Facilitating Team and Small Group Work

A workspace can be a useful tool to support ongoing work of a team, project, committee, workshop, or some other group. Workspaces have little structure by default, which allows for a blank page to be structured in a way that scaffolds or guides small group work and can capture the exchange of ideas and materials among participants. Workshops may use small group activities that use a workspace to record notes from breakout discussions and various working sessions. As the event continues to progress during the day, over a week, or after a workshop has ended, the information can evolve with participant input and be recorded every step of the way, including a synthesis at the end, for which content can be moved to a more public page, with the group's permission. If groups record their notes directly online (rather than in a Word document or the like) other members, workshop groups, or event leaders can easily see what everyone is working on as it happens and centrally stored going forward. These pages last indefinitely, so participants can go back in at any time, even following the workshop, to revisit or add to ideas.

Pre-populating workspace pages can jump start small group work simultaneously by creating multiple workspace pages for each group. Like a virtual worksheet, each page could contain templates with prompting text before work begins to encourage a common format of recording and to help participants and collaborators stay focused on the goals for the work. The pre-populating material may be some text indicating the structure and may include documents, presentations, papers, any type of file that may be pertinent to the discussion.

These pages can quickly fill with ideas and over time can evolve into new web pages for public consumption, action items, or planning projects depending on the purpose of the group. This is great approach for structuring note-taking during working group sessions, or to build a set of pages that shares results within a community during an event. The workspace has controlled access, therefore the information within the workspace is only available to those within the group and remains that way indefinitely.


Facilitate Brainstorming and Discussion in a Small Group