the following: #8211; start with an icebreaker to get people engaged from the beginning #8211; have short presentations (8/10 mins) followed by Q amp;A in chat #8211; throw in some polls every now and there #8211; have a second round of interactions with the audience allowing them to use voice (so not just chatting) OR #8211; break folks in breakout rooms #8211; in here, all participants have mic rights by default. There should be a room facilitator, and one participants that volunteer to take note #8211; notes are then displayed back in the plenary room for debrefing/harvesting with the all participantsA: (Peter) I agree with Pier Andrea, it is a matter of facilitation.. For me, the interactions/questions are key to the success of a webinar: how much the online audience engages, and feels comfortable to engage with the panel. For me, just a chat channel to get questions and feedback is already enough, but make the audience feel comfortable to ask questions!A: (Leandra)聽With Skype for Business, I integrate polls into the webinar to make it more interactiveA: (April)聽Blackboard Collaborate is designed for a more interactive, classroom style experience, where you can do breakout rooms, where smaller groups of participants can be led through an exercise or question together. I think this style works best when you have an audience that shares a base of knowledge or experiences, and/or when the material is something everyone has something to share (as opposed to a highly technical topic, where it may be more geared toward one way delivery of information, and Q amp;A is interactivity enough.) For example, I presented on a webinar on learning from failure for a knowledge management group, and then we moved into breakout rooms and shared experiences. Each of the main presenters led a breakout room discussion, and then we all came back together to share what came out of it.A: (Nancy White)聽First, deep interactions need to be driven by purpose, ideally shared purpose. So at the very start of planning, make sure the focus is of importance, value/relevance to participants. Even better, engage some/all of them in planning. Second, consider what you mean by deep interaction? This will drive the process and technical design/facilitation.聽 For example, seehttp://www.fullcirc.com/2009/08/11/raising-the-bar-on-online-event-practices/聽For example, maybe the group is trying to do some sense making or ideation #8211; consider a World Cafe online聽http://www.fullcirc.com/2008/07/10/the-world-cafe-community-virtual-cafes/. What about doing deep team work? Consider Liberating Structures (http://www.liberatingstructures.com聽) adapted for online #8211; see聽http://www.fullcirc.com/2014/09/29/liberating-structures-online/聽and聽聽https://docs.google.com/document/d/16QZhwiv7pnBUS3rX6EZ8p2_pFn3suLvPjh42V7qqBLc/edit?usp=sharing聽and聽https://docs.google.com/document/d/1X6hNuaNaUe1HteydEP6GHFf3b1HC2RtPYugyJFiCwHI/edit?usp=sharing, (Zoom is the tool we use to facilitate the rapid whole group/small group pattern)聽Q:聽Are there any platforms that work better or worse for participants in China?A: (Peter) I am unfortunately not aware of which webinar tools breaking through the Great Internet Wall of China.Q:聽How many different languages do you need to work with at any one online event? Are they written languages?A: (April) I have never done an online event involving with more than one language. It鈥檚 hard to get around the need for a common language for this kind of event.聽A: (Nancy White)聽聽Some thoughts here:聽http://www.fullcirc.com/?s=multilingualA: (Peter) There are some tools that allow for simultaneous translation of the speakers鈥 input, but it is not common.. Most of the webinar tools are confined to the language of the speakers, which is a real pity, and in my view, one of the big potentials for future expansion of features!Q:聽What connectivity you use? What about not having wifi? How to overcome this problems?A: (Kelly) We made it a standard practice to always connect via Ethernet cable since our wifi can be spotty in our company鈥檚 building.聽A: (Peter) This is a technical IT question. For speakers, their connectivity (and quality of connection) is crucial. The potential bottleneck can be either the wifi, or the actual internet connection from the office to the ISP (service provider). We encourage speakers to connect via an Ethernet cable (as Kelly mentioned) to the LAN, to avoid the bottleneck of wifi used by many other office users. If speakers connect from their homes, we ask them to ensure there are no other family members using the internet/wifi at the moment of the webinar. For our webinars, we always do a test-run with all speakers, prior to the actual webinar, to ensure their connectivity works well (with Bluejeans, we can monitor the quality of their connection remotely). In 50% of the cases, we detect problems during the test run, and debug it before the actual webinar. For us, it is crucial that all technical issues, with the speakers, are debugged BEFORE the webinar, to avoid a speaker dropping off during his/her actual live presentation/webinar. It takes time to test and debug, though. The IT people in your office, are your best friends to give you, as a speaker good connectivity.For the online audience: there is not much support we can give. When we send the audience the link to the webinar, a few days before the webinar, we send them a link to self-test their connectivity and browser setup, so they can prepare. But it is impossible to provide technical assistance all online subscribers, though..聽A: (Leandra) In Mthatha, the University has worked with Vodacom to install towers in the more remote areas.聽 They have also placed routers in the hospitals and residences for the students to be able to connect to the internet.A: (April)聽Hard line internet connection is typically most stable. Where a presenter lacks stable wifi, we will ask him or her to dial in on a phone line and we can advance slides for them. Many platforms allow participants to dial in rather than connect via internet for the audio portion, and will have a list of toll-free numbers for various countries of operation (though not all).Q:聽How many can join webinar at a time #8211; size of audience effectively handled via webinars?A: (Kelly) With our Adobe Connect license, we have up to 500 participants able to join. When we first started, it was only 100 but now we regularly have over 100. I know Adobe Connect can be pricey, and I think with the 500 limit it might be more.聽A: (Peter) This depends on the webinar tool you use, and the subscription you have to their service. e.g. the default Bluejeans subscription allows for 100 real time participants. If we want more, we need to take another subscription (with a steep price!). The prices go up, by the amount of simultaneous participants you want, for each webinar tool. I have yet to find a webinar tool that allows me to dynamically increase the maximum amount of simultaneous participants, based on individual webinars.. Most services want you to subscribe to a fixed scheme with a fixed amount of online participant.聽A: (Pier Andrea) I guess it depends a bit on the scope/purpose of the webinar. Also, there #8217;s a limitation in terms of number of attendees you can have with the various webinar platforms (i.e. you may need to pay more if you want to accommodate a larger audience). In general, if I have an audience of 100+, I #8217;d like to have a larger facilitation team, and a more skilled host/MC #8211; to ensure we stay on track while trying to engage the audienceA: (Leandra) Each of the different webinar tools can accommodate various different sizes of audiences.A: (April)聽It depends on the platform and your subscription, but in terms of an optimal number, it depends a bit on the webinar format and audience, and the size of the team putting it on. You need to be able to effectively manage their tech issues, keep on top of the chat, incoming questions etc. We regularly have webinars of 100 people or more for Agrilinks with a team of 3-4 working the webinar 鈥 an AV tech, onlineA: (Nancy White)聽This always goes to PURPOSE. If it is more information dissemination, you can scale larger. If you have an effective breakout and harvest strategy, you can go larger. If you need deep interaction, listening and #8220;talking time, #8221; keep it smaller.聽 The knowledge and practices we have about group聽 size OFFLINE are pretty similar online.http://www.fullcirc.com/2012/09/24/chris-corrigan-on-group-size-in-innovation-and-open-design/Q:聽What #8217;s the etiquette for subscribing webinar attendees from your general listserver ?A:聽(April: We do not subscribe webinar attendees to our mailing list without their explicit permission. We recently have started adding a registration question to get mailing list signups for those who aren鈥檛 聽already on the mailing list.A: (Peter) We keep a database of people who attended past webinars. We send them an email when a new webinar is coming up, but it is up to them to subscribe or not.Q: How do you handle different time zones, taking into account internet limitations outside of the office (after work hours)?A: (Kelly)聽We typically aim for 8 or 9 AM EST so that it鈥檚 not too late for others in different time zones. This, of course, does not really account for people in the US that are in later time zones.A: (Peter) It is difficult to schedule a webinar to 鈥渉it鈥 ALL timezones. We typically schedule our webinar around 13:00 or 14:00 CET (Rome time), which is rather late for Asia and early for the Americas, but a good compromise. Often the timing of webinars is also dictated by the availability of the speakers. So, it depends really on your target public (and their time zones).聽A: (Pier Andrea) Well, if you are organizing a webinar for a global audience, there will always be someone that will have to wake up early or work late in the day. Normally, I #8217;d arrange the schedule based on the speakers #8217; availability/location first, then on the location of the majority of the potential audience.A: (April) It鈥檚 good to be cognizant of your core audience and where they are located, if you have a larger base in one area or another. It鈥檚 impossible to find a time that fits working hours everywhere in the world. You can consider switching time zones to accommodate different audiences or if it鈥檚 something mission critical like a webinar on internal policy changes, you could hold it a few times in different time zones. Of course, with recordings, people can always listen after the fact at a convenient time.聽Q: Are there any of the platforms which is #8220;technically #8221; better in using less bandwidth?A: (Leandra) Skype for Business is bandwidth friendlyA: (Peter) Each webinar tool is a compromise (does it record, does it allow you to show video or presentations, how many online participants does it allow for, what are the bandwidth requirements鈥). Before committing to a single webinar tool, you need to try it out. For sure, for speakers, there is a persistent need for excellent connectivity, but different tools require different bandwidth for participants to view the webinar. Some are very demanding on bandwidth, even for participants鈥:聽Do you advice to rework/edit the recording of the webinar before putting it online?A: (Kelly)聽Before putting it online, I usually watch it and cut out any silences or awkward breaks (i.e. if our internet went down for a minute or two). Not sure if it makes that much of a difference but I think it provides a nicer viewing experience.聽A: (Peter) We always 鈥減ublish鈥 the recording 鈥渁s is鈥, within 24 hours after the actual webinar. This is the raw recording. In the 30 webinars we did in the past 3 years, we only had one occasion where a speaker had problems with his connectivity. In that case, we re-recorded his presentation, and inserted that into the recording before we published it. So, in general, we publish the raw recording. For GLF, we are now also editing the recording afterwards (and it takes a while before that is done), with a condensed (10-15 minutes) video and audio (podcast) summary of the webinar.聽A: (Pier Andrea) With Adobe, I normally just use the Adobe recording if the audience is just internal. This recording gives you a timeline on the side bar, so you can skip to different moments of the recording (e.g. a question in the chat, a change of presentation, etc). When I need to make a recording completely public, I export the Adobe recording in flash, then do some light editing (top amp;tail, fade in/fade out). When possible, I also find it useful breaking down the recording is smaller videos (for example, one for each presentation) to make it more digestible. But never underestimate how time consuming it could be to edit videos!A: (Leandra) 聽I always edit the webinar before adding it to the website.聽 I do this to remove any white noise.聽 Also to tidy up the presentation.A: (April): See below. Not recommended unless there are egregious issues. It鈥檚 good also to look at how many people look at the recordings and other post-event products, and decide accordingly much effort to put into polishing them.聽Q:聽With the recording of the webinar, or even with the live webinar, is it possible to turn off (or edit out) the audio alert when a member of audience joins or leaves? What tool is good for editing white spaces and lenghty pauses in webinar?A: (Kelly)聽Yes, you can do both of these things in Adobe Connect. You can also turn off sound notifications in WebEx.A: (Peter) Most webinar tools allow you to configure the webinar to disable audio alerts when people leave or join. I saw that in our 鈥渨ebinar on webinars鈥, this was mis-configured (my apologies), where we had continuous audio alerts. Normally, this should not happen.A: (Leandra) 聽I use Articulate replayA: (April) Our AV technician will occasionally edit big gaps in a recording using standard video editing software, but I would say it鈥檚 not worth the effort to try to smooth out the usual occasional pauses or momentary technical difficulties. People come to expect these momentary issues as part of a webinar. It can be useful to hold off on starting the recording until the moderator is done with the 鈥渃an you hear me now鈥 type banter and ready to introduce the speakers/topic, however.Q: What webinar tool have you used and what did you find as the pro/cons of it?A: (Pier Andrea): As many of the other speakers, I use Adobe Connect. And I love it! Below some pros and cons:Pros聽Link opens in browserNo need to install anything #8211; often if you use a company laptop you #8217;re not allowed to download and run new programs, need to ask IT to fix it, it can be a hurdle that discourages/prevents participation in the webinarPerforms well in different bandwidth settings聽Break out roomsAllow for multiple conversations, eg. group workMore options to participateMore intimate environment #8211; less fear to talk into the black boxCompetitive pricingEasy to use #8211; upload amp; share contentExport content, meeting recordingDifferent room layouts #8211; more importance to video, presentation or chatSolid and simple phone app (OS and Android)ConsMic issues, at time users don #8217;t find it easily to activate. Or flash is disabled by accident and need to be fixed in browser settings.No shared accounts allowed #8211; one person per account #8211; I always need to be in the room, or share my login detailsYou need to append some standard text to the event link to force it to open in the browser #8211; otherwise in some instances, the #8216;native #8217; link to join may trigger the download of the Adobe addin, which may not always be possible聽No dial in options (or not that I know of)A (Peter): We tried and tested many webinar tools over the years. Each webinar tool has advantages and limitations, and it is up to you to define which features are more important. It goes from bandwidth requirement, technical features, easy of registration, etc鈥 In the tests we did about 2-3 years ago, Bluejeans came out as a winner. Meanwhile the market evolved, and for GLF, we are now trying Crowdcast (but even that tool has advantages and disadvantages).A- (Leandra): We used Vidyo for the first webinar and now we are using Skype for Business, I did investigate other webinar tools, but the University wanted me to rather make use the software available at the institution.Pros:聽It is easy to use, especially if the presenters are not very computer literate. #8211;聽If you do not have SFB, the Webb app is easy to install. #8211;聽As the organizer of the webinar, I am able to control a lot of the backend operations (such as muting microphones, videos etc).Cons:Polls are not visible when participants use a tablet to view the webinarA: (Nancy White)聽See聽http://www.fullcirc.com/2013/01/07/quick-revisit-of-web-meeting-tools-what-is-your-favorite/聽 #8211; Old, but helpful on the picking criteria. Tools change quickly. My main preferences are tools that a) allow the organizers to give as much (or little) control to the participants, which includes peer to peer chat (vs #8220;question #8221; tools or chat that only goes to the moderators #8211; see聽http://www.fullcirc.com/2011/11/16/why-chat-streams-are-critical-to-live-events/聽), tools that allow some visual (especially shared white boards for smaller gatherings and co-creation), IF you use video, display is useful vs distracting (i.e. not fixed and dominating always over everything), and of course, bandwidth suitable/reliable. For example, Skype used to be a solid option for small gatherings with video. That is not true now for the free version and I use Zoom instead.聽Additional resources 聽 #8211; here are some examples from Kelly, on webinar roles and scripts:Webinar Roles amp; ResponsibilitiesKellyOpen the webinar room at 8:00 a.m.Check webinar room set up and ensure presentations are uploaded.Greet presenters at 8:30 and assist with any troubleshootingCheck in with presenters for any questions and remind them of the flowStart the webinar recording when the webinar beginsIntroduce webinar and role as facilitatorCo-facilitate Q amp; ASet up central command roomMove 鈥淲ho鈥檚 Speaking鈥 SlidesJohn (Logged in as SPRING Project鈥擴se Green Text)Collect questions in the chat pod during presentation and pastes them into Google doc during the Q amp; A sessionPastes question and identification into the chat pod as Sarah asks themTroubleshoot audio as necessary. For canned responses click here.Monitor chat pod, encourage comments and responds to requestsIntroduce new speakers in the chat box (i.e. Sally Abbott is now speaking)Monitor chat pod, encourage comments and responds to requestsMonitor audio and mute鈥檚 speakers when they are not speakingSarahIntroduce webinar topic and presentersInput on scriptIntroduce webinar topic and presentersCo-facilitate the Q amp; A period聽CathyLive tweet webinar, highlight important questions and quotes.SPRING Webinar 鈥楧ay Of鈥 ChecklistBeforeRoom Set Up鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Ensure one drop cord and Powerstrip are in the room the day before.鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Set up and test Ethernet Router on at least two computers鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Place labeled Ethernet cords designated location for each presenterWebinar Set Up鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Import contacts from Webform into Constant Contact, schedule reminder email鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Log in to the room as 鈥渘amed host鈥 AT LEAST one hour before the webinar begins and open the room 30 minutes before the webinar begins.鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Phones silenced鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Open audio bridge for webinar room鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Run Audio Wizard and test audio鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Review all layouts and ensure that鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Polls are Open and set to Broadcast鈻÷犅犅犅犅 all chat boxes are cleared鈻÷犅犅犅犅 PowerPoint presentations on all layouts are queued up correctly.鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Once all layouts are set, lock pods (Pods鈫扢ove amp; Resize Pods- unchecked)鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Test presenters鈥 connection and audio. Ensure all presenters at JSI are connected to Ethernet cables and that no presenters or staff are using Google Chrome.鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Ensure everyone can communicate through presenter-host chat and remind presenters of the flow鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Welcome people in chat and audio as they join鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Welcome people via audio every 5 minutes starting 20 minutes before the start time鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Ensure Record is enabled prior to beginningDuring鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Record Webinar鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Monitor chat window and presenters鈥 chat鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Participate in chat as possible; acknowledge most participants as they enter鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Monitor email鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Share resources and links as they are mentioned.After鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Conduct After Action Review鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Thank presenters via email/phone鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Send Chat text to yourself (鈫 through the menu of each chat pod)鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Export polls鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Check recording to ensure good sound and links work鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Ensure final materials are saved to the Google Drive鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Send web content and link to recordings and presentations to KM Officer via Google Docs鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Prepare Follow Up Email in Constant Contact鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Test Follow Up Email鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Send Follow up Email鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Complete Webinar Report鈻÷犅犅犅犅 Send Webinar Report to KM AdvisorAdditional resources聽http://www.fullcirc.com/2014/11/17/beyond-the-webinar/and tons more聽http://www.fullcirc.com/?s=webinar聽plus a guide聽https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ASt3SnX7gymyAL9x7ULmNZae9o-_RmnUUJSC3iPiYnc/edit?usp=sharing #8211; A report on selecting a webinar tool done a little while ago:聽http://www.blogtips.org/review-of-webinar-tools/
Posted on September 25, 2018September 25, 2018Categories events, facilitation, online facilitation, technology stewardshipTags chat
Building an Online Liberating Structures Practice 90 Minutes at a Time Liberating Structures has become central to my practice over the years. I have dabble with using LS online, but the call to do more online is getting stronger, particularly in introducing people to LS and getting immediately to hands on use. I wanted to share some 90 minute #8220;studios #8221; that I have been facilitating in different contexts to introduce LS in the domain context of the participants. In other words, the examples here may be in education, the approach can work with any domain simply by changing the invitations used with the structures. Also, I #8217;ve used the studio approach face to face and it really works well. I #8217;ll write that up another time!Why 90 minute studios?First, the term #8220;studio #8221; comes from the UdGAgora, work a team of us, led by Tanis Morgan of JIBC, with the University of Guadalajara on increasing learner engagement. It was structured as a participatory, hands on online and offline learning experience around the idea of a studio where content is only introduced, and the learning is focused on execution or use of the content. (More of our work with UdG here.)聽 A studio also conjures up the space of an artist, and in many ways, the use of Liberating Structures is a form of social artistry. And yes, I like the term.Second, the experience shared here recaps what we did at the e/Merge Africa聽Festival of Learning online event in July, hosted by, among others, the amazing Tony Carr from University of Capetown.90 minutes is a useful length of time online. It is just on the edge of #8220;too much time #8221; in terms of participant attention, and it is long enough to get an introduction to the content and use 2-3 structures applied to that group #8217;s real domain/needs. Face to face, you can get 3 or even 4 structures in a 90 minute segment, but our experience is that things take longer online due to acclimatization to technology (in our case, Zoom) and the subtleties of converting a process to online.Multiple 90 minute studios can be scheduled over time. Right now 3 rounds of studios seems to build enough traction for people to begin experimenting with and adopting LS into their practice, but I have not done a rigorous follow up. That would be a wonderful experiment. AND, you can do a stand alone studio #8211; absolutely!Studio #8220;Strings #8221;Liberating Structures are often used in a sequence called a #8220;string. #8221; What follows are some different strings for studios, options and my rationale behind each string.Studio 1 #8211; What is Liberating Structures and Why Should I Care?Purpose: Provide just enough experience with and information about LS so that participants want to try it and/or learn more. It #8217;s like that yummy food sample in the market that draws you in.Impromptu Networking in pairs or 1-2-4-All to immediately demonstrate how distribution of power (in this case to everyone in pairs) can change interaction, particularly online where we have been #8220;presented to #8221; to death! Debrief by showing the LS microstructures underneath Impromptu Networking/1-2-4-All and transition into #8230;Brief introduction to LS (slides and chat) to get the fundamentals visible. (An example here of slides for three studios in the education domain.)Users Experience Fishbowl to hear from real practitioners in the domain share the good, the bad and the ugly of using LS in their work. What is great about doing this online is you can tap into practitioners anywhere which is super powerful.15% Solutions to get participants to think about something they can do with what they learned NOW.Point to resources and, if appropriate, future studio opportunities.Studio 2: Real Application of Liberating StructuresPurpose: Use LS to do something real in the domain of the participants that gets results in 90 minutes.In the application studio, we find someone in the organization/group/network domain who has a real need or challenge and we design a string of LS for them to use in addressing that need. The practitioner(s) are in the center and the other participants are essentially watching a coached design session. Note: this session always seems too short, but I hesitate to go to 2 hours!Something to 鈥渓ift off from where we left off鈥 from the first studio. A fun way is to get the practitioners to briefly share their challenge, then have the whole group do some creative destruction to make way for innovation with聽TRIZ聽.Next we get to the issues. The team shares their challenge聽 with options like聽Celebrity Interview using Purpose to Practice聽and Matchmaker for draft string. I notice that we blur the boundary between structures as we get intensely into design. The other participants are in #8220;watching mode #8221; but also able to contribute via chat. We have everyone NOT on the design team turn off their cameras in this phase.What, So What, Now What with everyone to debrief, re-point to resources, microstructures, LS values and invite for session #3 as appropriate. Sometimes if we need to close rapidly and lost our debrief time, I close with 鈥淛ust Three Words鈥 (10 mins)String 3: Diving Deeper into Liberating StructuresPurpose: Peel back enough layers to reveal the basic structure of LS, some related complexity theory and show that there are many layers of value in using LS.The intention behind this studio was for people who attended #1 and #2. What often happens is we get new folks, so you need to be attentive to give at least a little context at the front end. The string should be very flexible and often I use the beginning of this studio to find out what people want to try and do, and then wrap the explanation and theory around it.Reset Context/Liftoff with Impromptu Networking around burning questions, or聽聽What, So What, Now What? This can be very rich in pairs or triads. From the results, we choose what structure to do next.Discuss user groups, the LS Slack, immersion workshops, website, book, app and other resources.Do an Ecocycle on our LS practices (or other domain related topic) to expose people to one of the richer but (in my opinion) harder to initially grasp LS.And complete with 15% Solutions to stimulate follow up, action and behavior change. For example, if this was with a team working on learning and diffusion, we would explore the next opportunity they needed to unleash and engage people in the work, and what LS they might try.聽 If we skip Ecocycle, I love doing 15% Solutions and then Troika Consulting to use peer input to deepen and refine聽 an idea.Implications of LS onlineAll of the Liberating Structures mentioned above have been successfully and repeatedly done online. We are still experimenting with other LS. They do require the type of break out room capability that Zoom has. The use of video cameras really enhances the process #8211; and sometimes people don #8217;t have cameras, or even microphones, so make sure that is addressed in your preparations. There are certainly some particular tips about doing these structures online, but that will have to wait for a later post!Resources and ExamplesRecordings and artifacts from the e/Merge series on LS for Increasing Online Learning Engagement in July, 2018.Session 1 Recording:聽https://calpoly.zoom.us/recording/share/Setle1omPEopi_x67krupFI_U5tXaFxeBa2G4ecoLZ6wIumekTziMwSession 2 Recording:聽聽https://calpoly.zoom.us/recording/share/8tjf8m6bbiNr6sEd51HTvvYBHjLTlA_y5wB-tQHA6zawIumekTziMwSession聽 3 recording:聽聽https://calpoly.zoom.us/recording/share/cI59OBQNE2ibI1m-6jTP2RMTT454DPyk7h2WVIQkIsywIumekTziMwSlides from all three sessions:聽https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ebVBkKDbXjguhDRoZHZ9PEV_lyAmaANkPMkV8ZSTcRs/edit#slide=id.g3ce42f6c42_0_1236
Posted on September 14, 2018September 14, 2018Categories facilitation, Liberating Structures, online facilitation, online interaction2 Comments on Building an Online Liberating Structures Practice 90 Minutes at a Time
Adaptive Strategy Development IntroductionDesigning in complex and emergent contexts challenges the traditional log frame approach. With a set of Liberating Structures we can create a more adaptive and聽 actionable strategy聽 for project design and development that contextualizes the plan into a fuller picture of the landscape within which it operates. This is a very belated follow up on the application of the process with the good folks at the聽University of Illinois for the INGENEAS project where we used this approach in April.聽Liberating Structures are easy-to-learn microstructures that enhance relational coordination and trust. They quickly foster lively participation in groups of any size, making it possible to truly include and unleash everyone. Liberating Structures are a disruptive innovation that can replace more controlling or constraining approaches. They are engaging, easily learned and replicated and #8220;complexity friendly. #8221;聽To learn more about Liberating Structures, please visit http://www.liberatingstructures.com.With a fully engaged and flexible approach, challenges such as complex international development projects can work with emerging contexts, rather than struggle against them.聽 Business with rapidly changing markets can develop a portfolio of approaches to respond quickly and accurately.聽As a process, participants in all parts of a system can engage, probe and sense on the ground, and loop the learning back into the strategy e for iterative improvements. Monitoring and evaluation approaches that require flexibility to work in complex contexts are designed as part of the landscape, not afterwards. Framing the strategic planning as an adaptive landscape versus a document situates the work in its complex setting. By complex, we mean we may not be able to predict outcomes, even with extensive expertise, and only understand causality after the fact. For example, most international development work operates partially and sometimes mostly in complex settings. So the use of complexity-based approaches helps us work more productively and adaptively in these contexts.The Six Essential Questions of the Adaptive Strategy LandscapeThe strategy landscape, or #8220;knotworking #8221; as it is increasingly called,聽 is framed around six essential questions and held together through the Ecocycle. These questions frame, drive and help us evaluate our strategy.PURPOSE: Why, why, why is this work important to us and the wider community? 聽How do we justify our work to others?CONTEXT: What is happening around us that demands a fresh/new/novel approach (creative adaptation and change)?BASELINE: Where are we starting, really?CHALLENGE: What paradoxical challenges must we face to make progress?AMBITION: Given our purpose, what seems possible now?ACTION amp; EVALUATION: How are we moving/breaking away from the present and moving toward the future? How do we know?The questions, particularly the focus on purpose and ambition聽pull a group into possibilities as they make choices and identify next steps.聽 While they seem linear, there are feedback loops. As the group discovers new things, they may come back and modify earlier #8220;answers. #8221;聽The EcocycleThe Ecocycle聽provides the glue across the six questions and helps us recognize that we are always working in emerging contexts. To fully exploit knowledge and practice that has been vetted and ready for scale (maturity), we also have to pay attention to what is no longer adding value (creative destruction), what is needing to be birthed (networking) and then iteratively developing those ideas (birth) until they reach their own maturity. The Ecocycle illuminates the pulling from gestation to birth to maturity to creative destruction where strategy-and-tactics are combined. 聽A new mindset pops into view. It can also help assess current state of activities, assets, relationships and resources, as well as identify future possible actions.聽Strings for Each QuestionLiberating Structures are most often used in a combination. The six questions are engagingly answered through a series, or 鈥渟tring鈥 of Liberating Structures. There are a range of structures that can be used for each question. Here are some examples:PURPOSE: Why, why, why is this work important to us and the wider community? 聽How do we justify our work to others?9 Whys 聽聽 #8211; Make the Purpose of Your Work Together Clear. When we dig into our assumptions, our true purpose may reveal itself #8211; and surprise us!1-2-4-All聽 #8211; Engage Everyone Simultaneously in Generating Questions, Ideas, and Suggestions. Thinking alone, clarifying in pairs then building a sense of ideas across larger groups help us step beyond the #8220;usual #8221; ideas and observations and facilitate input from all #8211; even the quiet folks.Drawing Together聽 #8211; Reveal Insights and Paths Forward Through Nonverbal Expression. We tap into different parts of our brain, may reveal new insights and prevent jumping to premature judgement or closure.CONTEXT: What is happening around us that demands a fresh/new/novel approach (creative adaptation and change)?Mad Tea #8211; Connecting with others to reveal surprising truths and action steps. Using rapidly rotating paired conversations, we also provide a smaller, safer space to reveal initial ideas, fears, and issues.Discovery and Action Dialog #8211; Discover, Invent, and Unleash Local Solutions to Chronic Problems.聽We build on our strengths, even the ones we didn #8217;t know we had!Users Experience Fishbowl #8211; Share Know-How Gained from Experience with a Larger Community.聽BASELINE: Where are we starting, really?What, So What, Now What? #8211; Together, Look Back on Progress to Date and Decide What Adjustments Are Needed.TRIZ #8211; Stop Counterproductive Activities and Behaviors to Make Space for Innovation.Critical Uncertainties #8211; Develop Strategies for Operating in a Range of Plausible Yet Unpredictable Futures. We get out of our #8220;thinking ruts. #8221;Note: The baseline also gives us a starting point for monitoring and evaluation design at the start, not the end of our work!CHALLENGE: What paradoxical challenges must we face to make progress?TRIZ #8211; Stop Counterproductive Activities and Behaviors to Make Space for Innovation. It is amazing how liberating it is to STOP something. We do too much adding #8230;Wicked Questions #8211; Articulate the Paradoxical Challenges That a Group Must Confront to Succeed. Finding the AND instead of the EITHER/OR.AMBITION: Given our purpose, what seems possible now?25/10 Crowd Sourcing #8211; Rapidly Generate and Sift a Group鈥檚 Most Powerful Actionable Ideas. Get some initial ideas on the table rather than trying to design the perfect solution. Especially by committee!15% Solutions #8211; Discover and Focus on What Each Person Has the Freedom and Resources to Do Now.聽 Empower immediate action, results and iterative improvement.Troika Consulting #8211; Get Practical and Imaginative Help from Colleagues Immediately. Sharpen ideas for launch.ACTION amp; EVALUATION: How are we moving/breaking away from the present and moving toward the future? How do we know?What, So What, Now What?聽 #8211; Together, Look Back on Progress to Date and Decide What Adjustments Are Needed. At the micro or macro level, for process and for the actual work or practice.Ecocycle #8211; Analyze the Full Portfolio of Activities and Relationships to Identify Obstacles and Opportunities for Progress. Situate the work.WINFY #8211; Surface Essential Needs Across Functions and Accept or Reject Requests for Support. Identify how we work together practically and honestly.Purpose to Practice #8211; Design the Five Essential Elements for a Resilient and Enduring Initiative. Get the work GOING!The Visual CanvasWhen working in complex contexts, there is often a lot to track and wrap one #8217;s head around. Some of these things are simple next steps, clear data, and identified issues. Others are less certain. We have developed a visual canvas with Ecocycle at the center, surrounded by the six questions for capturing and making sense of the most important findings of the group as they work through the process. Keeping both the questions and the Ecocycle visible throughout the process helps ground and reground as the group progresses. Often post it notes are used so that as new data, insights, and challenges are surfaced, the canvas can be updated. At the end, there is a #8220;story spine #8221; that can support the telling of the strategy story to others.The visual can be on a large piece of paper on the wall for face to face groups, or a digital artifact online with movable digital notes.Examples from Other GroupsI have used this approach with a number of groups over the past three years. The results have been:From the Fire Adaptive Communities retreatSurprising #8211; One group not only entirely rethought their approach, but the use of Liberating Structures also reshaped their process.Fast聽 #8211; Quick, iterative interactions revealed far more than traditional SWOT approaches. People are usually amazed at how much they can get done in a day in developing their strategy and implementation.Possibly threatening #8211; If one or more people come in to the process thinking they know the outcome and their agenda will prevail, this approach can destabilize them and stimulate sabotaging. It is important that everyone knows that Liberating Structures engage and unleash everyone and if you open that Pandora #8217;s box, you need to be ready to listen to and respond to that engagement.New questions #8211;聽 Some of the things that have surfaced in this work include: how to mine the past without falling into thinking traps in complex contexts where the past may not help us understand our path towards the future; understand how this approach supports and makes visible the decision making processes and finally, how to weave it into developmental evaluation.Inspirations/ResourcesThis was developed off of the initial inspiration from Keith McCandless, co-founder of Liberating Structures, and conversations with Fisher Qua and Eva Schiffer. The first draft was developed to support a strategic planning workshop at the University of Illinois for the INGENEAS project.聽http://www.hsdinstitute.org/resources/plan-in-uncertainty-strategic-adaptive-action.html聽
Posted on September 13, 2018September 13, 2018Categories change, complexity, creative destruction, engagement, evaluation, facilitation, harvesting, Liberating Structures Posts navigationPage 1
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