Archive for Community – Page 3

Death Cafés

Has anyone heard about, hosted, or been part of a Death Café?

They are impromptu cafes in homes or literally in cafes, where people gather to talk about their experiences, feelings, fears, ideas, etc. about death. I've been hearing about them a lot lately and am really intrigued … given the power of the subject, I bet they can be quite amazing.

Here's an article about one held at the edge of Beachy Head – an infamous "suicide cliff" on the South Downs in East Sussex where I used to live. The article is by Claire Davies and was published in Aeon Magazine.

Learning From Each Other: 10 Tips for Maximizing Hosting World Café: The Fundamentals

10 Key Tips, gleaned from wisdom generated during the Hosting World Café: The Fundamentals courses at Fielding:

1) Complete the Reading Before the Course Starts
This is probably the most valuable advice we heard, and the one most often repeated. The course is fast-paced and once it starts you'll want to immerse yourself fully in the assignments and peer conversation. Having done the required pre-reading will give you confidence, valuable knowledge, & a solid basis for fruitful participation.

2) Post Your Weekly Assignments Early in the Week
You'll be doing the bulk of your coursework in rotating World Cafe "tables"; each week you'll join a new table and get a new assignment. Each assignment has two parts: 1) responding to a question, and 2) building on each other's responses.

This is a team process, so by posting your response right away on Monday you give not only yourself but your whole table the best chance of receiving maximum benefit from the week's knowledge-building process.

3) Devote Regular Times to Your Coursework
This course has a regular rhythm and finding your own beat within it will help you keep up and get the most from the assignments and your World Cafe conversations. You'll find your own pace, but most participants find that devoting an hour or so, at least two or three times a week, is a good rhythm.

4) Fill in Your Profile & Read Each Other's
One of the challenges of working online is getting to know your fellow participants without being able to see each other or get visual cues. One of the simplest and most useful ways to learn about each other is by utilizing participant profiles.

Upload a photo of yourself and share personal details in your profile that will give others an idea of who you are beyond your role or position. Give links to websites that will reveal more about you if you have them. When you join a new table, start out by reading the profiles of the people you are with. Refer back to people's profile often to get perspective on who you are working with and gain insight into their thinking.

5) Participate, Participate, Participate
Given the largely peer-learning format of this course, the key to receiving the most value and best quality of learning from it is, quite simply, participation. If ever there was a case to prove the old maxim "you get out what you put in", this is it. What's most interesting here is that in this course, as in life, you're not in it alone. The quality of your participation automatically raises the bar for everyone else, as theirs does for you. Your active contribution can help stimulate a culture of learning and collaboration that yields exceptional results for everyone, not only during the course but also extending far beyond it. 

6) Attend the Optional Study Groups
One of the most popular improvements we've made to this course over time has been to extend opportunities for personal engagement through additioal optional "real time" sessions. These synchronous sessions are highlights for many participants and they are highly recommended. Use this time to learn from senior World Cafe hosts who will join us for occasional session, engage each other and utilize "real time" conversation to understand your weekly assignments, and get support for anything you need help with.

7) Frequent the Watercooler
While the ongoing discourse of the curriculum will be happening at the Café tables, we also have a "watercolor" or forum where informal or over-arching conversation can take place. Many participants in the course have said they wished they would have made more use of it, and asked that we put more focus on it when offering new courses. This is also the place where you can ask general questions of the group or request help from the presenters, as well as explore other topics you find valuable.

8) Take Advantage of the Senior World Cafe Hosts Presenting Your Course
This is a rare opportunity to be mentored by Bo Gyllenpalm, one of the early European contributors in the development of the World Cafe process and a pioneer in applying the World Café principles and method in an asynchronous environment. Bo was on the committee for Juanita Brown's dissertation (which is one of the core reading texts for this course) and an extraordinary resource. We don't know long Bo will be a presenter, so work with him while you can.

Bo's co-presenter Amy Lenzo pioneered the World Café process in a synchronous online environment, and has been a key member of the World Cafe Community Foundation since 2005, guiding the development of the World Café Signature Learning Programs since its launch. Working with her offers excellent opportunities for deepening your grasp of this work, understanding the new modalities for presenting it, and engaging the larger world of World Cafe practitioners.

9) Come Prepared for an Adventure
Although it is offered through an accredited graduate university and can be quite academically rigorous, this course is perhaps a little different than classes you may have encountered in the past. It calls for opening your mind to new possibilities and suspending reliance on old beliefs and assumptions that may be limiting you. It asks you to embrace the idea that the wisdom you seek may be standing right before you in the hearts & minds of people who were strangers before the course started. Embrace this spirit of adventure to really receive the treasure waiting for you on the journey.

10)  Claim your Credits
The course offers 6 CEUs (continuing education units) and 19 CCEUs (coaching continuing education units), which you can claim with Fielding's help to support your ongoing professional requirements and/or extend your academic or professional credentials.

New Features for the World Cafe Online Community

Hi there,

I’d like to introduce a new tab to you on our Online Community, it’s called FeaturesUnder it you’ll find four tools that were already there but at different places (and i updated the Tag Clouds!) and you’ll see two new tools that I just finished programming! As some of you know I am keen on experimenting with ways to access, navigate and comprehend “virtual/face2face-hybrid-organisms/entities” like the World Café Online Community. These two represent my latest manifestions in that inquiry:

1) The Sitemap Graph is my best current attempt on visualizing the Online Community as a whole; still not the content, but at least the complete content-structure in the form of a graph! Once i was into graphs i also made a membergraph and an animation of the sitemap-development since 2009. Let me know what you think of it.

2) The Nearness Radar allows you to filter out those members, amongst all 4000 (almost), that are within a certain radius of your location. That is finally air-distance based, yes > transcending national borders for search.

Please be assured that these two tools only use the information that is publicly accessible (without login) on the Online Community anyway.

… And let me use this opportunity to share another tool-idea with you. It would also only use publicly accessible data, but work with it in a way that causes issues for some people and I want to be sensitive to that.

My thinking is the following; 4000 members… that gives almost 8million different possible groups of 2! And seriously, not the best host in the world could not make sure that all of those 8million, who could benefit from being connected, are actually getting a chance to connect to each other. In my opinion, that’s where the power of computation comes in.

So, concretely I am thinking about an algorithm that suggests you to visit other profiles based on the use of words you both share in your profile/posts/comments, based on the membership in groups you share, based on your physical location or even based on your resonant (or particulary dissonant?) star-signs. Basically a match-making tool. The same concept that dating-sites are using and the same concept that Facebook uses massively (but secretly). How about having that same here; but out in the open, transparently, honest and with professional intentions? Everyone of course would have to be able to choose not to be displayed in any matching-results.

And here’s where I am keen on hearing your thoughts; how would you feel about such a tool? Under which circumstances would you find it useful? Should people be given an opt-in chance or an opt-out chance upfront? My ideal image of how this would play out, is that people will polish their own profile-information in order to appear in more meaningful search-queries and a few hundred new meaningful connections will be made every year. My worst-case scenario would be that people will find it intruding and actually reduce their profile-information or leave the Community altogether. What do you think?


Benjamin Aaron Degenhart
Global Communications Team of the World Café Foundation