Project Brainstorming

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The first thing you will do together in your small groups is brainstorm, or quickly develop, a list of possible group projects for your group to pursue.


Brainstorming Goals

Your goal for this brainstorming session is to develop a list of possible projects your group could pursue, and develop a list of questions the group would need to answer to have the information to pursue the project successfully. Wiki pages have been provided for you to record these lists below. If you can answer the questions as you go along, with information quickly to hand, do so. If not, note the question and move on. If the questions raised about a project make it seem critically flawed, consider eliminating it as a possibility and moving on.

Brainstorming Tips

As you brainstorm possible projects, remember to:

  • Take multiple points of view into account by considering the suggestions of all of your group members for possible projects.
  • Avoid groupthink. Be sure to critically examine each proposal.
  • Solicit the input of all group members by asking "gatekeeping questions" as described in section 83c. Remember that consulting with less verbal members in another medium (email or the wiki) may help keep them involved.
  • Think critically about each possible project. What sort of resources and skills will be needed to complete it? How well will it accomplish the project goals? Is it ambitious enough?
  • For this brainstorming session, try not to get bogged down when you don't have information at hand. Instead, simply make a note of what you need to know about each project for later research and then move on.
  • Work together to clarify important issues. Does anything seem vague or unclear about a fellow group member's proposal? Work together to talk it through, and try to arrive at a clear understanding of the proposed project together.
  • Summarize the results of your brainstorming session by recording them on the wiki page provided for your group below.

Next Steps For Groups

At the end of your brainstorming session today, you should:

  • Keep your group work in motion by scheduling your next group meeting (remember project proposals must be complete by next Wednesday!).
  • Build your group network by exchanging contact information. Remember that regular contact will build group solidarity. Social networking sites like Facebook can be handy for this.
  • Set clear goals for group members to accomplish before the next meeting. For example, group members could select specific unanswered questions about possible proposed topics to research.
  • Set preliminary goals for what you want to accomplish by the next meeting, and put a mechanism in place for amending or revising those goals (feel free to use the wiki for this).

Building Communication Skills

As you brainstorm and begin to meet your group members, remember to practice these group communication skills:

  • Build consensus! All group members should feel valued and have their ideas heard!
  • Avoid rushing to judgment about any of your group members. Remember that you are just meeting!
  • At the same time, pay attention to cues that will help you get to know your group members better and respond to future interactions with them correctly.
  • If you know you are prone to apprehension in small group settings, try using the techniques described in section 83a.
  • Notice which of the roles described in chapter 83c you seem to be prone to. Consider how you will use these strengths to help your group in the future.
  • Notice which of the roles described in chapter 83c your fellow group members seem prone to. Consider how you might guide them towards successfully fulfilling that role.
  • Notice any disruptive behaviors ("anti-group roles") engaged in by yourself or your fellow group members. Think of some possible strategies for rectifying these.

Brainstorming Wiki Pages

Use the wiki pages provided below to keep notes from this brainstorming session. Feel free to return to and edit these notes as your research and planning progresses.

Section A5

Section J6

Section B6

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