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Moderator Hacks

These hacks came from the May and July CGA Moderator Preparation sessions held here in Dayton! What hacks or other tricks do you use to make your forums smoother and/or more deliberative?

• Use a co-moderator! This co-mod could have a variety of roles: timekeeper, tech, fact-checker. One option: Official moderator (who schedules forum and logs in as moderator handles logistics, technical info, moving participants from one section to another; the other moderator technically logs in as a participant, but enters their name as “Moderator So-and-So.” This moderator facilitates the deliberation sections.

• Moderator cheat sheet with only most necessary text/include copying/pasting instructions

• Use incognito tab to be able to see what participants see.

• Make sure participants download Option Chart so they can compare across options as they wish.

• Use CGA graphics capability as starting point or augmentation for in-person or hybrid forums

• Use the time when participants are doing their individual work to formulate questions to stimulate deliberation.

• Don’t shortchange Common Ground reflection time.

Other experienced CGA mods— what say you? : )

Moving through options

I would just reiterate the point about don't shortchange Common Ground reflection time--which means is moving people through the options in a timely way. Set a separate stopwatch timer (or just jot down the time on a piece of paper, whatever works for you) to be cognizant of where you are timewise with options. If it is a bigger, well-informed group it is easy to keep a conversation going on a particular option, but then there isn't time to discuss the common ground.

Julianne Dunn (not verified)
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Practice Patience

These are great suggestions that came up in our practice sessions multiple times. I also want to stress that this format takes practice before a moderator gets comfortable with this format. It will take a couple of sessions to feel natural with the flow and managing the components but once you get a few times under your belt, it will feel so natural. First time participants will feel awkward but encourage them to ask questions through whisper. Just like a real life forum, people get the pattern around the second activity and it will really start to roll!

I would also suggest encouraging participants to fill out their personal stories and reading each others. Not only do these stories provide some discussion opportunities for the moderators to use but they also give participants the personal connection that can be missing with an online interaction.