The speed of technological advancement and innovation has pushed higher education to innovate and redesign for efficiency. In order to make input equitable and maximize time spent in face-to-face meetings, one academic department experimented with a flipped approach to their meetings, utilizing an online, anonymous, consensus building process prior to the face-to-face meeting.
This presentation will share reflections from the two faculty members who designed the online activities. Online settings have been found to mediate the participation inequalities found in face-to-face meetings caused by the dominance of higher status and higher expertise group members (Dubrovsky, Kiesler, & Sethna, 1991). The advantages of using an anonymous, online consensus building process will be discussed. These include participants’ ability to “express facets of themselves without fear of disapproval and sanctions by those in their real-life social circle” (Bargh, McKenna, & Fitzsimons, 2002, p. 34), or not speaking up to avoid upsetting leaders or supervisors (Bryant & Cox, 2006).
The Delphi method that inspired the procedure will be briefly described, and the online tools used to facilitate the process will be shared. A summary of the results from the process will be provided. Findings indicate that consensus was achieved and inclusiveness experienced, but questions arose regarding efficiency and ongoing group communication. Opportunities and challenges with online tools and anonymity in groups will be discussed. An on-going prototype of this flipped meeting approach with on-going formative evaluation will also be briefly described. A discussion with session attendees will follow.