This task organization can be used as a preliminary organizational task for whenever collaborative groups need to brainstorm together and then narrow down their decisions.
It is exemplified here as part of a task sequence between Nursing students and Teaching students who were writing an online newsletter together.
This task aims to have students explore and reflect on specific features of online newsletters. The students are given links to different well-known newsletters that they should examine in local pairs/groups (see resources) . Students should post answers (minimal 2, maximum 4) on an online message board, related to the questions:
Our newletter MUST HAVE …
Our newsletter DOES NOT NEED …
After both classes have had a chance to brainstorm, the ‘snowball’ technique is used to decide the top five features:
1) From all the ideas in the online message board, each individual writes down on a list the top five they would like to see in their online newsletter.
2) In pairs, the students compare lists and from the two lists, they choose their top five.
3) In groups of four, the students compare their 2 lists (coming from the pairs) to choose the top five.
4) The teacher then lists each groups’ top five, omitting any that are repeated. This usually produces a list of five to seven items. The class then votes on the final five.
5) Teachers from both classes compare the lists (they are often very similar) and in the case of more than five items, the list is put to the vote again (this can be done online in Moodle or other online voting resources).
Finally, students are asked to select the section of the newspaper they are interested in working on. Inter-university groups are formed, based on these interests.