Online Deliberation - New Opportunities and Reminders of Ongoing Common Ground for Action (CGA) Forums

Blog Category: 

  • Online forums
  • Common Ground for Action

From Kara Dillard - Many of you are already aware of and familiar with the National Issues Forums' (NIF) online deliberation platform Common Ground for Action (CGA).  We’re trying a few new things and reminding everyone of some upcoming CGA events to promote deliberation.

The National Issues Forums' (NIF) Common Ground for Action online deliberative forums can be convened specifically for your campus or classroom, neighborhood or town, or community group. Participating in online forums is easy - all you need is a computer and internet connection; no microphones or video required. 

Here is how a locally-organized online forum might work:

  • You set the date and time in coordination with our CGA coordinator, Kara Dillard, and invite your participants.
  • Participants will register online for your specific forum at a link available only to those in your community, campus/classroom, or organization.
  • Online forums deliberate in groups of 10-12, but we can organize multiple simultaneous "breakout" sessions to accommodate your forum plans. Online forums last about two hours but can be easily modified to fit a shorter or longer time window.
  • You and your team of moderators can moderate as usual. If you like, we'll provide a co-moderator who's very familiar with the CGA platform and can handle any technological tasks or issues (They're actually very rare).
  • All of the NIF issue guides are available for you to use in CGA, including those recently updated for the Hidden Common Ground initiative. These include:
    • Health Care
    • Mass Shootings
    • Immigration 
    • A House Divided
    • The Economy (starting in September)
    • National Security / Foreign Policy
    • Safety and Justice

More details on CGA and how it works can be found here: 

If you’re a university faculty member like me, and need some online interactive activities for your students, I hope you’ll join us or our week of cross-campus online deliberative forums specifically for college students held on April 20-25th.  Each day has a CGA forum scheduled and we’ll be matching different students together in a CGA room so that we can maximize the diversity of voices in each forum. You can pair student participation with a reflection paper or critical assessment of the forum discussion as an assignment to check student learning. We’ve been doing this for a couple of years now with much success. MORE INFORMATION HERE:
Last, we will be convening a series of CGA online deliberations on the updated Coming to America immigration reform issue guide in partnership with USATODAY’s Hidden Common Ground project.  The next round of forums starts in early May so keep these on your calendar and let your local networks know that they too can deliberate on key election year issues. For more information:
I’ll be holding CGA office hours for anyone who has questions about the platform, wants to talk online convening or moderating or who wants to practice. The next office hours are on Thursday March 19th from 12-1:00pm ET. Join the Zoom call anytime:

Any questions? Please email Darla Minnich or Kara Dillard