disConferencing, a five-and-a-third-hour model: Getting set up & going

Layout of space

Circles of 8 chairs (for session 1) arranged around a central space with a circle of 12 chairs (to be used for sessions 2 & 4).  Each of the 8-chair circles has a number that remains put and is visible even when the chairs are moved. Additional numbers on the walls for additional groups in session 3, but without chairs at the start.

Food & refreshment table set out from the wall (for access from all sides) (perhaps next to registration table).

Board a little away from the food table for posting PostIts from session 1.

Board a little away from the food table for posting cards for session 3.

Hour ? to +0.15


As participants arrive, the two Check-in coordinators ask them to:

a)     sign up to a listserv if they are open to follow-up emails from other participants;

b)    provide their name (or handle) on a sign up sheet if they have read the pre-circulated reading;

c)     print one thing on a 4×6 card (or PostIt) that they want help thinking about (e.g., “how to get the word out about events at Lucy Parsons radical bookstore and community space,” “how to build an audience for my next book on xx”…).  (These cards form the basis for Session 3);

d)    take a copy of the instructions handout;

e)     go to a circle with an organizer (filling up one circle before starting the next).

Once Session 1 is underway, Check-in coordinators randomly select 10 people who have read the pre-circulated reading to be primary discussants in Session 2.

(continued in next post)


About Peter J. Taylor
Peter Taylor teaches and directs programs on critical thinking, reflective practice, and science-in-society at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He studies the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context as well as innovation in teaching, group process, and interdisciplinary collaboration (see bit.ly/pjtaylor). He is especially interested in conversations with others who are, in diverse ways, "troubled by heterogeneity" (bit.ly/tbhblog)

One Response to disConferencing, a five-and-a-third-hour model: Getting set up & going

  1. Pingback: disConferencing, a five-and-a-third-hour model « Probe—Create Change—Reflect

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