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Common Ground for Action (CGA) available for online forums

NCDD partner National Issues Forums Institute sent out a message to contacts yesterday regarding the availability of their platform, Common Ground for Action, for online forums. This platform can be used to support your community or classroom work during the COVID-19 crisis. Read more below or at www.nifi.org/cga.

National Issues Forums’ (NIF) Common Ground for Action (CGA) online deliberative forums can be convened specifically for your campus or classroom, neighborhood or town, or community group. Participating in online forums is easy-many of you are already familiar with the Common Ground for Action platform.

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
    • Opioids

There is no software to download; Common Ground for Action runs in any browser. CGA forums are user-friendly, so participants of all ages and levels of tech-savviness can participate with ease. We have a lot of resources available for CGA moderators, including a tips sheet from CGA moderators, a basic moderator script, issue-guide specific moderator scripts that include sample deliberative questions, and moderator scripts specific for a classroom-length forum.  For more details about CGA go to: nifi.org/cga.

Contact Darla Minnich or Kara Dillard if you’d like to explore this online option. We’d be pleased to work with you on it.

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Courtney Breese
Courtney Breese is the Executive Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD). She has a B.A. in Social Work and Counseling from Franklin Pierce University, where she was introduced to dialogue & deliberation.

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