What is the Reflect! platform?
The Reflect! platform organizes activities and collaboration in teams of about four students in a way that realizes a particular strategy to approach problems such as how to regulate micro-targeting in social media or technologies like artificial intelligence in education or the engineering of the Earth’s climate (find a list of those “wicked problems” here).
This strategy becomes visible in a variety of “work plans” that guide students through activities such as problem framing, stakeholder analysis, and the creation of a consensus proposal that might satisfy all stakeholders. A work plan structures the work in a class. Each class can have many teams. While each team works on its own problem, the work of all teams is synchronized by the work plan. Depending on the work plan, projects can last from four to fourteen team meetings.
Currently available work plans can be seen after registration. When you create a class or a project, you have to select one of these work plans. After selecting a work plan, you can select “modules” that are available in this particular work plan and enter dates for activities and deliverables.
Later, it will also be possible to create your own work plans and modules and make them available for others to use.
Reflect! can be used for:
- Problem-based (distance) learning: Small teams work on a wicked problem without needing facilitators
- Debate teams
- Negotiation training
- Professional proposal development
- Stakeholder deliberation
- Team science research
Reflect! organizes workflows in classes or projects and any number of teams within those classes or projects. Each team has its own protected space, accessible only for team members and the instructor or project manager, and works on a particular problem. But the workflow for all teams is structured by a “work plan” that belongs to a class or project. This way, the work across all teams is synchronized.
Guidance is provided by two types of “scripts”: scripted user guidance and action scripts. In scripted user guidance a sequence of activities is pre-determined and needs to be completed step-by-step by individual users or teams. Action scripts, by contrast, determine a set of instructions that prescribe a “chunk” of activities—be it individual or group activities. These instructions are designed to support teams to achieve a certain subgoal within a project. This chunk of activities is not determined in detail. Teams are free to determine and perform activities within such a chunk as they see fit. “Start dates” for project phases and “due dates” for deliverables usually describe actions scripts, whereas “on dates” for particular activities refer to scripted user guidance.
While all teams in a class or project receive the same guidance through a shared work plan, links in work plans connect to “pages” that belong to teams. Teams and/or individual team members enter what is required according to the work plan either on team pages or on pages for individual users.
Tailoring Reflect! guidance for specific purposes
Reflect! can be tailored for all sorts of educational approaches, curricula, and projects that are organized according to this general structure. We offer support in developing individualized work plans. However, the creation of new pages usually requires that funding is provided for coding. Contact us if you are interested. We are ready to help.