Script for the host of a Collaborative Exploration

in development, 4 January 2014


  • On the public google+ community for the CEs schedule an event to be held a week before first CE session. This event is a hangout on air titled "<topic of CE>: Preview of 'Collaborative Exploration'" At the start of the description for the event state "If you miss this preview, feel free to watch the youtube recording of it or read about it at <URL for the CE scenario> and to register at <URL for registration form>. The time for the weekly 60-minute CE hangouts will be set to suit those who register within a day after the preview." Then insert a short description of the CE scenario and of the virtues of CEs.
    • e.g., "CEs address the needs of online learners who want to: dig deeper, make “thicker” connections with other learners than in most MOOCs; connect topics with their own interests; participate for shorter periods than a semester-long MOOC; learn without needing credits or badges for MOOC completion."
  • Share the invite to this event with any other relevant communities you are a member of and invite people to spread the word.
  • At the start of the event, remember to turn the broadcast on so it gets recorded on you tube even if noone is listening in. Describe the scenario and the CE process. Emphasize the need to register asap, to specify all times that are possible (not only the ones you prefer), and to attend the first hangout (which involves extended introductions that allow rapid building of a community for the CE). At the end of the event, post the URL for the youtube in the event notice.
    • If time and resources are available, this preview could have scripted exchanges and show higher production values, or give a brief experience of CE interactions (e.g., via freewriting and a check-in).
  • Create the private google+ community for the CE, including links to:
  • One day after the preview, determine the time that suits the most registrants and edit the Preview event so
    • its title is now "By registration: Collaborative Exploration on..."
    • the time is now the actual time of the first session
    • the place is "60-minute hangout each <day of the week> at <time of the day> for 4 weeks: <dates>"
    • the description includes "The URL for the first hangout will be provided only to those who use <URL for application form> to apply, which entails making a commitment to attend the first hangout and at least 2 of the other 3 hangouts.
  • From inside the private google+ community invite everyone who applied. In the invitation, explain that: The time was set to meet the preferences of the most applicants. Others are free to join and make posts and read posts that convey your interest in the scenario for the CE. After the first session, anyone who wasn't able to join the hangout will be dropped from the community (no offense meant). Repeat this invite for anyone who applies late.
  • If there are enough applicants to run separate CEs at different times, create additional private google+ communities with the hangout time in the title then invite the corresponding applicants to join that community.

Before the CE starts (in fact, as soon as possible after the time is set)
  • Create an event on the private community for the hangouts, in which the description includes the preparation for the first session (copied from Session structure & sequence.

Just before each session: Start Hangout using the icon inside a "Share what's new" post on the private g+ community. ALTERNATIVE: If you need to record it as a "hangout on air" so it can be made available to a participant who has to miss a session, then use the hangout on air option in the google+ menu (and invite members of the private google+ community) and also share the hangout URL on the "Share what's new" post. Use hangout on air only if there is someone who is definitely going to participate in the CE, but is unable to come to that session.
  • In either case, copy the hangout URL into the place for the Event so it can be found in more than one place.
  • Do not experiment with settings, wireless, browsers, computer, etc. after initiating the hangout because there is a risk that you'll encounter something you hadn't before and get snarled. Do any experimenting in advance of initiating the hangout.

Getting each session started
  • If recording as hangout on air, press Broadcast to start recording.
  • While waiting for this to activate, paste the short description of the scenario into the chat.

After each CE session
  • If session has been recorded on youtube, IMMEDIATELY use video manager to set the permission to unlisted, which means only people with the link can find the recording. Then share that link on the private g+ community.
  • If a google form has been used to gather thoughts from the session, collate the responses and post them to the private g+ community.
  • Create event for next session (or update the title and date of the existing event); include the guidelines for preparation for that session and for the session itself (copied from Session structure & sequence).

Session 1
Spoken script: "Welcome. The main task today is for us to get to know each other in relation to the topic of the Collaborative Exploration, which is <insert CE topic>.
But first a few technical matters: 1. Mute your mic when you are not talking. 2. Use the chat column on the right to put your initials when you want to take a turn talking. When you finish talking, call on the next person who has asked to talk. 3. Don't use the chat for side conversations. Instead, focus on listening well. Questions?
Now a short reminder of the topic: <Read out pre-selected lines from the scenario>
Before we talk about how this topic interests us, let's do 4 minutes freewriting to get present and gather our thoughts about what the topic means to us, about what we hope to get from participation in this CE. (Freewriting, in short, is writing without pausing. If that means you say 'Blah, blah, blah' for a while, that's OK. If you go off topic and remind yourself of the food shopping you need to do, that's OK as well."<If someone arrives late, explain quickly what everyone is doing and then get back to freewriting.>
<4 minutes later> "OK. Finish up the thought you're having.
<30 seconds later> The main part of today's session is for each of us to take 5 minutes to give our life story--or at least that part of it relevant to why we would join a CE on <insert CE topic>. The rest of us listen, making notes about ways that we connect with what the other person says and ideas we have to help extend what they are thinking about. If we have time at the end, we'll talk about the connections we notice. I'll go first with the autobiographical introduction to get the ball rolling. The rest of you can put your initials in the chat when you are ready to take a turn. Can someone volunteer to let us know by chat when we have 1 minute left and when time is up?"
<During the introductions, if someone says they are done but they have time left over, encourage them to fill in more personal history, perhaps suggesting a thread you heard that could be fleshed out.>
<After each introduction>"Take a minute to note 'connections and extensions'=places where your interests or background intersect with the speaker's and suggestions to the speaker for extending their work (via reading, people to talk with, ideas, etc.)"<Optional: Use a form like for people to share these>
<When introductions are finished, if there is more than 12 minutes left in the hour>"Let us take a minute or two to make <or to complete> notes on connections and extensions we have seen. Then we can take turns to share some of these."<Optional: Use a form like for people to share these. In that case, allow more time than 1-2 minutes> "Put your initials in the chat if you want to take a turn talking. When you have finished talking, call on the next person whose initials are in the chat. Try to highlight questions and ideas that have been opened up and minimize statements or advocacy of positions you already had worked out for yourself."
the rest still needs to be fleshed out into a script
<With 12 minutes to go, close off the turn-taking>Gather our thoughts (using a format like but posted to the google+ community for the CE)"We will close by a go around on highlights from this first session. But first let me preview what's ahead.During the week, Between-session work: Spend at least 90 minutes a) on inquiries related to the case and posting about this to google+ community for the CE; and b) just before session 2, review the google+ community posts of others. (If you are wondering how to define a meaningful and useful line of inquiry, review the scenario for the CE, any associated materials, and posts from other participants. Think about what you would like to learn more about or dig deeper into. You are, in the end, left to judge for yourself whether what interests you is meaningful and useful.)

Session 2. Five-phase format: Freewriting on our thoughts about the case, followed by a check-in. Then turn-taking “dialogue process” to clarify what we are thinking about the case. Session finishes with us gathering and sharing our thoughts as we look ahead to making work-in-progress (W-I-P) presentations in session 3.

Between-session work: Spend at least 90 minutes a) on inquiries related to the case and b) preparing a W-I-P presentation.
  • Before session 3, use the view menu on your ppt, pdf, etc. software to remove ribbons, toolbars etc., so the window you share on your presentation is as close as you can get to a full screen or slide show mode. PRACTICE using screenshare so you have it ready to go when it's your turn.
  • Optional extra: Upload W-I-P presentation to google docs and make a post that links to it.

Session 3. Work-in-progress presentations. (7-10 minutes total for each participant [depending on the number of participants]) Plus-delta feedback is made by everyone on each presentation (posted as a chat on google+ for the community). Time permitting, participants also speak some questions or make suggestions.
  • To share a presentation on hangout, use screenshare but do NOT switch to full screen or slide show mode (because this mode is not viewable by the others on hangout).

Between-session work: Post additional feedback on presentations (optional). Digest the feedback on your presentation and produce final report by revising W-I-P presentation, uploading it to somewhere accessible (e.g., google docs or a blogpost) and posting a link to the google+ community for the CE. Begin making reflective posts (optional).

Session 4. Reflection, using Five-phase format: Freewriting to bring our thoughts to the surface, followed by a check-in. Turn-taking “dialogue process” to explore our thinking about a) how the CE contributed to the topic and b) to the experiential goal, as well as c) how to extend what has emerged during the CE. Session finishes with us gathering and sharing our thoughts as before, but this time we will be reviewing the whole CE (using a format like but posted to the google+ community).

After session 4 (optional): Participants share on the wider community not only the reports they have prepared but also reflections on the CE process.