Home Science CommunicationCommunity & events What happens on the internet does not stay on the internet (part 5) – summary of a collaborative discussion

What happens on the internet does not stay on the internet (part 5) – summary of a collaborative discussion

by Eva Amsen

To close this series of posts, a summary of the full collaborative discussion about the things everyone should know about science, from online suggestions to in-person interactive activities to panel discussion.

Part 1 – online conversation
Part 2 – poster with suggestions
Part 3 – summarizing the poster
Part 4 – panel discussion


Step 10: Distillation and summary of a collaborative discussion

And finally, I went over the whole process and thought about what went well and not so well, and wrote up this incredibly lengthy description of what I did (you’re reading part 5 of it right now). It was difficult, because I couldn’t remember everything from the panel discussion, because I was moderating and not taking notes. I definitely didn’t like how I summarized the poster, and decided that should be done differently. Either not at all when time is short, or leave much more time to summarize it collectively.

Do we know what everyone should know about science? No, but overall a lot of people got to think about it, and that’s a start. I managed to get an online conversation to an offline event, and several people there asked for an online roundup (of course they didn’t know it would take me more than two months to finish it…)

It occurred to me that this entire process was…a process, that it didn’t have all the answers ( still no list of ten things everyone should know about science) and was very, very much a human activity. Was it science? I wouldn’t say so, but I would call it an experiment. An experiment in conversation.The ten steps of the whole process listed once more:

The ten steps of the whole process listed once more:

  1. Online suggestion
  2. Online spread
  3. Proposed session at SciBarCamp opening night
  4. Presented introduction on Saturday
  5. Had people write ideas on a poster
  6. Summarized the poster
  7. Panel discussion
  8. Discussion with audience
  9. Discussion on blogs afterward
  10. Distillation

I think you can do this with any type of meeting or conference, especially one where not everyone who is interested in the meeting is able to attend (SciFoo, for example). You can give everyone a chance to participate in the discussion by starting it online, and if someone has insightful comments, these can then be brought up at the actual meeting, and some notes can later be posted online again.

I wouldn’t do it for everything, because some discussions are best thought up on the spot, but for anyone who already has an idea in their head that they want to talk about it would be useful to start talking about it online (publicly, so anyone can participate).

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1 comment

Timo Hannay June 13, 2008 - 7:54 AM

Hi Eva,
I really enjoyed this series of posts – very thought-provoking. And congratulations on what sounds like a great Sci Bar Camp!


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